RIA Groves’ children always tell her her cupcakes are the best in the world. Now they are officially among the best in the country.
The 31-year-old mum of two, of Crookorn Lane, Waterlooville, began baking the delicious little treats when she went on maternity leave from her job as a nursery nurse.
Her daughter Tilly is now three and she and brother Oliver love them so much they encouraged their mum to start selling them – which she did.
On a whim she entered the National Cupcake Championships and came first in the micro-model category with her intricate, tiny teddy bears’ picnic cakes.
For the batch of cupcakes for the competition Ria handcrafted 24 teddy bears, 24 trees, 12 rabbit heads, 12 teapots, 24 tea cups, 24 plates, 72 sandwiches, more than 100 apples, 36 flowers, 12 picnic blankets, grass and bushes.
She said: ‘I didn’t think for a moment I would win. I just saw it is an opportunity to go up, get some new ideas and have coffee and cake and fun with a friend.
‘I just could not believe it when they said I’d won.
‘My category was micro-models which meant I had to put lots of little detail on them.
‘I was thinking of the Diamond Jubilee, and I wanted something traditional, which led to me baking a Victoria sponge recipe.
‘And for the topping I went for a teddy bears’ picnic.
‘Each teddy bear is about an inch tall and took me about an hour to make. The cakes were so small and intricate it would have been handy to have a microscpoe to work with.
‘I did it all by hand and didn’t use any moulds.’
Originally from Slovakia, mother-of-two Ria moved to the UK in 2004, when she met her husband Alex, and worked as a senior nursery nurse before launching Ria’s Cakes.
She said: ‘It started because I wanted a baptism cake for my children but couldn’t find anything I liked and when I did I could not believe the cost.
‘So I decided to do it myself and with a great reaction to my baptism cake followed by making a few cakes for family and friends, Ria’s Cakes was born.
‘These days I have at least one cake to make every day and am currently having to turn business away whilst I work out the best route to expand.
‘Typically I have a wedding cupcake stand with 100 cupcakes ordered for every other weekend.
‘My children love my cupcakes, they say they are delicious and tasty!’
Go to riascakes.co.uk.