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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

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