Britain's National Cupcake Champion 2011 has been announced - and the winning professional craft baker, who has been baking for less than a year, comes from Wales.
Jennifer Buls, (27), who launched her fledgling business, Absolute Treats, with her mum, Virginia, while she studied for her MA, took two category awards and the overall title at the National Cupcake Championships, which are staged by British Baker magazine in the run up to National Cupcake Week (12-18 September).
At the judging event, which took place at the ICA overlooking The Mall in London, Jennifer, from Carmarthenshire, won Best Free-from of the Year Cupcake, Best Tasting Cupcake of the Year and also took the National Cupcake Champion title for her delicious, summery Lime and Coconut creation. Her innovative vegan recipe uses neither butter nor eggs.
I've always loved cakes. I'm a vegetarian and I have an allergy to dairy. So I was determined to make a vegan cupcake that tasted just as good as any other. Absolute Treats is home-based at the moment, but we supply some outlets across the West Wales area, and we are vegan society approved.Jennifer Buls
Jennifer beat off stiff competition from 55 innovative craft bakeries, independent cake emporiums and High Street multiples who were battling it out across six different categories for the ultimate prize - to be crowned National Cupcake Champion 2011.
They include the High Street favourite Greggs; the 2009 champion Kevin Sibley from Mama’s Cupcakes in Cheshunt; and Rich Products who create cupcakes for Asda.
Commenting on Jennifer's triumphant win, British Baker deputy editor Andrew Williams said:
Jennifer's cake was probably the least assuming cupcake on show, with understated decoration, but it was head and shoulders above the rest on the most important criteria: taste. Her victory is all the more remarkable given that it's a vegan cake, using no butter or eggs.
The 2011 competition attracted more than 100 entries from professional bakers. The expert judging panel included Eric Lanlard, Hummingbird bakery owner Tarek Malouf, Lily Vanilli and Peggy Porschen.
The category winners of the 2011 National Cupcake Championships are:
- Best Decorated Cupcake - Rosalind Miller, Peggy’s Cupcakes, London
- Best Free >From Cupcake - Jennifer Buls, Absolute Treats, St Clears, Camarthenshire
- Best Presented Cupcake - Victoria Forward, Let Them Eat Cake, Waterlooville
- Most Innovative Cupcake - Rufaro Matsinde, Cocktail Couture – CC Treats, London
- Best Cupcake Crafted for Multiple Outlets - Sean Coughlan, Munch@Coughlans, Thornton Heath
- Best Tasting Cupcake - Jennifer Buls, Absolute Treats, St Clears, Camarthenshire
- National Cupcake Champion - Jennifer Buls, Absolute Treats, St Clear, Camarthenshire
National Cupcake Week 2011 takes place from September 12 to 18, when a range of special events and promotions take place in craft and High Street bakeries across the nation, alongside a series of special programmes on The Food Network.
British Baker has also teamed up for the first time with the leading children's cancer charity CLIC Sargent who are asking bakers and cupcake lovers to help raise donations for their beneficiaries during National Cupcake Week itself.