Baking with style

Candice Aboderin is a mother, vlogger and runs her own cake business Cake By Candie. A zest for life shines through in her YouTube videos, which she began as a way of capturing family life for posterity. Candice waxes lyrical on a range of different topics and doesn’t shy away from uncomfortable truths. We asked her to share her story and one her favourite cupcake recipes.

Tell us about yourself

My name is Candice Aboderin and I am 29. I currently run my own cake business Cake By Candie. Prior to motherhood (finally making me take a long walk off a short bridge) I dabbled in advertising and marketing roles, my last job before going alone was with Penguin Random House Publishing. My daughter Esme-Olivia is three and can be very frank about my cake designs, so I still feel like I have a boss of sorts! Apart from that, I love making videos I began doing so just to document my family life, as after my father died I realised I had no video of him. I find comfort in the fact that should I no longer be here and Esme has a burning question she knows that mummy probably made a video about that. I didn’t think others would find it interesting but here we are! As time has gone on it’s made sense to start making baking tutorial videos. With business’ heavily dependant on Google search algorithms, the more content tied to my business name, the better.

How has digital technology and social media changed the way you work?

Thankfully, I’m young enough to say that I don’t know life without it. When it comes to running a cake business, the plus sides are tremendous. Gone are the days of sourcing bank loans and dealing with overheads. With a bright, beautiful Instagram, authenticity and most importantly a great product, you are able to run a business from your sofa! The consistent downside to social media, is watching others and their numbers thinking that you or your business is not doing as well as it should. Whenever I feel those feeling creep in, I know it’s time to take a little break. Personally, it has really helped me build a community that have shared my business and content no end. I am forever indebted to women whom I haven’t (yet) met. I don’t ever see it changing the way I work but hopefully, it will continue to enhance it.

Pink Faux Velvet Cupcakes: far easier twist on the red velvet classic


7oz caster sugar
7oz butter
7oz self-raising flour
1tbsp milk
¼ tsp red gel food colouring
1tsp vanilla extract (optional)

9oz butter (softened)
1lb 11/2 oz icing sugar, sifted
1/4 tsp red gel food colouring



  • Preheat the oven to 160 degrees Celsius (fan) or 180 degrees Celsius for gas/gas mark 4.
  • Line a cupcake tray with cupcake cases and set aside.
  • Cream together the softened butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.
  • Beat the eggs in one at a time until fully incorporated. At anytime if you see the mixture curdling add in a tablespoon of flour. Then throw in the rest.
  • Now add the gel food colouring and combine until your mixture is positively pink! At this point if you want to use vanilla extract, throw that in too.
  • Fill the cupcake cases two-thirds full. I find the easiest way to do this with an ice cream scoop but using two spoons will suffice if you don’t have one to hand.


  • Beat together the softened butter and sifted icing sugar until pale and fluffy. Consistency is key here, so try not to over beat as it can make the buttercream too runny. Once done, add in the food colouring until a desired shade of pink is reached.
  • Once the cakes are cooled you are now at liberty to get the party started. For beginners, there is no need to fuss with a piping bag and nozzles, you can jut use a palette knife (even a butter knife will do) and spread until your heart’s content. For those that want to try their hand at piping, I have instructions in this video.
  • Lastly, sit on the sofa and stuff your face!

Candice is following…


I love Yvadney and all that she creates. A part-time stylist and full-time mum, it’s wicked to see a mother who hasn’t got totally lost in the SMA sauce and still takes pride and finds a way to have fun with the way she looks. She also created an awesome platform Mum’s That Slay which celebrates a plethora of mothers tackling teething while wearing Gucci loafers. I love it!

Motherhood_RXMotherhood, especially motherhood as a black woman, can be really lonely. I’ve lost count of the times I’ve been to a mother and baby group and been the only POC in the room. Visibility is so important. I love the way MotherhoodRX don’t exclude anyone but really work hard to lift up black mothers who aren’t usually represented in mainstream media

June AmbroseThe queen of celebrity styling (can you tell, I really love playing dress up?). June Ambrose is such an inspiration. With a glowing CV and such a positive outlook to life, her Instagram is where I go to feel good. Plus she styled, Jay Z who is my fav, married to everyone’s fav Beyonce. So June Ambrose has breathed the same air as Beyonce. I’ll take my kicks where I can get them!

