A SWEET-TOOTHED chef is celebrating after her cafe topped the list for best dessert restaurant in the country.

The South Lakeland business scooped top place after impressing secret judges with the 35 cakes and puddings it sells every day.

Lucy’s on a Plate in Ambleside won the Remy Martin Coeur de Cognac award by Harden's Guides.

The competition was open to all restaurants outside London.

Owner Lucy Nicholson said she was thrilled with the success of her baking business which started as a personal interest in gluten free food over 20 years ago.

Since then, Lucy’s on a Plate has become a cafe with 27 tables, a deli, bistro and a bar.

“I’m so proud my cafe has achieved national recognition,” she said. “It’s a team effort and I’m really pleased we’ve managed to convince food judges that the Lake District has something special to offer.”

The mum of four became interested in gluten free products after searching for food she could give her daughter Amy, who was undergoing chemotherapy for leukaemia.

The family tried to source unusual ingredients and, as her daughter recovered, Mrs Nicholson began a shop to supply rare foods.

Lucy said: “I thought cutting out gluten might help her cope but apart from fruit salads there weren’t many treats you could give someone.”

Lucy, 52, said: “I wanted to have treats and special foods available in the Lake District as well as London.

“Our puddings are a treat after a long walk or a hard day’s work.

"It can’t be a coincidence that stressed backwards spells desserts.”