Most successful Bake Off stars – TV empire, millionaire and worrying shelf life

The Great British Bake Off has produced more than just soggy bottoms.

Across 11 fun-filled series, a host of amateur bakers have been plucked from obscurity and transformed into household names.

A number of stars have been catapulted to stardom, and it’s not just the winners, with many launching lucrative careers on TV and writing best-selling cookbooks.

While one winner has gone from baking in their kitchen for their kids to producing a cake for the Queen – and become a millionaire in the process.

The top 24 contestants of all time have starred in a grand total of 458 TV show episodes and could earn an estimated £13.8k from sponsored Instagram posts alone.

But they need to act fast as their fame does not last long, with Bake Off contestants having an average shelf life on telly of just two years.

Dave, Laura and Peter are competing to be the next Bake Off champion

While many have forged incredibly successful full-time jobs in baking, others stepped away from the limelight and gone off to have careers in very different directions.

Personal finance experts at have crunched the numbers to reveal which past contestants have been the most successful as part of their Celebrity Chef Credit Report.

They have used six factors to give the past winners and runners-up a total score – based on number of published books and rating, Instagram earnings, social media influence, TV appearances and career length, number of searches and volume and cookbook average ratings.

And the list proves that it’s not just about winning, with a number of second placed stars getting into the top 10.

With a brand new champion about join an illustrious group raking in the cash, here is a look at how past bakers have faired:

10) David Atherton

Bake Off 2019 winner and health adviser from London David Atherton
Bake Off 2019 winner and health adviser David Atherton


David is the most recent Bake Off winner, but has only just managed to scrape into the top 10 list.

That’s pretty similar to how he got in the tent in the first place as he was originally a reserve but got a place when someone else pulled out before filming started.

Having given up his job as a health advisor to star in the show, there was controversy over his victory as David is the only winner to have never been Star Baker.

David started writing a cookery column on food for fitness in 2020 and published his first book in August, aptly named Mr Fist Cookbook.

Despite being the latest winner, his TV score is surprisingly low, but he makes up for it with an impress cookbook, leaving him with a total of 39.5 out of 100.

9) James Morton

James Morton has snuck into the list

After being pressured by uni pals, James Morton applied for Bake Off – and became one of the biggest stars of series 3.

James impressed Mary and Paul with his extravagant designs such as an oak-framed Gingerbread Barn and double Paris Brest-Choux pastry Bicycle.

He made it all the way to the final but lost out to winner John Whaite.

When Bake Off finished, James balanced continuing his baking career with finishing his medicine degree at Glasgow University.

“I usually have to ask the medical school for a little bit of time off, but usually it’s fine,” he told The Independent in 2013.

“Medicine has always been the primary goal and will continue to be so. I’d never planned to be a full-time baker so baking is just something that keeps me very, very busy!”

James has written five best-selling books and also toured Scotland with his bread baking shows James Morton Kneads to Raise Some Dough and James Morton’s Stolen Christmas.

He’s also been back on the telly on shows including Sunday Brunch and Big Fat Quiz of the Year.

James has a massive social media following and founded a very popular blog – Baking James.

But somehow he has also managed to find time to graduate from his medicine degree and started working as a full-time NHS doctor.

James has an impressive total score of 41.5 out of 100 – with his cookbook score up there with the big hitters.

8) Nancy Birtwhistle

Nancy with Mary Berry ad Paul Hollywood after her win

Grandmother of eight Nancy was retired when she won the competition back in 2014.

But she certainly isn’t anymore, writing recipes for her website and several newspapers.

“Since winning, I’ve done cake judging, teaching in schools and after-dinner speaking,” she said.

“I write a recipe every day – I now have 250 – and a weekly blog post. I grow all my own produce in our garden; I even rear my own turkeys for Christmas.”

Nancy has low TV and social media scores but makes up through i through search and cookbook rankings – giving her a total of 44.5/100.

7) Frances Quinn

The Great British Bake Off Winner Frances Quinn with Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry
The Great British Bake Off Winner Frances Quinn with Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry


Frances stormed to victory in 2013 – then lifted the lid on what life is like in the gruelling Bake Off tent.

“You haven’t really got a life other than Bake Off. No social life. That was the most stressful time. We had to get a train down on the Friday and we’d have a wake up call at 5am, we’d be in the tent at 7am,” she revealed.

“We’d wrap filming at about 8pm and then it would be the same again the next day. I’d get back at about midnight on the Sunday. It’s not just a 2 hour bake with a few buttercups.”

The 37-year-old from Northampton released a recipe book called Quintessential Baking and has baked for top clients like Jools Holland and Clare Balding.

While her social media and TV scores are low, Frances is boosted by her cookbook rating and an impressive search record – giving her a total of 44.5

6) Ruby Tandoh

Ruby Tandoh was a runner-up om The Great British Bake Off

Being runner-up in 2013 didn’t stop Ruby from having a great career in baking.

The series 4 star, whose on-screen chemistry with judge Paul Hollywood was the talk of the show.

The model and food writer came out as a lesbian in 2016, then hilariously tweeted: “To all those who thought I fancied Paul Hollywood, joke’s on you.”

She has written three books – Crumb: The Baking Book (2014), Flavour: Eat What You Love (2016) and Eat Up: Food, Appetite and Eating What You Want (2018).

Ruby has been a Guardian writer until she quite due to the ‘elitist’ nature of food culture

Her Instagram earning score is low compared to her social media status, but Ruby sores with her cookbook and search ratings to give her a total of 49.5/100.

