HALF PRICE SALE Subscribe to Lancashire Life today CLICK HERE

Elizabeth May - sweet treats at a quirky cake shop in Chorley

14:38 13 February 2012

Mum and daughter team Susan Elizabeth Millar and Margaret May Lees in their new cake and chocolate parlour

Mum and daughter team Susan Elizabeth Millar and Margaret May Lees in their new cake and chocolate parlour

Expect quirky, out of the ordinary delights from a cake shop in Chorley on Valentine's Day. Emma Mayoh reports PHOTOGRAPHY BY KIRSTY THOMPSON

William and Finley Millar dont need to watch Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The five and three-year-old only need to visit their mums cake and chocolate parlour in Chorley. Over the next few weeks Susan Elizabeth Millar and her mum, Margaret May Lees, who run Elizabeth May Cakes, will be working on a window display that will look like it has been lifted straight from the film set.


Huge, intricate cakes will be surrounded by chocolate snowdrops and daffodils sprouting from the ground alongside a chocolate waterfall and river teeming with chocolate frogs. As the seasons change, so will the cake and chocolate goodies.

I want it to be a real talking point, said Susan Elizabeth. Were a bit quirky and perhaps a bit strange in our approach to our cakes and we want people to see that. We already have a traffic jam outside here in the mornings. We want it to be fun, not only for people to look at, but for us to create too.

I was watching the film with the boys not long ago and they said you can make that mummy, so I guess the challenge is on.

Susan Elizabeth, who lives in Coppull, has always baked and learned her skills from her nanna, Betty Lawrenson. As a child she also loved creating and making things. But she chose to study business, finance and tourism and worked for holiday company Haven in Blackpool and North Wales. It was only after the birth of her sons she started to think about her next move. In 2009, she set up Little Lancashire Cupcakes in 2009 selling at farmers markets and wedding fairs.

Susan said: Being a mum was the most important thing, it still is, but I also wanted something to do for me. I did baking with the boys and people started telling me to give it a go professionally. It was like Id finally found what I was meant to be doing.

As more request for cakes came in Susan Elizabeth trained to be a chocolatier at Slatterys in Prestwich. Last year she joined forces with her mum, former Chorley councillor Margaret May, to set up the cake and chocolate parlour in Lyons Lane. Dad Richard also helps out with delivering the cakes and despite only being open for a few weeks, the orders are coming in thick and fast.

Between them the mother and daughter make dozens of different cakes including Mars delight, red velvet, marble and white chocolate and strawberry cupcakes as well as rocky road and cake pops. The large cakes are also as varied with everything from pretty wedding cakes covered in hundreds of tiny sugar paste flowers to a birthday cake made to look like a roast chicken dinner. They also made a cake for Gordon Burns when he retired from North West Tonight and they make lots of chocolates, from a solid one kilo block in the shape of a meerkat to chocolate shoes.

Many of the recipes have been concocted by Susan Elizabeth who has taught them to her mum. But there are a few treasured family ones that they are also using including a mincemeat recipe from Susan Elizabeths great grandma and a sponge cake from her nanna.

As well as baking delicious cakes Susan and Margaret also want to try and combat stereotypes they believe Chorley is sometimes victim to.

Margaret, also from Coppull, said: There seems to be this criticism that the town is full of banks, building societies and charity shops. But this is not the case. There are a lot of long-standing businesses here that are proud of being in the town and make it a place to be proud of.

Were very pleased to be able to join those businesses but we also hope that we might attract more into the town too. Chorley is a fantastic place and we want more people to see how good it is.


William and Finley Millar dont need to watch Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The five and three-year-old only need to visit their mums cake and chocolate parlour in Chorley. Over the next few weeks Susan Elizabeth Millar and her mum, Margaret May Lees, who run Elizabeth May Cakes, will be working on a window display that will look like it has been lifted straight from the film set.

Huge, intricate cakes will be surrounded by chocolate snowdrops and daffodils sprouting from the ground alongside a chocolate waterfall and river teeming with chocolate frogs. As the seasons change, so will the cake and chocolate goodies.

I want it to be a real talking point, said Susan Elizabeth. Were a bit quirky and perhaps a bit strange in our approach to our cakes and we want people to see that. We already have a traffic jam outside here in the mornings. We want it to be fun, not only for people to look at, but for us to create too.

I was watching the film with the boys not long ago and they said you can make that mummy, so I guess the challenge is on.

Susan Elizabeth, who lives in Coppull, has always baked and learned her skills from her nanna, Betty Lawrenson. As a child she also loved creating and making things. But she chose to study business, finance and tourism and worked for holiday company Haven in Blackpool and North Wales. It was only after the birth of her sons she started to think about her next move. In 2009, she set up Little Lancashire Cupcakes in 2009 selling at farmers markets and wedding fairs.

Susan said: Being a mum was the most important thing, it still is, but I also wanted something to do for me. I did baking with the boys and people started telling me to give it a go professionally. It was like Id finally found what I was meant to be doing.

As more request for cakes came in Susan Elizabeth trained to be a chocolatier at Slatterys in Prestwich. Last year she joined forces with her mum, former Chorley councillor Margaret May, to set up the cake and chocolate parlour in Lyons Lane. Dad Richard also helps out with delivering the cakes and despite only being open for a few weeks, the orders are coming in thick and fast.

