Great British Bake Off final 2015: Winner Nadiya Jamir Hussain 'feels like a giant'
Great British Bake Off 2015 champion Nadiya Jamir Hussain said winning the contest made her feel like "a giant" - despite her small stature.
The stay-at-home mum walked out of the Bake Off tent "a much stronger, confident person" after being crowned winner of series six, beating Ian Cumming and Tamal Ray in the final.
She said: "I went into the tent as the smallest baker at 4 ft 11 in but I walked out feeling a giant."
The baker, who has become a social media sensation for her expressive face, said she hoped people would remember her baking abilities.
The 30-year-old from Leeds said: "I really hope that I have not become known more for my facial expressions or my eyebrows than my baking!
"I had no idea that this would become a talking point on social media.
"It's all a bit of fun and not to be taken seriously, and I think it reflected what was going on in the tent."
Nadiya impressed in the signature bake with her iced buns, half of them cardamom and almond, and half nutmeg and sour cherry.
Mary Berry called them "lovely", while Paul Hollywood added: "Both of those tick the boxes."
A batch of raspberry millefeuille also earned her first place in the technical challenge.
In the showstopper challenge, she created a My Big Fat British Wedding cake to make up for not having one at her marriage in Bangladesh.
She said: "The showstopper was a celebration cake - and as I never had my own wedding cake I wanted a proper iced wedding cake.
"I bought a sari that was red, white and blue, in the colours of the Union Jack, and I decorated my stand with that.
"My husband Abdal's favourite cake is lemon drizzle, so I decided to make that.
"At the very end of the filming I took the cake out to my family's table and we all had a slice.
"So my husband and I did get our wedding cake after all."
She said she had not imagined getting to the final in her "wildest dreams".
She said: "On the day itself it was really still and quiet inside the tent.
"There was a real sense of calm and concentration, it wasn't just the bakers' last day - it was everyone's last day.
"We all had a slight sense of sadness that it was all coming to a close.
"As they announced the winner, all I remember is not wanting to look at anyone, so I looked down at my shoes, my heart was racing in my chest and I could hear it thudding in my head.
"I remember seeing that my shoes were covered in flour, and when I heard my name, I covered my face with my hands as I didn't want anyone to watch me cry."
Luton-born Nadiya hid the trophy so no-one would know she had won.
"I wrapped it in many layers of brown paper, put it in a suitcase and hid it under the bed in case anybody saw it," she said.
"Now it can come out and take pride of place in our living room."
You can always count on #maryberry to look after us
The Bake Off's previous winners - including Edd Kimber, John Whaite and Frances Quinn - have often been able to create careers out of their baking victory, writing cookbooks and cookery columns and making TV appearances.
Looking to the future, Nadiya said: "Family life will carry on as normal.
"Being a mum to three small children under 10 is pretty time consuming, but I wanted to have my own adventure.
"With a very supportive husband and a belief in my own ability, I can now carry on having my adventure.
"I am really looking forward to see what will happen."
Berry said: "I am really proud of Nadiya, not so confident to start with, but over the weeks she has grown in confidence.
"She came into the tent for the final, and was nervous - but she had the look that said she can do it."
Hollywood added: "All three bakers pushed the boat out for the final, but it's all about keeping calm and being consistent throughout.
"Nadiya has brought something special to the Bake Off.
"Her ideas, flair, her emotions and her passion were all in her bakes, she just nailed the whole final.
"That was the best-tasting final we have ever had."
Ian struggled with his spiced buns with cardamom, cinnamon, and apple and cranberry jam, forgetting to add his sugar, although his elderflower and lemon buns went down well.
He came second in the technical challenge, before creating a five-part curry carrot cake as his showstopper.
Tamal struggled with timing on his cinnamon and apple, and toffee and marmalade iced buns.
After coming last in the technical, his showstopper was a sticky toffee pudding cake with date and toffee sauce.
Nadiya 'an inspiration to British Muslims'
Great British Bake Off 2015 champion Nadiya Jamir Hussain has been hailed as an "inspiration" to British Muslims.
The champion has "demonstrated the inclusivity of British Muslims in society", according to Dr Omer El-Hamdoon, president of the Muslim Association of Britain (MAB).
Nadiya has referred to her faith before, saying: ''Originally, I was a bit nervous that people would look at me, a Muslim in a headscarf, and wonder if I could bake.
"But I hope that week by week people have realised that I can bake - and just because I'm not a stereotypical British person, it doesn't mean that I am not into bunting, cake and tea."
Her credentials as a baker were proved tonight when she was crowned champion of the hit BBC show.
The MAB said Nadiya has been "an inspiration to many British Muslims, and especially Muslim women".
The organisation added: "Her participating in the Great British Bake Off has demonstrated the connection that young British Muslims have with British society.
"The hijab that she wears has not deterred her from participating and winning the show. This demonstrates how Muslims have made great efforts in integrating into society; and how they are achieving that in many various aspects."
Dr Omer El-Hamdoon said: "We are really delighted that Nadiya has won the Great British Bake Off, as she has demonstrated the inclusivity of British Muslims in society.
"This is the message that organisations like MAB continue to advocate to Muslims about the necessity of being active Muslims who participate at different levels.
"We are really happy for her and her family."
Nadiya has previously said: ''I'm just as British as anyone else, and I hope I have proved that. The feedback I have had reveals how accepting people are of different cultures and religions.
"Now people know who I am, I can see how tolerant and accepting British society is.''
Belfast Telegraph Digital