Candice’s work

A passion for life and food

Anna Mapson is a nutritional therapist who lives in Bristol with her family. Her inspirational story puts into sharp focus what’s truly important in life. Anna had a very rare form of cancer whilst pregnant and suffered both the loss of her baby and intensive chemotherapy. But her positivity shines through, and with her old career and health problems behind her, she tell us her story and shares some of her nutritious recipes.

Tell us about yourself

I’m a nutritional therapist and I help people feel reconnected to the food they eat, supporting them to feel energetic and well nourished. I work with clients via Skype across the UK or face to face in Bristol.

My background is as a management consultant in financial services, so quite a different lifestyle to the one I have now, but I love working for myself, and seeing health improvements in my clients. I have a nutrition business, Goodness Me, and I also work with a partner at The Gentle Touch, a pregnancy and postnatal support service providing baby massage/yoga, baby weaning and nutrition advice in Bristol.

Before becoming a nutritional therapist I had always been into healthy eating and keeping fit. My turning point was having a molar pregnancy about five years ago (a very rare cancer in which a tumour grows in the placenta). I needed six months of very intensive chemotherapy, on top of losing a baby, and this turned my life upside down. Being forced to stop work and just ‘be ill’ was very hard for me as I’m a real do-er, but what felt traumatic at the time, especially being out of control of life events, has led to some very positive changes in all aspects of my life. I don’t know if I would have taken the big risk to leave a well-paid job and retrain without that crisis point.

I love working for myself and the freedom that gives me and the family. I’ve got two daughters, and as my children get older I’m starting to get more time for working on business plans. It’s very hard balancing family commitments and my work goals.

As well as the two businesses I’m also a school governor, so I’m always dashing from one thing to the next and just about scraping by! My daughters love getting involved in taking photos of food and ‘putting it on the blog’ as they say, as well as helping me cook. I get them involved in chopping veg, as well as other preparation, we love to make biscuits and flapjacks together – they are always asking if their creations can be shared online!

How has digital technology and social media changed the way you work?

I love Instagram, I use it all the time for posting recipes and connecting with other food bloggers. I love to show new recipes that I’ve created, or just what I’m feeding the kids that night to give people ideas. It can be very boring to cook for a family day in day out, so I also highlight the benefits of foods that nourish us, explaining how vitamins and minerals are important to our health.

Facebook has been useful too for building a brand, I find it’s chattier and you can put more personality into the conversation. I have just ventured into Facebook Live which is scary but a nice way for people to get to know you. Like most of us, I can all spend too long online, but I love my jobs so much – fiddling around with photos and nutrition blogs sometimes feels like a hobby!

For The Gentle Touch Emma and I don’t have much time face-to-face time together for business planning as we both have young families but we’re always in touch on text, WhatsApp and Facebook messenger, so it helps keep us connected. Working with a good friend is brilliant, we support each other and keep each other going through tough times. It helps that we are both very ambitious for the business and have big plans together over the coming years!

Anna’s healthy lunches for working mums

Here are my tips for eating during the day, whether you’re working from home or at an office. Firstly – forget sandwiches! Focus on protein for lunch to avoid an afternoon energy slump and get your carbs from starchy veg instead. Add healthy fats to each meal to keep you fuller for longer, and don’t forget to drink water!

Healthy lunches can be prepared in advance

Make extra helpings of dinner each night, so that you can take some into work for lunch the following day. If you don’t have anywhere to reheat then use a flask which will keep things warm.

  • Batch cook and freeze – creating 2-3 portions of a soup/stew containing pulses like beans or lentils will mean you have a few lunches ready to go as back up.
  • Roast an extra tray of vegetables on a Sunday and keep them in the fridge and use them as a base for lunch. Add chickpeas, boiled eggs, tinned sardines or a piece of chicken.
  • Take a packet of oatcakes, some cut up vegetable sticks (carrots, cucumber, celery) and some hummus or guacamole as a snack

Lunch recipe ideas

  • Roasted sweet potato wedges and a salad, tomatoes, peppers, a tin of sardines. Add hummus, green beans, eggs, or some toasted pumpkin seeds.
  • Cook brown rice, near the end of cooking throw in some kale. Drain. Grate some carrot and any other salad items, add chick peas. Create a quick dressing by mixing tamari (or soy sauce), lemon/ lime, and tahini as a dressing.
  • Roasted butternut squash with quinoa, tomatoes and a green salad.
  • Gluten free pasta with some sautéed vegetables and half a tin of anchovies.

