Slump sparks rise in home baking
Take two years of recession, add a fashion for cupcakes and the result is well-risen sales of home-baking equipment.
Sales of bakeware have more than doubled over the past two years and decorating and icing products are up by about 70pc year on year.
The revival in home baking has helped the sector grow dramatically to be worth tens of millions.
Research group Mintel, estimates that 28pc of people bake from scratch using raw ingredients at least once a week. Behind this boom in baking is a new generation -- raised on celebrity chefs' best-selling books and ratings-grabbing television shows -- that is spending more time in the kitchen.
The recession-inspired zeitgeist for "make do and mend" only adds to the trend.
The enthusiasm of TV chefs like Rachel Allen and the popularity of programmes such as The Restaurant - in which celebrities rustle up full meals including elaborate deserts - is helping the trend.
Research has also shown that during lean times, people look for cheaper alternatives to the expensive 'treats' they enjoyed when money was no object.
"This trend is led in part by baking television programmes but we are also seeing a trend towards making homemade gifts as a thoughtful way to treat people, but with the added benefit of being money saving," said a spokesperson for one major bakeware outlet.
Another home and kitchenware supplier, Lakeland, agrees that the increase in sales is part of this new enterprising mood.
A spokeswoman said: "This increase in our sales across bakeware can largely be attributed to a growing trend towards 'homemade is best', especially in areas such as cupcakes."
Television is set to continue sparking interest.
The Great British Bake Off was a 2010 hit for BBC2, and tonight the channel hopes to widen the fanbase further when former model and trained chef Lorraine Pascale introduces her new series, Baking Made Easy.
Her show is a very different take on the traditional image of home baking and is shot in a contemporary kitchen.