Baking with Trisha Ashley

Best-selling author of Chocolate Shoes and Wedding Blues, The Magic of Christmas, and Wedding Tiers, Trisha Ashley, doesn’t just write great romantic comedies, she is also a culinary whiz. With Mother’s Day just around the corner, Trisha tells us her thoughts on the nicest presents and offers up two exclusive recipes.  These recipes have been tried by Parastou and tested (i.e. scoffed) by the rest of us.

I always think that homemade presents are by far the nicest and what better way to guarantee your mum a happy Mother’s Day than by baking her something delicious? I myself have no formal cookery training; I learnt all my recipes from my mother so I thought sharing some of my recipes with you would be appropriate for Mother’s Day. The recipes below are easy to follow and delicious (if I do say so myself!).

Baking is very often a key theme in my novels. Believe it or not, I didn’t actually set out to write stories full of food and recipes – those elements just crept in, reflecting my keen interest in the subject! I then added the recipes into the back of my books in response to requests from fans.

Happy baking! And do remember to clean up the kitchen; it is Mother’s Day after all…


Fairy Cakes


Who needs a big heavy, greasy muffin when they can have a delicious little morsel like this? And don’t lather on an inch-thick layer of sugary ‘frosting’ until you have eaten one straight from the oven to remind yourself how good home-baked cake can taste.



You will need paper cake cases – you can get small ones for fairy cakes and even tinier, bite-sized ones. If you haven’t got a cake or muffin tin, just stand them on a baking tray.

4oz/100g butter or margarine

4oz/100g caster sugar

4oz/100g self-raising flour

2 medium eggs

Half a level teaspoon baking powder.



1. Preheat the oven to gas mark 6/200oC/400oF

2. Soften the butter and place in a large mixing bowl.

3. Sieve the flour into it and then stir in all the other ingredients.

4. Mix well for a couple of minutes until you have a smooth mixture.

5. Divide between about eighteen paper cases for normal-sized fairy cakes (the mixture will rise a lot so don’t overfill!). If using the tiny ones, then a level teaspoon of mixture should be more than enough.

6. Bake for about fifteen minutes, until a nice golden-brown colour, then leave to cool on a wire rack.



  1. To make chocolate fairy cakes, add a level tablespoon of cocoa powder while stirring the ingredients.  You could also decorate the top with a little melted chocolate.
  2. To make the butterfly cakes, slice off a disc from the top of the two cakes and cut them into two halves. Put a blob of jam and another of buttercream or whipped cream on top of each cake.  Place two half circles of cake on top of each one to make butterfly wings.
  3. To make fruit fairy cakes, add about 1oz/25g of currants to the mix while stirring.



Microwave Meringues


There are lots of recipes for these but they are all more or less the same  just sugar and egg white.  Easy to whip up in minutes, you can use them to base other dessert recipes on.



One large egg white

12oz/300g icing sugar



  1. Cover a microwaveable plate with baking paper.
  2. Lightly beat the egg white in a large bowl and then sieve the sugar over it.
  3. Stir well until you have a thick mixture a little like soft fondant icing.  You may have to add a little more sugar or beaten egg white to get this consistency, but if so, do it a tiny bit at a time.
  4. Roll into eight balls and microwave them on the paper-covered plate two at a time for about a minute  watch them swell up like magic!
  5. Let them cool, then eat them as they are or sandwich together with whipped cream.