Cake creator Frances Quinn, winner of the BBC’s Great British Bake Off in 2013, is known for her extravagant and ingenious bakes. She tells me how her design background makes her the extraordinary baker she is known as.

“I did textile design for my degree at Nottingham Trent. I think that’s another reason I love food, because food is all about texture and colour and you tend to eat with your eyes first.

“I have a habit of seeing everything as food. I always have a sketch book and I’m always jotting down ideas. Even music can inspire me, I did a bake for Bombay Bicycle Club and there’s a bake in the book inspired by that.

“I’m a bit of a magpie, I’m always pulling different elements in and I’m really guilty for bad puns. I’ll think of something like every cloud with a silver lining. There’s always a story or a narrative behind the bake.

“I love people like Quentin Blake and Kim Walker, so it’s that Tim Burton, Willy Wonka approach I guess. I always joke its likes going from mood-board to cake-board.”

After her degree Frances worked as a baby/toddler designer for the clothing brand Joules, but she simply could not contain herself to clothes alone.

“They wanted someone to put recipes in the blog. My boss said ‘oh Fran, you’ve mentioned that you quite like baking’ so I started doing that. Then I started doing special bespoke bakes for friends and work colleagues birthdays, and also for collection meetings at Joules, like for the spring summer collections I’d create my edible biscuit beach.

“Even the secret squirrel cake which I did on the show that was created for my friend at work because her nickname was squirrel and she was pregnant so everyone was calling the bump squirrel. I made that cake for her on her last day before maternity leave.

“It was Joules that put all the application forms on my desk. They were the ones who really encouraged me to enter. It’s funny now people ask if I miss designing, but I’m still designing just for a different medium, I’m still being creative and that’s what I love most. I love mixing up different disciplines.”

Baking may not have been the path Frances expected to take, but she notes that it was always something that came naturally to her.

“I’m the youngest of five so I’m from quite a big family. The kitchen was always an extension of the living room, so I never felt intimidated in there and if I was hungry I could just go in and make flapjacks. It wasn’t made a big deal of. I remember sometimes going round to friends’ and having to make sure there mum was around and you had everything out, and I was a bit more casual.

“For a lot of people they think baking is a science compared to cooking. I never follow a recipe completely, I use them more as an inspiration. That’s when you discover things you wouldn’t have necessarily found.

“If things go wrong that’s absolutely fine, that’s how you’re learning. Things like Eton Mess and Tiffin, which are amazing, they came about through mistakes. Start with the basics but play around with that.”

Frances tells me that after winning the Great British Bake Off in 2013 her life was quite the whirlwind with commissions coming in from all over the place and many food events to attend. She then returned to her own kitchen to write her own cooking book, Quintessential Baking.

I wonder how difficult it is to stay healthy around all those sweet treats but Frances, much to my surprise, announces: “I controversially say I prefer porridge to cake, I absolutely love porridge.

“I love cooking, everybody always says to me do you bake every day? I don’t necessarily bake every day, I think I baked enough doing the Bake Off and for the book to almost average out every day for a whole family of five, but I cook every day.”

Frances will be at the Henley on Food literary food festival this weekend, April 30 and May 1, to do a baking demonstration.

She will be making cupcakes, although, surprising me again, she admits: “I’m not a big fan of cupcakes, but they’re almost a miniature version of the final wedding cake I did on the show. They’re a lemon cupcake but then once you’ve baked them I take out the middle and fill it with lemon curd and fresh raspberries, and there topped with sweetened mascarpone with my edible confetti.”

Henley on Food, Shiplake College, Henley on Thames, Oxfordshire, RG9 4BW, Saturday, April 30 and Sunday, May 1.