Christmas At The Cupcake Cafe

BOOK: Christmas At The Cupcake Cafe
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Praise for Jenny Colgan

‘This funny, sweet story is Jenny Colgan at her absolute best’
Heat

‘She is very, very funny’

Express

‘A delicious comedy’

Red

‘Fast-paced, funny, poignant and well observed’

Daily Mail

‘Sweeter than a bag of jelly beans … had us eating up every page’

Cosmopolitan

‘A smart, funny story laced with irresistible charm’

Closer

‘Chick-lit with an ethical kick’

Mirror

‘A quirky tale of love, work and the meaning of life’

Company

‘A smart, witty love story’

Observer

‘Full of laugh-out-loud observations … utterly unputdownable’

Woman

‘A fabulously sweet concoction of warmth, wit and lip-smacking childhood treats’

Candis

‘A chick-lit writer with a difference … never scared to try something different, Colgan always pulls it off’

Image

‘A Colgan novel is like listening to your best pal, souped up on vino, spilling the latest gossip – entertaining, dramatic and frequently hilarious’

Daily Record

‘An entertaining read’

Sunday Express

‘Part-chick lit, part-food porn … this is full on fun for foodies’

Bella

Also by Jenny Colgan

Amanda’s Wedding

Talking to Addison

Looking for Andrew McCarthy

Working Wonders

Do You Remember the First Time?

Where Have All the Boys Gone?

West End Girls

Operation Sunshine

Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend

The Good, the Bad and the Dumped

Meet Me at the Cupcake Café

Welcome to Rosie Hopkins’ Sweetshop of Dreams

Copyright

Published by Hachette Digital

ISBN: 978-1-4055-1468-2

All characters and events in this publication, other than those clearly in the public domain, are fictitious and any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

Copyright © Jenny Colgan 2012

‘Baking your first cupcake’ piece, copyright © The Caked Crusader 2011

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, without the prior permission in writing of the publisher.

Hachette Digital

Little, Brown Book Group

100 Victoria Embankment

London, EC4Y 0DY

www.hachette.co.uk

To anyone who still leaves a mince pie out for Santa

(and a carrot for the reindeer).

Contents

Praise for Jenny Colgan

Also by Jenny Colgan

Copyright

A Word From Jenny

Author’s Note

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fifteen

Chapter Sixteen

Chapter Seventeen

Chapter Eighteen

Chapter Nineteen

Chapter Twenty

Chapter Twenty-One

Acknowledgements

Baking your First Cupcake by The Caked Crusader

A Word From Jenny

Chapter One

Welcome to Rosie Hopkins’ Sweetshop of Dreams

Meet Me at the Cupcake Café

West End Girls

Operation Sunshine

Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend

The Good, The Bad and the Dumped

A Word From Jenny

Hello! Even though
Meet Me at the Cupcake Café
was my thirteenth novel, I found it was a harder one to leave behind than some of the others. Maybe because it was the longest book I’d ever written, I really felt that I’d grown fond of the characters. I found myself going into Christmas mode after it came out – I love Christmas – and starting to make my Christmas cake and some mince pies and thinking – I know this makes me sound totally ridiculous, by the way – I wonder how Issy would do them? So I figured I’d better just write them down. Plus, if you enjoy the recipes, it’s nice to have a few together just for this time of year. We’ve also reprinted (so when you see it, don’t think SWIZZ!), the Caked Crusader’s brilliant introductory guide to baking cupcakes from the last book, in case you’re just starting out.

It’s weird, because although I like reading sequels, I’ve never written one before. There are a couple of things I sometimes don’t like about them, though, so I have tried to avoid paragraphs like: ‘Jane walked into the room. “Hello, Jane!” said Peter. “How are you ever since you were abandoned in that shipwreck and had to take part in human cannibalism then a dolphin picked you up and gave you a ride home where you married your true love who turned out not to be your brother after all?” “Fine,” said Jane.’

I have also tried to avoid the opposite, where you have to remember everything yourself (come on, we’re all busy), like: ‘“This is worse than Bermuda,” spat Jane, hurling her prosthetic leg across the room.’

So. Instead of having to shoehorn everyone in, here’s a quick rundown (and also, welcome if you’re new!).

Issy Randall
lost her job in an estate agency, and threw her redundancy money into opening the Cupcake Café in Stoke Newington, which is a mixed, villagey area of London (her grandad,
Joe
, had been a baker in Manchester and she had always loved to bake and decided to turn it into a career).

She employed
Pearl McGregor
, who is bringing up
Louis
mostly single-handedly, although his dad,
Benjamin Kmbota
, swings by from time to time; and
Caroline
, who is in the process of divorcing her rich husband. And Issy broke up from her estate agent boyfriend Graeme, who was horrible, and has started dating
Austin Tyler
, the local bank manager, who is raising his brother,
Darny
, after their parents died. Austin was offered a new job overseas, but that got delayed – it’s now over a year since the last book, if that makes sense. Well, anyway, Louis is four now, and in reception, Darny is eleven and in his first year of secondary school, and Issy’s best friend
Helena
, a nurse, has had a baby with her doctor boyfriend
Ashok
.

So hopefully we’re all up to speed!

With grateful thanks to BBC Books and Delia Smith for allowing me to use her recipe. And another thanks to The Little Loaf for the recipe in Chapter fifteen. For more recipes go to
http://thelittleloaf.wordpress.com

Let us know at
www.facebook.com/jennycolganbooks
or @jennycolgan on twitter if you try any of the recipes, and may I wish you the merriest of Christmases.

Very warmest wishes,

Jenny

Author’s Note

All these recipes have been successfully tested by me, many repeatedly and greedily. If you have time to do the Christmas cake a good four weeks in advance, it really helps!

NB: altitude cookies are very, very sweet indeed at ground level.

Sitting under the mistletoe

(Pale-green, fairy mistletoe)
,

One last candle burning low
,

All the sleepy dancers gone
,

Just one candle burning on
,

Shadows lurking everywhere:

Some one came, and kissed me there
,

Walter de la Mare, ‘Mistletoe’

Chapter One

Gingerbread

This is not for gingerbread
men, which is more of a cookie recipe as it has to stay hard and crunchy. And it is not for gingerbread houses, unless you have endless time on your hands and (let’s say it quietly) are a bit of a show-off who would rather their cakes were admired than devoured. No, this is old-fashioned soft, sticky gingerbread. It doesn’t take long to make, but you’ll be glad you did.

NB Oil the container before you fill it with treacle. Otherwise you and your dishwasher are going to fall out really badly.

50g white sugar

50g brown sugar

120g butter

1 egg

180ml treacle

300g self-raising flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 tbsp powdered cinnamon

1 tbsp powdered ginger (or a little more if you like)

½ tsp ground cloves (I just threw in a ‘lucky’ clove)

½ tsp salt

60ml hot water

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