The Great British Bake Off winner Frances Quinn says she was in “complete and utter shock” after being crowned victor of the TV show.
Children’s clothes designer Quinn, 31, beat former model Ruby Tandoh, 21, and psychologist Kimberley Wilson, 30, in the hotly anticipated BBC Two final.
The amateur baker wowed judges Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry with a rainbow-style savoury picnic pie and showstopper three-tier wedding cake, inspired by Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, on tonight’s show.
But she said it had been hard to keep her win under wraps for so long following the pre-recorded last episode.
“I’ve been back at work and trying to keep a poker face,” Quinn said.
“I remember watching the Wimbledon final the following week and getting so emotional... and thinking at least Andy Murray doesn’t have to hide his trophy under his bed for the next three months.
“I’m looking forward to being able to celebrate with my incredibly close family and friends.”
Quinn dismissed reports about chemistry between Hollywood and Tandoh, who was crowned star baker three times, saying: “We were not thinking about any of that in there... There was no flirtation.”
But she admitted there was some flirtation elsewhere in the Bake Off tent.
“We (the contestants) were each flirting with each other if we needed to, for more parchment paper or another spoon if they were still being washed up out the back,” she admitted.
Quinn, who decorated her wedding cake with edible confetti made from beetroot, mango, rhubarb and sweet potato, said she had a rest from baking after winning the show.
“I thought my blood sugar levels would go through the roof. I had a bit of a sabbatical,” she said.
Quinn has been approached by agents and wants to produce a coffee table book.
“I don’t know what the future is going to hold but it does excite me,” she said. “What I’d love to do is combine both passions, baking and design.
“The baking market is completely saturated so I don’t want to do a book that’s anything like one that’s already out there. I’d like to create a book that’s got all my rough sketches and ideas.”
Quinn, who lives in Market Harborough, Leicestershire, said she was not considering leaving her design job any time yet - but any extra cash on the back of her success will go down well.
“I’d start to get a bit more furniture in my house. The kitchen looks very well stocked but the rest of the house, not so much,” she said. “But forget millionaires, it’s going to be about creating more millionaire shortbreads.
“Work has been so, so supportive. I’m not going to say yea or nay to anything at the moment. I’ve got a mortgage to pay.”
Quinn said she could not believe her ears when the judges announced she had won the fourth series of the show, which has seen viewing figures rocket and is set to move to BBC1 next year.
“I don’t think I could speak for a little while. It was complete and utter shock. It was so close, such a close final,” she said. “I think it was the wedding cake at the end that really did swing it.”
Quinn, who had been criticised by the judges for style over substance, said she was persuaded to apply for Bake Off by family and friends.
She added: “I had thought of applying. But it was just, I didn’t know whether I was good enough or whether I wanted that exposure. I didn’t know whether I should go about it in my own way.”
She insisted there was no antagonism between the all-women finalists.
“We all get on. People want to feel there was more competition than was the case. The emotions you go through in that tent, you never want to see anyone get that criticism. Outside the tent we’re just supportive of each other.
“It’s a reality show but we know the actual reality that went on.”
She said of the judges: “We didn’t really have that much time to spend with them. We got to know (presenters) Mel and Sue a lot more. A lot of people said that the judges were quite severe with their criticism but I took it as constructive.”
Quinn’s savoury pie contained two types of trout and five different vegetables, while her wedding cake consisted of ginger and rhubarb, lemon sponge and raspberries and a third tier of carrot, orange, pistachio and apricot.
Hollywood called Quinn “a deserving winner”, adding on the show: “When it came to the showstopper she just beat the other two guys hands down.
“She not only gave us the style, she gave us the substance too and that cake actually, each layer, superb.”
Berry added: “Frances has many qualities, she has attention to detail, she’s got excellent flavours, her baking improved as each week went by, we’re very proud of her.”
The losing finalists tweeted their congratulations after the show was broadcast.
Tandoh said: “WELL DONE @frances_quinn I LOVE YOU! I’m sitting sobbing with pride and relief into my red wine. A friend for life :) xxx”
Wilson tweeted: “Huge, huge, incalculable congratulations to @frances_quinn You are INCREDIBLE! I am in awe of your creativity, tenacity and skill. Love Kx”