A TALENTED craft baker who trained at Stanley House, Blackburn, has been crowned National Cupcake Champion 2013.

Martin Hargreaves, (27), who lives in Preston and works for Greenhalgh’s in Bolton, received his title from Britain’s queen of baking, the food writer and presenter Mary Berry, before an audience of hundreds at Cake International in Birmingham.

The pastry chef competed against 47 professional bakers to take the title for his classic Lemon and Lime Cupcake.

Martin trained as a pastry chef at Stanley House in Blackburn and under the chef Paul Heathcote before joining Greenhalgh’s. His winning cupcake was a twist on the classic lemon meringue pie. The judges praised the cupcake as fresh and really tasty.

“I can’t believe it, I’m absolutely gobsmacked to have won,” said Martin. “It’s my own recipe which I have developed, based on a lemon meringue pie, and incorporating the lime. I love developing cakes and desserts. I have also just qualified to be a teacher and I want to teach food.”

Judging the finals live at Cake International, the sugarcraft, decorating and baking show, were Great British Bake Off winner John Whaite, Royal Wedding Cake maker Fiona Cairns, Gerhard Jenne founder of Konditor & Cook, award-winning pastry chef Will Torrent, British Baker editor Martyn Leek with sponsors John Young from Secret Ingredients and Neil Davey from BFP Wholesale.

They faced the daunting challenge of tasting more than 120 cupcakes in four different categories including Classic, With Alcohol, Free From and Themed.

“It was a closely fought contest and the standard of entries was once again outstanding,” said British Baker Deputy Editor Georgi Gyton.

“The taste and flavour combinations were innovative and the creative presentation even more so.

“Martin’s cupcake however was a worthy winner.

“It was a wonderfully moist and fresh tasting cake using a classic combination of citrus flavours and it looked simply divine too.”