Authors: Jenny Colgan
‘This funny, sweet story is Jenny Colgan at her absolute best’
‘She is very, very funny’
‘A delicious comedy’
‘Fast-paced, funny, poignant and well observed’
‘Sweeter than a bag of jelly beans … had us eating up every page’
‘A smart, funny story laced with irresistible charm’
‘Chick-lit with an ethical kick’
‘A quirky tale of love, work and the meaning of life’
‘A smart, witty love story’
‘Full of laugh-out-loud observations … utterly unputdownable’
‘A fabulously sweet concoction of warmth, wit and lip-smacking childhood treats’
‘A chick-lit writer with a difference … never scared to try something different, Colgan always pulls it off’
‘A Colgan novel is like listening to your best pal, souped up on vino, spilling the latest gossip – entertaining, dramatic and frequently hilarious’
‘An entertaining read’
‘Part-chick lit, part-food porn … this is full on fun for foodies’
Talking to Addison
Looking for Andrew McCarthy
Do You Remember the First Time?
Where Have All the Boys Gone?
West End Girls
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
Published by Hachette Digital
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.
Little, Brown Book Group
100 Victoria Embankment
London, EC4Y 0DY
To anyone who still leaves a mince pie out for Santa
(and a carrot for the reindeer).
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!).
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,
, had been a baker in Manchester and she had always loved to bake and decided to turn it into a career).
, who is bringing up
mostly single-handedly, although his dad,
, swings by from time to time; and
, 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
, the local bank manager, who is raising his brother,
, 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
, a nurse, has had a baby with her doctor boyfriend
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
Let us know at
or @jennycolgan on twitter if you try any of the recipes, and may I wish you the merriest of Christmases.
Very warmest wishes,
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’
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
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