Between them the mother and daughter make dozens of different cakes including Mars delight, red velvet, marble and white chocolate and strawberry cupcakes as well as rocky road and cake pops.

The large cakes are also as varied with everything from pretty wedding cakes covered in hundreds of tiny sugar paste flowers to a birthday cake made to look like a roast chicken dinner. They also made a cake for Gordon Burns when he retired from North West Tonight and they make lots of chocolates, from a solid one kilo block in the shape of a meerkat to chocolate shoes.

Many of the recipes have been concocted by Susan Elizabeth who has taught them to her mum. But there are a few treasured family ones that they are also using including a mincemeat recipe from Susan Elizabeths great grandma and a sponge cake from her nanna.

As well as baking delicious cakes Susan and Margaret also want to try and combat stereotypes they believe Chorley is sometimes victim to.

Margaret, also from Coppull, said: There seems to be this criticism that the town is full of banks, building societies and charity shops. But this is not the case. There are a lot of long-standing businesses here that are proud of being in the town and make it a place to be proud of.

Were very pleased to be able to join those businesses but we also hope that we might attract more into the town too. Chorley is a fantastic place and we want more people to see how good it is.



The print version of this article appeared in the February 2012 issue of Lancashire Life

We can deliver a copy direct to your door order online here

0 comments

Shop with us at Great British Life

More from Food & Drink

Yesterday, 09:00
Kate Henry's gluten-free chocolate torte.

Kate Henry from The Great British Bake Off shares a guilt-free dinner party recipe – perfect for chocoholics who want reduce their sugar intake

Read more
Sunday, August 30, 2015
Frances Quinn (Copyright Georgia Glynn Smith)

Former childrenswear designer and Bake Off winner on channelling her creativity to work with food rather than fabric and why she keeps pencils in the kitchen

Read more
Thursday, August 27, 2015
Flora's creme brulees (Love Productions)

*SPOILER ALERT*

Dessert was the name of the game in episode 4 of the BBC cookery show. With whisks and piping bags at the ready, the bakers set about to create crème brulee, spanische windtorte and a 3 tiered cheesecake

Read more
Thursday, August 27, 2015
The restaurants, cafe, bars and cinemas can serve 1,000 people a day

It’s 35 years since Derek Hook and his family launched a business which has grown into an Ambleside institution, writes Eileen Jones

Read more
Wednesday, August 26, 2015
Howard's Satay Sundae.

Great British Bake Off star Howard Middleton shares a delicious gluten-free dessert recipe

Read more
Wednesday, August 26, 2015
A selection at Holly's Cakes and Bakes

The Great British Bake Off has got us all talking about cakes, if you don’t fancy attempting to make your own, there are plenty of fine places to buy cupcakes in the region

Read more
Thursday, August 20, 2015
Paul Hollywood, Sue Perkins, Mary Berry and Mel Giedroyc (Love Productions/Mark Bourdillon)

*SPOILER ALERT* Bread was the focus in episode 3 of the BBC cookery show. Whipping out their best kneading and plaiting techniques, the bakers set about to create quick breads, French baguettes and 3D bread sculptures

Read more
Wednesday, August 19, 2015
Edd Kimber GBBO winner of series one

The first ever winner of the Great British Bake Off, Edd Kimber talks growing up in Yorkshire, inspiration, Patisserie Made Simple, and what’s next.

Read more
Tuesday, August 18, 2015
The Sandwich Box's large white loaf

Dom Salter, Food Director at award-winning bakery The Sandwich Box, shares his simple recipe for every bread-makers essential bake – the basic white loaf – perfect for Bake Off fans cooking along to Bread Week

Read more
Monday, August 17, 2015
The Mortal Man, pictured in the centre, enjoys some of the best views the Lake District has to offer

Whether a drop of Lancashire ale is your tipple or you prefer a glass of chilled champagne, here are some of the best places in Lancashire and the Lake District to drink al fresco

Read more
Friday, August 14, 2015
Luis' Star and Stripes Eclairs from GBBO series 5 (Love Productions).

For fans of the Bake Off, the colourful sketches of the bakers’ creations are about as integral to the show as Mary and Paul – things just wouldn’t be the same without them. We caught up with Bristol-based Tom Hovey, the man behind the cake illustrations

Read more
Friday, August 14, 2015
(Radio Times)

We caught up with last year’s winner of The Great British Bake Off, Hull-born baker Nancy, to find out why

Read more
Thursday, August 13, 2015
Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood (Love Productions/Mark Bourdillon)

*SPOILER ALERT* Biscuits were the name of the game in episode 2 of the BBC cookery show. With their cookie cutters and rolling pins at the ready, the bakers set about to create Italian biscotti, French arlettes and edible biscuit boxes

Read more
Thursday, August 13, 2015
Tom Wood nominee for Butcher of the Year

Tom Wood, the Butchery Manager at Huntleys Country Stores Ltd represents Team GB with nomination for Butcher of the Year

Read more

NEWSLETTER SIGNUP





Food and Drink Directory


Lancashire's trusted business finder