You can forget Jamie Oliver, Heston Blumenthal this Christmas because what the nation really wants is...cupcakes. Where the book trade in general is still coming to terms with being mugged by Amazon, obscure little bakeries have been trotting out their tomes faster than their scones.
If it can be decorated seemingly it will be. Both the Hummingbird bakery and the Primrose Hill bakery have seen lively sales through recession as it seems a generation of mums plan to decorate their way through any crisis. Also on the shelves now are Lily Vanilla's A Zombie Ate My Cupcake kit and Blackdog has issued Tea Cake London, a guide by Zena Alkayat. This is not strictly a home front trend though...
On the horizon is a new star in the making - Manuela Kjeilen, A Scandinavian cupcake goddess or if you like a Viking variation on Martha Stewart. Her new book Love Manuela rocketed to number one in the Norwegian bestsellers - at a cool, would you believe 46 euros, selling 9,000 copies in two days. Her website www.passion4baking.com has propelled her in less than a year to virtual stardom. Today's post - My Cinnamon Cupcake.
Everywhere she goes seemingly she pops another treat on the success story, notably the small baking shop The Cake Decorating Company in Nottingham which has had to expand to 17 employers to cope with the demand for all things pink and piping.
Manuela in fact is Dutch. Her publisher is Norwegian. She lives in Sweden. A year ago she launched her blog and now she has 17,000 plus followers and is embarked on a road trip like old fashioned rock and rollers teaching people her enthusiasm for baking... at £100 a ticket.
"God meant it to happen," she confides in me in her best Martha Stewart tones. "I just love baking". Actually Martha Stewart is the wrong image. Oprah Winfrey is her idol.
Manuela cooks, photographs, styles (she is very good stylist) and posts an article for baking every day, no mean feat by itself, often in her favourite colour, pink. She also has five children. She is keen to point out that it is not just about cupcakes. There are doughnuts too. And pops. And macaroons. And frostings. And gluten free. Today's post already has 45 comments...
We meet in St Pancras station. "I don't know why I am telling you this, so soon after meeting you..." She has a line in racy chat show style anecdotes. She tells how she once mistranslated a recipe from Norweigian so the word spoon magically became vagina. "I started to get all these messages from the USA asking why I was putting potatoes in...."
And then there was the time she was on the bus chatting away about how great it must be to work in the Condom shop...the bakery is kondam's.
The chat shows are going to love this girl. A Viking has landed...Love her, you have to.Suggest a correction