From winning Lorraine’s Cake Club in 2012 to writing a recipe book, developing a range of baking kits, to presenting live cookery demonstrations and partnering with some of the most recognisable brands, Suzy Pelta has been on quite a journey.
Entering a baking competition on the Lorraine Kelly show wasn’t a masterplan or a career choice explains Suzy, “I was just an experimental baker, confident enough to mix recipes up and try new combinations,” she explains. The winning bake was a chocolate and banana cake with peanut butter frosting which is one of the more original adaptations of all the banana cake recipes out there.
So how does a baker just come up with new innovations? “It depends on the brief,” explains Suzy, “I often partner with brands and they need their product to be the focal point of the bake so I use my knowledge of measurements and ratios of the basic ingredients and then experiment until I get to the finished result which I have visualised in my head.”
It is not unusual to find Suzy sharing all her test bakes with family and friends, once she tried 17 different versions before finalising the finished result. “I look for honest feedback. Just saying something tastes ‘nice’ doesn’t give me enough to work at, I want proper constructive criticism.” It is this level of detail which has made Suzy the face of Marie Curie’s Blooming Great Tea Party with signature bakes such as her Orange Cream Layer Cake.
The recipe book, Miracle Mug Cakes and other Cheat’s Bakes might seem like an unusual subject for a baker who has the ability to create and innovate complex cakes but Suzy explains it was a very deliberate choice for her, “I wanted to show the light-hearted side of baking, something that everyone could make with minimal ingredients.” With recipes for Nutella and Peanut Butter, Crushed Up Cookie, and Hidden Oreo mug cakes these are all flavours and ingredients we are familiar with and more importantly, can be created almost instantly whenever there is a cake emergency.
Suzy’s love of baking comes down to wanting to share time with family and friends over something indulgent and tasty, preferably over afternoon tea. A nostalgic tradition going back to her childhood when an array of cakes and treats would be readily available should anyone want to pop over for a chat. This connection to the past is also reflective of Suzy’s own favourite cakes which include Victoria Sponge and Chocolate Cake.
Looking forward, Suzy believes the chocolate and orange trend looks set to continue and for Christmas 2020, something special might come out of the recent disruption. “I believe people will want to make this Christmas as memorable as possible with people spending more time at home, enjoying both making and eating their baked goods.” It isn’t hard to imagine that to come true with routines being disrupted, comfort can be welcomed through the art of baking and sharing.
With food festivals and public appearances being restricted over the year so far, Suzy has been using the time to partner with brands to create recipes and run competitions for her loyal followers and of course, spend time sharing homemade bakes with her family.
Suzy has shared her Garbage Cookie recipe from her Miracle Mug Cake & Other Cheat’s Bakes book with readers of OutNewsGlobal as they are a fun bake using random ‘treat cupboard’ ingredients. From a practical perspective, they can be prepared in advance with the dough even being freezable. Just remember to space them out generously before baking.
Recipe: Garbage Cookies
100 g unsalted butter
100 g light brown sugar
125 g caster sugar
1 UK large egg plus 1 UK large egg yolk
200 g self-raising flour
40 g porridge oats
20 g puffed rice cereal (I use Rice Krispies)
100 g M&M’s
30 g pretzels, crushed
30 g lightly salted potato chips, crushed
65 g dark chocolate chips
50 g white chocolate chips
2–3 baking sheets lined with baking parchment
PREPARE: 15 MINUTES BAKING: 8–10 MINUTES
Don’t be put off by the name, Garbage Cookies are in fact cookies that are full of all things good! Oats, Rice Krispies, M&M’s, pretzels, potato chips and chocolate chips all generously baked into a soft doughy cookie. They’re the ultimate trashy cookie and they taste deliciously naughty! Just make sure you wait until they’ve completely cooled before eating them as this gives the pretzels a chance to re-harden and gives the cookies the perfect salty crunch.
Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) Gas 4.
Cream together the butter and both sugars in the bowl of a free-standing mixer or in a large mixing bowl with a handheld electric whisk.
Add in the egg and egg yolk, and mix until fully combined.
Gradually add in the flour until you have a sticky cookie dough.
Fold in the oats and Rice Krispies by hand.
Add in the M&M’s, crushed pretzels, crushed potato chips and both chocolate chips. Use your hands to bring the dough together and make sure all of the additions are evenly distributed throughout.
Use an ice-cream scoop to portion the cookies, then roll them in your hands, before flattening them slightly and spacing well apart on the lined baking sheets.
Bake the cookies in batches in the preheated oven for 8–10 minutes until light golden brown on the edges.
Leave the cookies to cool for 2 minutes on the baking sheets before carefully removing them and transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely. Wait until they are completely cool before eating.
NOTE These cookies are best eaten once they are cool, on the day they are made, but can be stored for up to 3 days in an airtight container at room temperature.
Miracle Mug Cakes by Suzy Pelta published by Ryland Peters & Small (£9.99)
Photography by Adrian Lawrence © Ryland Peters & Small