A ROSSENDALE baker has bagged first prize in a national cake competition.

Melinda Foster, of Rawtenstall, set up her company Fantasy Cupcakes almost a year ago and has already gained national recognition for her efforts.

The single mother-of-two entered her White Rabbit recipe, which has an Alice in Wonderland theme, in the national cupcake week contest.

Melinda, from Brookside, said she was invited to enter the competition because of the quality of her cakes.

She said: “The organisers of the compeititon must have seen my website before they contacted me to enter.

“I have only been in the business for 10 months so to be selected as a winner was a massive shock, but I was so pleased.

“My grandmother was my original inspiration but now I bake with my two kids Sam, 10, and Molly, 12, who are both very talented bakers.

“At the moment I am baking part-time but after this event I am looking to make it a full-time business.”

The aim of the competition was to encourage craft bakers, cafés, delis, coffee chains, convenience stores and supermarket in-store bakeries to celebrate the diversity of the popular cupcake by producing and selling a different recipe for each day of the week.

The White Rabbit was chosen as the winning flavour for Wednesday as part of cupcake week, which will be celebrated from September 14 to 19.

Andrew Williams, deputy editor of the British Baker magazine, paid tribute to the winning entries.

He said: “The standard was extremely high.

“This competition not only demonstrates just how much craft baking is flourishing in the UK, but reflects the sheer level of innovation that is going on within the cupcake sector.

“The taste and flavour combinations together with the style and presentation we experienced have set an extremely high standard for years to come.”

Melinda is now hoping to expand her business from bespoke orders and events to open new retail premises in the New Year.