THE lead-up to the festive period is a busy time for Kate Shirazi. She is working flat out baking her popular cupcakes and her new range of square Christmas cakes.
But she will be stopping on Christmas Eve to spend the festivities with her family at her home in Crediton.
"I love Christmas. It is a real family affair in our house and I really look forward to it," said cake maker who set up her Cakeadoodledo business in 2006.
"Even though my business is cooking, I still love to do it at home. In the family kitchen it is a really different atmosphere and I enjoy doing it all, the turkey and all the trimmings – everything.
"I put Christmas carols on the radio, have a slug of sherry and set to work. The joy of Christmas cooking is that the house smells delicious with never-ending wafts of cinnamon, clove and ginger, mingling with roasting meat, red wine and oranges.
"The one thing I won't be making however is a cake. I will be taking a week off from that!"
For the past few months Kate has been baking cakes non-stop. As well as her popular range of festive cupcakes, this year for the first time she has also been making Christmas cakes.
"They are proper fruit cakes and are very boozy," she said. "I came to the conclusion that a good Christmas cake should have a lot of different alcohol in it. So mine have a mix of port, sherry, brandy and rum.
"I do two varieties, one that is iced in gold and white and another that has bright colourful baubles on it. And every one is hand-made.
"They are very popular, especially as presents as they come in really nice gift boxes."
Kate enjoys Christmas so much that she has written a book full of help and advice on how to cook up a good one – and enjoy it. Christmas Magic is her fifth one and she says it is her favourite.
"It is the first time they have let me loose on savouries," she laughed. "There is only one recipe for cupcakes.
"It is all about the other treats we enjoy at Christmas. The nibbles, the turkey, stuffing, sauces and vegetables. There's also a nut roast recipe and plenty of ideas for festive deserts.
"Christmas food should be special and I like the feasting to be spread over quite a few days – not just all be concentrated on one day. The book gives ideas for this."
Although Kate likes there to be plenty of good food, her top tip for Christmas cooking is not to drive yourself mad. If you want to make everything, and enjoy making everything, then go ahead," she says. "But no one will think any less of you if you buy your marzipan, pastry or cranberry sauce.
"You don't want to get yourself into a state of stress.
"You want to enjoy Christmas."
Christmas Magic by Kate Shirazi, published by Pavilion, with photography by Emma Solley costs £7.99, and is available now.
For more details on Cakeadoodledo call 0844 879 7811 or visit www.cakeadoodledo.co.uk