Have you met? Gemma Faithfull of Faithfull’s Quality Baking

For Christmas cakes and puddings with a homemade touch, there’s only one place to go this December. Gemma Faithfull explains why her Christmas cakes and puddings are a sell-out every year…

How did Faithfull’s Quality Baking come about?

I started making cakes to sell at farmers’ markets and for friends. A friend then told me to enter the Country Living Kitchen Table Talent Award – I did and won ‘the best business to be’ award. This gave me the confidence to launch my business – I quit my job and started Faithfull’s Quality Baking.

What is your best-selling product?

It’s a tricky question to answer but I’d say it’s 50:50 between my cakes and puddings. My Christmas puddings are a new product so they’re popular and my Christmas gift cakes, which come with several different toppings, are also popular.

You launched a Christmas pudding last year – tell us about that?

They are all hand-made by me and come in five sizes. I use good quality ingredients and really try to balance the flavours. Because I use apple and ground almonds, the puddings are quite light and airy – I don’t use flour as I think it makes them cloggy. There are three flavours – Traditional, my new Boozy Orange which has a lovely Welsh orange liqueur and candied orange in it and just won highly commended at the Taste of the West awards, and a Gluten Free version.

How many Christmas cakes/puddings do you make a year?

It’s hard to say as it depends on the size, but for example, one pudding takes eight and half hours to steam! I make all my cakes and puddings by myself in the summer so they have time to mature – it definitely means they taste better as a result!

What makes your products so moist and full of flavour?

The quality of the fruit is essential. I mix all my own fruit so I can choose the best and give it time to soak – preferably two weeks if there’s time. I only use quality British ingredients, sourced locally where possible.

Tell us a bit more about your cakes?

The cakes come in six sizes; there’s a small one to just chip away at, a loaf cake and my largest is an eight-inch cake which is ideal for a family Christmas. They are available with various toppings – the glazed fruit and nut is ideal for anyone who doesn’t like icing or marzipan, and it’s fantastic on a cheese board as it’s not too sweet. I do traditional cakes with marzipan and icing and for those who can’t decide, I do a half and half cake, so half iced and half glazed.

What can we find on your stall this December?

Once I’ve run out of Christmas cakes and puddings I start baking my chocolate fudge cakes, my carrot cakes with pecan and caramel topping and frangipane mince pies. These are lovely shortcrust mince pies with a light frangipane topping, a sprinkling of flaked almonds and a dusting of icing sugar. My friend makes the mincemeat for these. I will also have my brownie bar selection – this is a pick ‘n’ mix of 12 flavours, including Baileys cheesecake, honeycomb, rocky road, peanut butter, salted caramel and white chocolate. These will all be available throughout December at the Farmers’ Market.