Interview with: Jennifer BulsJennifer Buls of Absolute Treat is enjoying a quadrouple celebration after winning two category awards and the overall title of National Cupcake Champion at the National Cupcake Championships last week, as well as securing a permanent premises for a shop. After receiving complimentary feedback from friends about their cakes, they began selling products at local farmers' markets in order to test demand. Currently run from home, Absolute Treats was set up by Jennifer and her mother Virginia around 12 months ago, and caters for dairy-free, gluten-free, diabetic, coeliac and vegan dietary requirements. The pair have just found a premises for a tearoom and are currently signing the paperwork, with a view to open at the end of the autumn.
The idea for the Lime & Coconut creation came about through experimentation with the flavours used in desserts and also drinks, said Jennifer, who also devised recipes for pecan pie, and banoffee cupcakes for the competition. The winning cupcake uses a high portion of coconut, and less flour than she usually uses in cake recipes, along with soy milk and oil.
What led you to set up your business Absolute Treats?
"My mum is a vegan, and I'm a vegetarian and have a slight dairy allergy, so we weren't able to enjoy other people's cakes. We began coming up with ideas that would be suitable for both of us, which we sold to friends and family."
So who does what in the business?
"I make the cakes and my mum makes the biscuits and cookies. I like to make ‘chunky' things like brownies. I've also started making a lot of fruit tarts. I give myself targets once a week for things to make."
Where did you get your inspiration for the winning Lime & Coconut Cupcake (named by Best Free-from Cupcake of the Year and Best Tasting Cupcake of the Year at the judging event at the Institute of Contemporary Art in London)?
"I like to use natural wholefoods in a simple way."
What's the plan for the shop?
"We're aiming for it to be cross between an English tearoom and French patisserie. Hopefully the win will help increase the orders with the customers we already have, and be beneficial for the opening of the new premises."
>> See Jennifer's winning Lime & Coconut Cupcake recipe