Tarek meets winner of Emerald Street Cupcake Challenge Susie Kelly

We caught up with Susie, creator of the bacon and maple syrup cupcake that inspired our American Brunch, at The Hummingbird Bakery Soho.

Bacon and cupcakes. It was this creative and surprisingly delicious combination that saw Susie Kelly from Surrey scoop the winning prize in Emerald Street’s Cupcake Challenge competition which ran in January this year.

Five finalists won a Cupcake Masterclass at The Hummingbird Bakery along with a copy of our latest bestselling cookbook Home Sweet Home and a KitchenAid Artisan stand mixer, with the overall winner seeing their cupcake sold in all five London branches of The Hummingbird Bakery for two months.

When called upon to come up with an original recipe to inspire a new cupcake, Susie’s concept beat over 1,400 talented bakers with its utterly irresistible interpretation of the classic American breakfast.

For her winning entry, she combined a vanilla sponge soaked in maple syrup with crispy pieces of bacon, maple syrup frosting and a golden salted caramel centre. From the first bite, we were smitten!  

Q: Susie, how did it feel to win the Emerald Street Cupcake Challenge?

This is the first time I’ve won a competition, so I was really shocked! I checked out the entries on the Emerald Street website’s cupcake gallery so I could see from the other flavours that there was some stiff competition. I had no expectation of being a finalist, but when I received the news that I was the overall winner I was delighted. The new KitchenAid mixer was really exciting too!

Q: When you decided to enter the competition, what recipes did you consider entering?

As soon as I saw the competition, I knew I would enter with the bacon and maple syrup cupcake. It was Christmas when I first came up with the recipe, so just before the competition was launched. I had an idea for combining bacon and maple syrup as I love the traditional American pancake breakfast. I put everything together and it came out great first time, I didn’t need to play around with the flavours. My family loved it and I thought it was a great flavour, so I hoped the judges would agree.

Q: When did your love of baking start?

I started out at cooking school as a Cordon Bleu when I was 17 and then I went on to be a chalet girl. Cooking has always been an important part of my life – I love cooking for friends and family. It was only really when I had my children that baking became a real passion for me, it was something we could share together. They love nothing more than helping me to decorate cakes, often with huge handfuls of sprinkles!

Q: Have you come up with any other inspired cupcake recipes recently?

I just made a rhubarb and custard cupcake, which worked well. It has stewed rhubarb in the sponge and custard on top.

Q: What are your plans for the future?

I’d love to have my own cake shop. Cake decorating is a skill I’ve been teaching myself and friends have encouraged me to pursue cake decorating for weddings. I’ve taught myself the techniques of hand-piping and how to make sugar flowers. It’s the decorating side that I really love.

The American Brunch cupcake will be sold at all five branches until 28th July.