Quick lunches to make at home

  • Scrambled or poached egg with avocado on rye toast. Add spinach, fried tomatoes or a green salad.
  • Omelette with spinach, pepper, mushrooms and tomatoes.
  • Miso soup: you can get sachets of soup to which you just need to add in some noodles, tofu and broccoli to make a meal.

Healthy snack ideas

  • Piece of fruit and handful of seeds
  • Oat cake with nut butter
  • Avocado and handful of nuts
  • Smoothie with vegetables, fruit and seeds

Mint choc energy balls

These can be made and kept in an airtight container for 3-4 days. They are a sweet hit but containing protein and fats to help keep you going.

100g cashew nut
100g sunflower seeds
100g dates
40g cacao powder
Mint essence drop

Blend nuts and seeds in powerful blender (e.g. Nutribullet) and then mix this powder with the dates, cacao and mint essence in a blender.

Anna’s following…

Lizzie Loves Healthy: she has some delicious recipes for the whole family and it’s refined sugar free, dairy free. I like her approach to family cooking because it’s honest and she sneaks in nutrients to kids’ diets.

Nicky for Life: a lovely approach to nutrition for little people with some tasty recipe ideas.

Bees Nutrition: energetic and interesting posts about supporting your body through diet and lifestyle.

Anna’s work…


Pregnancy and Postnatal Support

Recipe for success

Sarah Akhurst is a food writer and recipe developer, currently working as Food Editor for Weight Watchers magazine. I was inspired by Sarah’s story because it demonstrates that despite juggling family life (and parenting a child with complex needs) she has been able to carve out a successful career in an industry she’s really passionate about. It also goes to show that social media can be a positive force in people’s lives.

Sarah shares two quick and healthy supper recipes (perfect for busy working mums): sticky peanut butter chicken with egg fried noodles and middle eastern style stuffed aubergines with mint and feta (see bottom of article).

Sarah Akhurst Weight Watchers Food Editor

Tell us about yourself

I started my career in radio production before moving into magazines, working across women’s and consumer magazines at the BBC as a commercial editor on titles such as Eve, Good Food, Vegetarian Good Food & Radio Times. From there, I moved to Guardian News & Media where I continued to work for a number of years as a commercial editor producing sponsored editorial content for sections such as Guardian Weekend, the Observer magazine and Observer Food Monthly.

I’ve always been a food obsessive – as a child I used to spend hours in the kitchen prepping Sunday dinner or cooking for my mum’s dinner parties. I had always wanted to direct my career in that direction, but the opportunity never really presented itself. Then, in 2010, the chance of voluntary redundancy came up so I decided to take the leap. After nearly 15 years of working in media, I swapped my laptop for a pinny and embarked on a professional cordon bleu diploma at Tante Marie Culinary Academy. It was wholeheartedly one of the best decisions I have ever made and I loved every second of my training.

When I graduated with a first, I initially worked as a private chef, cooking for a family of nine. Whilst it was an amazing experience, I knew it would be difficult to combine this kind of career route with family life if I planned to have children. I started doing a bit of private catering and styling for photography shoots, before finally moving into doing recipe development for brands. In 2014, a couple of years after having my son, I took a job as a Food Editor at Seven Publishing and am now the Food Editor for Weight Watchers magazine, and also produce recipe content for the Sainsbury’s brand.

How has social media been a positive force in your work and personal life?

Social media is a really important tool of my job, most particularly Instagram and Facebook. I use them both to keep in touch, and get inspiration from, the communities I develop recipes for. The Weight Watchers community is particularly engaged on social media, sharing recipe ideas and using each other for motivation to hit their goals. I’m always on Instagram checking what foods or cooking techniques the community are raving about, to help inform what we do in the magazine.

