The nation turns to home baking during lockdown

The nation has turned to baking to cope with the lockdown with cheese scones, apple and rhubarb crumble and sponge cake topping the list of favourites, according to the National Trust.

Recipe downloads on the charity’s website show that since the country was locked down in mid-March, visits to home bake pages have increased by almost 900% compared with the same time last year.

Cheese scones are top of the list with more than 54,000 people visiting the page in the first four weeks of lockdown – an increase of 3,009% on last year. Coming in at second place is apple and rhubarb crumble with nearly 15,000 visits (an increase of 581%) and the popular National Trust fruit scone is in third place at almost 10,000 visits (an increase of 737%).

It appears more ‘complicated’ recipes have languished at the bottom of the pile, with treats like salted caramel mousse seeing a fall in visits.

Matt Drew, the Trust’s Head of Food and Beverage, said: “The lockdown seems to be rekindling our love of baking as more comforting, nostalgic recipes come out on top, with crumbles and sponges taking the place of what some may see as lighter or more contemporary bakes like lemon drizzle and chocolate orange bread twists.

“Even though the Trust has closed its places to help stop the spread of coronavirus, we’ve been encouraging our supporters to enjoy the huge amounts of inspiring content we have on our websites, including our recipes – and it seems to be paying off.

“I’ve always believed food is at the heart of relationships and family life, and this huge increase in recipe searches reflects that. With children at home and trips out of the house for essentials only, home baking is a brilliant way of not only keeping us fed, but also having fun and creating joyful memories at a challenging time.

“While we know some ingredients are tricky to get hold of at the moment, like flour and eggs, it’s great to see so many people enjoying their time at home with some traditional baking, and what better thing can there be than the smell of freshly baked cake or scones wafting through your house.”

There has also been some interesting regional variations. While many places across the UK saw similar recipes hitting the top spots, exceptions in regional top five lists included: Hampshire: Apple and rhubarb crumble, fruit scones and flapjacks

Figures revealing what people nationally are looking for on internet search engines show that recipes have increased by almost a third compared to last year, with cheese scones taking the country by storm with a 174% increase in recipe searches.

To sample a taste of the National Trust at home during lockdown visit or turn the page for a sneak peek at a couple of their recipes along with a selection of our favourites.

Words by the National Trust.

Cheese Scones, Makes 8


  • 450g (16oz) self-raising flour
  • 110g (4oz) margarine
  • 100g (3.5oz) grated mature Cheddar cheese
  • 1tsp salt
  • 1tsp cracked black pepper
  • 1 egg
  • 150ml (5fl oz) milk
  • 1tsp English mustard
  • Preheat the oven to 180C


  1. Place the flour and margarine in your mixing bowl and rub together with your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs
  2. Stir in most of the cheese (leave enough to place grated cheese on top of the scones later), salt and pepper
  3. Mix the egg with three quarters of the milk and the mustard. Pour into the mix and use a spoon to combine the wet and dry ingredients keep adding the remaining milk a little at a time until the mixture comes together and forms a dough
  4. Divide into two even sized pieces and gently roll into large balls on a lightly floured surface. Flatten them lightly and cut into four by slicing both ways across the middle. Place on your lined baking tray
  5. Divide the remaining cheese and place on the top of the scone and place into the preheated oven for 10-15 minutes or until risen and golden

Recipe courtesy of the National Trust –

Peanut Butter Brownies, Serves 12


  • 250g baking margarine
  • 400g caster sugar
  • 75g cocoa powder
  • 4 eggs
  • 150g  gluten-free self-raising flour
  • 200g smooth peanut butter
  1. Place the margarine in a pan and put on a low heat until melted.
  2. Take off the heat, add the sugar and cocoa powder and mix thoroughly.
  3. Beat the eggs, add them to the cocoa powder mix, and mix thoroughly.
  4. Add the gluten-free flour and mix thoroughly.
  5. Pour into a lined baking tray (12x9in).
  6. Warm the peanut butter slightly and dollop on top of the brownie mix.
  7. Gently swirl the peanut butter into the brownie mix.
  8. Place in the oven at 160C for 25-30 minutes until risen slightly and just set, with a
    slight wobble.

Recipe courtesy of the National Trust –

Pictures credit: National Trust Images, William Shaw

We have loads more delicious recipes for you to experiment with in May’s issue, check out our on line version, click here. We would love to see the photos of your creations, please tag us in on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter.

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