A spotlight on: Total MK meets Milton Keynes Museum's baking Queen

History comes alive at Milton Keynes Museum. The history hub is hands-on and enchanting.

But that's not all - visitor tastebuds come alive too, thanks to Diane Roder, who is the in-house baking Queen!

Diane - who trained as a cooking teacher - moved to Milton Keynes in late 1975 with her husband, who was working for the Development Corporation.

On a visit to the museum, she met a lady making corn dollies to sell and raise funds for the centre, and decided to help too.
Corn dolly numbers increased, and the museum gained one of its biggest supporters.
"I was very involved with various things for years and then when the museum reopened in 1998 after a fire, the cafe was run by someone else for the first season.

"After that first season they didn't want to carry on and (museum director) Bill asked if I wanted to do it. I'd never run a cafe before, but said I would give it a go!"

Seventeen years, and thousands of cakes, tray bakes and tasty treats later, and Diane's cakes renowned far and wide.

People locally pop into the cafe for a cheeky slice of cake, while visitors who take time to leave glowing comments about the museum on the Trip Advisor page, often wax lyrical about the cakes and bakes.

With so much baking to do, Diane is often found working her magic in the kitchen from 5am in the morning!

"I bake every morning, and come to the museum every day," she says, breezily explaining her seven-day-a-week voluntary position.

"Scones and bread pudding always go well. The chocolate cake is a favourite with children, and the coffee and walnut cake is always a hit with adults."

Some months, Diane makes more than 100 cakes for hungry visitors!

Mary Berry has nothing on MK's famous cake baker. And yet, she seldom munches her own work.

"I don't find food particularly interesting," she says.

And when she does choose to take a little time off, she spends it visiting National Trust properties. naturally.


"I watch a bit of telly too," she reveals, "...but I never watch cooking programmes, ever!"

Ask Diane why she thinks the museum is so-loved by everyone who crosses its threshold, and there is no hesitation: "People like it because it is hands-on fun - things aren't stuck behind glass cases, and they like the quirkiness and feel of it.

"All the volunteers are here because they want to be, and their enthusiasm shows too."

And as she approaches her 75th birthday, this baking goddess has no plans to put down the self-raising flour and turn the oven off.

Which will thrill her fans.

"So long as I am able to keep going, I will," she promises, as bellies far and wide rumble their approval!