5) Kim-Joy Hewlett

Kim-Joy has been a very successful Bake Off star


Kim-Joy lost out to Rahul Mandal in 2018, but has managed to get into the top 10 ahead of him.

The psychological wellbeing practitioner only started baking properly two years before the show but received Star Baker twice and made it all the way to the final.

She has achieved staggering success since the show ended, writing her ‘Kim-Joy’s baking recipes’ column for The Guardian and publishing her own cookbook – ‘Baking with Kim-Joy: Cute and creative bakes to make you smile’.

Her social media influence and Instagram earning potential are high, pushing her into fifth place with a score of 57/100.

As well as financial success, Kim-Joy believes the show has helped her battle with public speaking, admitting she’s getting there with it as time goes on

“I used to just not speak really at all. I was quite scared of the sound of my own voice, really sacred of people judging me and how they perceive me. Every year I see that fading a little bit,” she said on Lorraine last year.

“Three years ago and now I’m here… I’m just looking forward to the future

4) Edd Kimber

Edd was the first ever Bake Off winner

Edd was the first ever Bake Off winner, so has had quite the head start on some of the others in this list.

He’s managed to turn that to his advantage and sits in fourth place with a total score of 60/100.

After quitting his job as a debt collector he went on to release three cook books – Say It With Cake, The Boy Who Bakes and Patisserie Made Simple.

He has also written for BBC Good Food, Delicious and Waitrose Kitchen, and on his blog, The Boy Who Bakes.

While Edd is comfortable he insists money isn’t his driving force. He added: “I’ve never done the job for money, I care more about being happy. I’d love to open my own cafe one day.”

Ed would be higher on the list if it wasn’t for his low TV score, which is the worst out of anyone in the top 10, because he rarely goes on the telly.

He has previously admitted the thought of being famous makes him feel “grim” and he prefers being out of the spotlight.

“I don’t think I could ever have dealt with the attention Nadiya [Hussain] gets, because it’s intense and ongoing,” he said.

“I’m very happy with my career. I’m very happy with the balance I’ve managed to achieve. The fact that I have a bit of a halfway house is really nice.”

3) John Whaite

Wigan-born John Whaite, who won the 2012 British Bake Off
Wigan-born John Whaite, who won the 2012 British Bake Off

John stormed to victory in 2012 with his Heaven and Hell show-stopper cake – and was only 23 when he was impressing Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood in the tent.

The Bake Off champ has gone from strength to strength ever since, taking classes at the esteemed culinary school, Le Cordon Bleu and even opening his very own cookery school in Lancashire to impart his baking knowledge onto students.

John hasn’t shied away from the spotlight, writing for The Telegraph and regularly providing tasty treats for Lorraine Kelly on her show as resident chef.

In total he has made over 47 TV show appearances, including This Morning, Steph’s Packed Lunch and Sunday Brunch.

John has also released five cookbooks, including the top sellers John Whaite Bakes, John Whaite Bakes At Home and Perfect Plates In Five Ingredients.

Back in 2018, John announced a surprising career change as he announced he was studying for a law degree.

Explaining his decision, John tweeted: “Many of you ask why I’m going back to a career in law. I care about access to justice. I want to devote myself to the untangling of families and to child welfare.

“When I graduated I didn’t have confidence or calmness to be a barrister. But after years of TV and live shows, I’m ready.”

While John has low social media rating, he more than makes up for it with an impressive TV and cookbook scores – scoring 68 out of 100.

2) Candice Brown

Candice won Bake Off in 2016

Candice has had one of the most successful careers of any winner, having left her job as a PE teacher to pursue a career in baking.

During the 2016 series she was named Star Baker more than anyone else and romped home to victory as the last ever BBC winner.

Since being crowned the winner of series seven, Candice landed a role as columnist for The Times and released a cookbook featuring comfort food recipes.

In 2018 she took part in reality TV show Dancing on Ice but was eliminated first, but she staggeringly appeared in over 58 TV shows since winning her series of Bake Off.

Information about Candice is searched 26,000 times per month on Google and she has an avid 249,000 followers on Instagram. 

The cooking wiz and fashion icon scored an impressive 76.5 out of 100 in the report. 

1) Nadiya Hussain

Nadiya had the honour of baking the cake for the Queens 90th birthday celebration

The Queen of Bake Off is Nadiya Hussain.

The baking sensation tops the list as the most successful bake-off winner of all time with an empthatic score of 91 out of 100.

She has hosted three of her own cooking shows – The Chronicles of Nadiya, Nadiya’s British Food Adventure and Nadiya’s Family Favourites.

Nadita has a high TV score with appearances in over 115 TV shows, including as a guest presenter on Loose Women

In total, she has released seven cookbooks, in which Nadiya’s Kitchen (2016), Nadiya’s Family Favourites (2018) and Time to Eat (2019) reached bestseller status.

When she won in 2015 she made millions of viewers cry with her speech, where she said: “I’m never going to put boundaries on myself ever again.”

The mum-of-three said: “It’s mad, because I’m just this five-foot-one Muslim brown girl with three kids, who kind of … had a life before all of this.

“I never dreamed of doing anything other than that. I only ever baked because it helped with my anxiety.”

One of Nadiya’s biggest accolades to date was being selected to bake Queen Elizabeth’s birthday cake when the monarch turned 90 in April 2016.

*The Great British Bake Off final airs tonight on Channel 4 at 8pm

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