Every Monday the Concourse is packed with stalls selling various goodies, from piles of olives to boxes of sweets. Yet there is one stall in particular that always seems to have a queue of drooling students…the Muffin Lady’s.
I decided to grab a few minutes of her time to find out the secret of her sugary success…
How did you first get started with the stall?
I have always enjoyed baking for family and friends, as well as charity events. It’s very rewarding presenting the family with cakes fresh from the oven! They were going down so well that I decided to set up as ‘The Muffin Lady’, selling baked goods at Hampshire Farmers markets which are well known for providing the local community with high quality local produce. I noticed that there was an abundance of British baking but limited American style produce such as brownies and American muffins which had become popular with the expansion of American coffee shops. So I started perfecting some recipes, some of which I had already been cooking for my family for years. I still cook everything in my home kitchen which is within five minutes of the University.
What would you say are your favorite and least favorite cakes?
My favorite cakes vary according to season and I usually try out at least one new cake recipe per season. Last summer it was my gorgeous frosted cupcakes and the previous Autumn a delicious new cake from America called Pumpkin Whoopie pie, both of which have become firm favorites with my customers! I am afraid my least favorite cake is fruit cake, although I do have to make them for Christmas for the family.
Have you got any baking advice for anyone that would like to get into it?
My tip for any one starting to bake is DO NOT GIVE UP just keep on trying and you will succeed. There are a lot of variables in baking, such as oven temperature etc so usually if you keep at it you will eventually learn what works and what does not. I have been known to leave the sugar out myself, which is pretty much a disaster!
Have you got any baking secrets as to how you get your cakes to taste so good?
I use local free range eggs from King Somborne, Hampshire in my baking and also local milk from Watsons Dairies in Wickham, Hampshire. With the exception of one item my products are suitable for vegetarians. I do not use any margarine or hydrogenated fats – all my products contain butter, sunflower oil or local Rapeseed oil from Hampshire. I believe this really affects the taste, and also has added health benefits. I am conscious of the and keep my packaging to a minimum. The carrier bags I use are recyclable brown paper.
Do you have a favorite cake?
My favourite item at the moment on the stall is my new Banoffee Cupcakes, they are to die for! I have carrot cupcakes with cream cheese frosting on the way soon… I think they’ll very popular!
The Muffin Lady can be found on the SUSU Concourse on most Mondays.