'The Great British Bake Off' Winner Nadiya Hussain Takes On The Toughest Judge Of All: The Queen : The Salt This year the task of coming up with a birthday cake fit for a queen fell to Nadiya Hussain, the winner of the most recent season of the wildly popular TV show The Great British Bake Off.
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'British Bake Off' Winner Takes On The Toughest Judge Of All: The Queen

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'British Bake Off' Winner Takes On The Toughest Judge Of All: The Queen

'British Bake Off' Winner Takes On The Toughest Judge Of All: The Queen

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LOURDES GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

There's a big birthday in Britain today. Queen Elizabeth turns 90. And like many of us do on our birthdays, she'll be celebrating with a bit of cake. This year, the task of coming up with that cake fit for a queen falls to Nadiya Hussain. She was the winner of the most recent season of the wildly popular TV show, "The Great British Bake Off." Her story captivated audiences in the U.K.

She's the daughter of immigrants from Bangladesh, and she personally delivered her orange drizzle birthday cake with orange curd and butter cream and purple frosting to the queen this morning. We reached her in Milton Keynes. Good morning.

NADIYA HUSSAIN: Good morning.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: So tell me, how did this come about? How did this happen?

HUSSAIN: The queen's cake or just life in general?

(LAUGHTER)

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Let's start with the queen's cake.

(LAUGHTER)

HUSSAIN: Well, oh, my goodness. So a couple of weeks ago, I just got a phone call to say, hey, would you like to do this? And my initial reaction was, well, no...

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Really?

HUSSAIN: ...Because I was so afraid of getting it horribly wrong. And then it dawned on me. I can't say no to the queen. So once I got over the nerves, I thought, well, actually, this is such an honor. How can I possibly say no?

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Well, how did you even decide what kind of cake to bake for the queen?

HUSSAIN: I think straight away, I went through this kind of phase where I thought, well, I need to do something traditional, and it needs to be really kind of what I thought the queen would almost expect. And actually, I went from that to doing a complete 360, and I went to an orange drizzle. And even down to the decoration, I've decided to go very, very different.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: So how many versions of this cake did you make in advance? And who are your taste testers? I know you've got three kids.

HUSSAIN: I've got three kids, but my kids are not fazed by cake anymore. They just look at cake and say, mm (ph).

GARCIA-NAVARRO: (Laughter) Like, mom makes too many cakes.

HUSSAIN: Yeah, not today. But this is the only version I've done. I've not had a practice run.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Oh, wow...

HUSSAIN: ...I've just literally gone from start to finish.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Let me talk to you a little bit about your history. You've been quoted as saying that you were worried viewers might judge you for wearing a hijab.

HUSSAIN: For me, as a hijab wearing Muslim, British, I was doing something so big, so out of my comfort zone - it was, like, national television - I thought, actually, how are people going to perceive me? I don't want people to look at my hijab straight away and say oh, she's just a Muslim, you know? I don't want to be kind of judged just based on that because we're all so much more than that. And, you know - but that is who I am wherever I go.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Obviously, there's a great symbolism with you baking this cake for the queen. You know, she is from an older generation. She's from a more traditional era. And you really do represent this kind of modern Britain.

HUSSAIN: Yeah, I mean there is definitely this weird juxtaposition between me and the queen and the cake. And it's all a bit higgledy-piggledy. It's really odd. But I just think when I accepted to do this, I didn't think about who I was or who she was. It's the queen's birthday, and who doesn't like cake on their birthday?

GARCIA-NAVARRO: OK, but she is the queen. What are you going to tell her when you meet her?

HUSSAIN: Yeah, I mean, I'm kind of trying not to think about what I'm going to say to her. I mean, she's the queen after all. I mean, I don't even know if I'm allowed to talk to her. So...

(LAUGHTER)

HUSSAIN: ...I'm just trying to concentrate on not doing anything silly. Like, I might high-five her and just be dragged away. You can't high-five the queen.

(LAUGHTER)

GARCIA-NAVARRO: I'd like to see you try.

HUSSAIN: I bet you would. I bet you'd love to see me dragged away as well. It's like, ah (ph).

(LAUGHTER)

GARCIA-NAVARRO: And there she goes. There she goes. All right, Nadiya Hussain, winner of "The Great British Bake Off" and now baker of royal birthday cakes.

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