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Mother's Day Treats

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Dan Lepard

Lemony layer cake, sticky chocolate cakes and pretty raspberry biscuits - innovative Aussie baker Dan Lepard knows how to keep mums smiling

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From the moment I set foot in a pastry kitchen, I felt completely fascinated by baking. It's the chemistry of it that inspires - I'm a bit of a geeky baker, but I'm rather proud of it.

I've spent years working in restaurants, and with some amazing chefs, but I don't think people should feel home baking is second rate. I get sent loads of photos of bread and cakes made by home bakers and I'm often amazed by how good they look.

I love writing recipes. My starting point is always, 'What do I want to eat, how do I want it to taste, how do I get that flavour?'. It can involve slightly unconventional methods - my friends joke that you can recognise a Dan Lepard recipe if it involves boiling something at the beginning - but the results are always good.

So, you might think a custard base for my chocolate macaroon cakes seems odd, but it gives a rich flavour and a lovely light sponge with a mellow sweetness. I always use double

cream instead of milk in recipes, too - it gives a finer crumb.

Similarly, adding oats to a cake might appear unusual, but they make it squidgy and add texture and a little flavour. It seems completely insane when you put the mixture in the tin, but in the oven it puffs up and produces a beautiful cake.

I haven't looked back since giving up a career in fashion photography. It's been a long time now and baking is still when I feel happiest.