What started out as a childhood hobby for former NHS worker Melinda Foster, from Rawtenstall is now an award-winning business.

Her bakery, Fantasy Cupcakes, was crowned winner of the gold heart award at the Fine Food Awards 2011 at Nigel Haworth’s Fantastic Food Show, last weekend.

Melinda, who had always enjoyed baking with her grandma and mum, started making cakes for family and friends.

As the orders began rolling in, she decided to pursue her dream and opened her first outlet in Rawtenstall Market in 2009.

A year later she swapped her home kitchen for bakery premises at The Old Chapel in Rawtenstall and has never looked back. Here she shares one of her popular recipes.


(Makes 16) Cupcake
150g butter (at room temperature)
150g caster sugar
3 eggs (beaten)
150g self-raising flour
200g strawberries
1tsp vanilla essence
Strawberry Frosting
100g butter (at room temperature)
35g cream cheese (full fat)
500g icing sugar
100g strawberries
Sliced strawberries
1 crumbled Digestive biscuit
Pre-heat oven to 180 C (Gas 4) (350F).

Cream butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy.

Beat in the eggs and vanilla essence until the mixture is smooth.

Fold in the flour gently by hand.

Chop the strawberries into chunks just smaller than 1cm (usually into 8 depending on the size of the strawberries) and fold into the cake mixture.

Dollop the mixture equally between the cases (about three quarters full) – a useful tool here is an ice cream scoop.

Bake for around 20 minutes until the top is light golden and the top of the cake springs back to the touch.

Leave to cool completely before frosting.

Frosting: Use a hand blender or a fork to pulp the strawberries.

Beat the butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy then alternately add the strawberry pulp and icing sugar a bit at a time until a piping consistency is achieved.

More icing sugar and less strawberries may be required if the strawberries are very ripe.

Decorate: Pipe a swirl onto the cupcake or pile on with a palate knife and round off to a dome shape.

Sprinkle with digestive biscuit crumbs and a slice of strawberry.