Bradford on Avon
Food & Drink Festival

VAL STONES

Posted on May 27, 2021

BAKER

Val was born in Yorkshire and began baking with her Nana and Aunts who all loved baking and passed on the love to her. As Val grew she practiced her baking skills with her Mum and whilst holidaying with Aunts.

Whilst at Teacher Training College she continued to bake for her fellow students often foraging for ingredients and “ borrowing “ apples from the college orchard to make blackberry and apple jam. Val’s house on campus was the only one to be scented with scones, cakes and pies which often drew in a crowd.
Val met her husband whilst they were still at school aged sweet sixteen and so her family extended to include her to be Mum in law and her mother. From them she learned the skills of cooking on a coal Yorkshire range, how to milk a cow and make her own butter.

After over 50 years of baking with love for friends and family, Val Stones presents her first cookbook, The Cake Whisperer. Whether you are a seasoned cook looking for new ideas or a total beginner, this collection of tried and tested recipes is perfect for anyone who wants to put a smile on the face of their loved ones.

Named after Val’s technique of listening to her bakes, the recipes in The Cake Whisperer have been chosen by Val to provide the fundamental skills and basic recipes that any home cook should have – including how to listen to your cakes! Val doesn’t want you to follow her recipes to the letter, but hopes that people will get creative, make changes and end up with something they love.

At its heart The Cake Whisperer is a family cookbook. Val grew up in multi-generational home, baking with her Nana, her mum and her aunts. Her recipes have been taste tested by countless sticky-fingered children at the buffet tables that marked generations of birthdays, weddings and anniversaries. They are her husband’s favourites and the things that her siblings Suse, Steve and Denise request every time she visits. Each one has received a seal of approval from the only critics that Val cares about – her family.

Independently minded as ever, Val chose to self-publish, packing this book with her unique personality and charm. Each recipe is accompanied by anecdotes, notes and comments which tell you the inspiration that lies behind her bakes. As well as irresistible sausage rolls, cakes and biscuits The Cake Whisperer also contains Val’s secret recipe for friendship, which she demonstrates using hand-picked photos of her friends from across the globe.

A retired Headteacher, Val of course knows the value of a little group work and has enjoyed sharing the drafts of this book with her fellow Great British BakeOff contestants. Andrew Smyth, 2016 finalist and also the person setting up Val’s online shop said, “Val’s voice is on every page. Working through these recipes is like being back in the tent, Val in front of me chatting away and dancing as she bakes. I’ve even started listening to my own baking!”

Every detail of this book shows the way that thinking of others is at the centre of who Val is. The fonts and page colours have been chosen to make it easier for person with dyslexia to read, something which Val herself has struggled with. Val is also proud that every image is glossy, “…so you can wipe it when you spill”, something else she knows every baker has experiences. Most of all though, every story, picture and recipe has been carefully selected because Val thinks it will make someone happy.

The Cake Whisperer is available for purchase at valstones.com. RRP £12.95.

www.valstones.com