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2021 Refresh: Star Baker

Oh boy do we have a treat for you! In our latest instalment of the 2021 Refresh, we're chatting to Emma Balshaw, also known as The Shropshire Baker. She's sharing how baking helps to ease the stress of Lockdown life, and giving us some top tips for becoming Star Baker with a tasty cake recipe. Tuck in!


Hello! I’m Emma, more commonly known as The Shropshire Baker. I am a Shropshire lass born and bred, with a three year move to London to study for a degree at The National Bakery School. Missing the beautiful countryside and slower pace of life, I moved back to Shrewsbury after graduating, to set

up my own small cake baking business. In December of last year, I moved into my own professional kitchen within Nomad Coffee Co. to supply wholesale cakes, as well as bespoke celebration cakes, turning my life-long dream, into a reality.

Improving your mental health through baking…

The past year has brought us many challenges that we were not expecting when seeing in the new year of 2020. Looking back at the positives of 2020, new hobbies and trends were formed throughout the lockdowns to keep our minds busy and entertained, including baking! Personally, I believe baking can improve a person’s mental health, whether it is to reduce boredom and loneliness or used as a form of stress and anxiety relief, baking has helped me step back from the stresses and strains of life and simply just relax. Something we all need right now!

Always wanted to give baking a go but don’t know where to start? Here is a super easy recipe that will turn anyone into a “star baker”!

Super Simple Victoria Sandwich

150g Unsalted Butter (softened)

150g Caster Sugar

3 Free-Range Medium Eggs

150g Plain Flour

¾ tsp Baking Powder

½ tsp Vanilla Extract

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (160° fan). Grease two 8-inch cake tins with butter and line the base with baking paper.

2. Using an electric whisk or a wooden spoon (with a lot of elbow grease!), beat together the unsalted butter and sugar until light a fluffy.

3. Add the eggs, one at a time and mix until fully incorporated. Don’t worry if the mixture starts to curdle, simply add a tablespoon of the plain flour to stabilise.

4. Fold through the plain flour, baking powder and vanilla, and mix until just combined. It is important you don’t overmix at this stage to guarantee a light, aerated sponge.

5. Divide the cake batter evenly between the two lined cake tins and place on the middle shelf in the oven for 20-25 minutes. Leave to cool in the cake tins for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

6. Once cold, sandwich the cakes with a generous layer of your favourite jam, curd or marmalade and dust with icing sugar.

7. Grab a plate and enjoy!

Here’s to an amazing 2021!


Going to give this glorious sponge a go? Be sure to tag Emma in your cake creations! If you fancy getting your hands on one of Emma's delicious bakes, head to Nomad Coffee Co. at 44 Wyle Cop for a little slice of cake heaven.

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