Social media is an even more vital part of my personal life. As the mother of a child with special needs, I literally don’t know where I would be without the support I get from specialist communities on Facebook! Our 4-year-old son Dexter has a very rare chromosomal disorder called 2q23.1. As a result of a small but significant genetic deletion, he has a diagnosis of autism, global development delay (which includes delays in his speech and language, as well as gross and fine motor skills) and also low muscle tone. To add to this, he also has problems with his colon and in April last year had to have stoma surgery. He now lives with a colostomy bag, which he may or may not have permanently. There are less than 300 people with his condition scattered around the world and without Facebook we would all be dealing with the condition in isolation. With very little medical research or medical experience available, there is scant professional support so the practical experience of other parents is like gold dust! I can post about an issue we are struggling with and I know that within a few hours someone somewhere in the world will respond. Even if they don’t have the answers, knowing that there’s a sounding board is so important. Parenting someone with special needs is an incredibly unique experience, and social network support from people who understand exactly what you go through on a daily basis is a lifeline I couldn’t cope without.

Sarah’s following…

eleanor fordEleanor Ford @smalleleanoramazing food writer, beautiful Instagram account showing her recipes, travels and family.




Claire Thomson @5oclockapronclaire thomsonfood writer who specialises in cooking with kids, great ideas of things to cook that kids can help out with.




stuffed aubergines

Serves 4
Prep time:  10 minutes
Cook time: 55 minutes





4 medium aubergines
2 tbsp rapeseed oil
1 red onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely sliced
1 tsp cumin
2 tsp smoked paprika
½ tsp cinnamon
1 each red, orange, yellow pepper, thinly sliced
2 tins of chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp pomegranate molasses
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
50g sultanas
50g pistachios
Handful fresh mint
100g feta, crumbled


  • Preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan. Halve the aubergines lengthways and score the flesh in a crisscross pattern, making sure not to cut through the base. Place them cut side up in a roasting dish and brush with 1 tbsp oil. Season with salt and pepper and bake in the oven for approximately 40 minutes, or until soft and golden.
  • Meanwhile, heat the remaining oil in a large, deep frying pan and cook the onions for 5 minutes, or until soft. Add the garlic and spices and cook for a further minute or so. Add the peppers, and continue to cook for 3-4 minutes, or until the peppers are starting to soften. Add the chopped tomatoes, pomegranate molasses and vinegar and stir well to combine. Bring to a simmer and leave to cook for 20-25 minutes, or until the peppers are nice and soft and the tomato has reduced down. Add the sultanas, ½ of the pistachios and most of the mint, reserving some for garnish. Season well.
  • When the aubergine is cooked, remove from the oven. Using a spoon, scoop out the flesh, making sure you leave ½cm around the edges and taking care not to pierce the skin at the bottom. Add the aubergine flesh to the tomato mix and stir to combine. Divide the mixture between the empty aubergine shells and return to the oven for around 15 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven and leave to cool for 10 minutes. Scatter with the feta, remaining pistachios and mint. Serve.


sticky peanut chicken

Serves 2
Prep time: 10 minutes (plus marinating time)
Cook time: 20 minutes








For the marinade
1 tbsp peanut butter
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp honey
2 tbsp dark soy sauce
1 tbsp mirin
½ tbsp sriracha
3cm piece of ginger, peeled and grated
2 x large chicken breasts, cut into thick strips
For the noodles
100g soba noodles
½ tbsp sesame oil
3cm piece of ginger, peeled and thinly julienned
2 tbsp soy sauce
400g spiralised vegetables (I used carrot, butternut squash, celeriac and broccoli stem)
2 eggs, lightly beaten
Juice of 1 lime
Handful of fresh coriander, roughly chopped
Handful of peanuts, roughly chopped


  • Whisk together all of the ingredients for the marinade. Put the chicken in a shallow dish and pour over the marinade. Chill for a minimum of 30 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, cook the noodles to pack instructions. Drain and set aside.
  • Spritz a griddle pan with a little oil and heat over a medium high heat. Griddle the chicken pieces for 5-7 minutes, basting with the extra marinade as they cook, and turning half way through. Turn off heat when cooked and leave to rest in the pan while you cook the noodles.
  • Heat a large frying pan or wok over a medium high heat and add the sesame oil. Fry the ginger for a minute, before adding the noodles and the soy sauce. Stir fry for a couple of minutes, then add the spiralised vegetables. Continue to cook for a further 4-5 minutes, tossing frequently, until the vegetables are cooked but still retain a bit of bite.
  • In a separate pan, scramble the eggs until cooked. Toss the eggs through the noodles, along with the chicken and any sticky residue from the pan. Squeeze over the lime juice and stir through most of the fresh coriander. Divide between two bowls and scatter with more fresh coriander and the peanuts.