It is a very sensible idea to combine travel and cake. What’s the point of going on a mini break or a day trip if food isn’t factored into the equation? So do you pick the place because of the food, or pick the place, then the food?
Well here’s nine of the very best venues to eat cake in the UK, perhaps it will give you a little holiday inspiration at the same time.
1. Forge Bakehouse Sheffield
In the last few years, Forge Bakehouse has developed a reputation as one of Sheffield’s finest bakeries with fresh, wholesome bread and delicious sweet treats. Cake-wise, you can expect to find rhubarb Danish pastries, custard tarts, raspberry morning buns, chai Brulee tarts, macarons and pistachio and rose doughnuts. Are you drooling yet?
2. Bettys Cafe Tea Rooms, York and Harrogate, Northallerton and Ilkley
Betty’s is an institution, opening nearly 100 years ago in 1919. People will travel across the country to experience an exquisite Betty’s afternoon tea in beautiful art deco surroundings. There are six Bettys Café Tea Rooms to explore in Harrogate, York, Northallerton and Ilkley, where you can enjoy handmade bread, cakes and chocolates from their own Craft Bakery, the finest teas and coffees and delicious freshly prepared Swiss-Yorkshire savoury specialities.
3. Wolfhouse Kitchen Altrincham Market, Manchester
This wonderful bakery originated in Silverdale, Lancashire where it’s still going strong. The Manchester branch opened two years ago in the very trendy New York-esque Altrincham indoor market, they serve an amazing array of cinnamon buns, doughnuts, citron tarts and many other cakes that will make your eyes pop.
4. Baltic Bakehouse Liverpool
Listed as one of the 20 Best Bakeries in the UK in 2016 by the Telegraph, this new food outlet excels in artisanal baking. Along with classics like almond Bakewell and custard tart, they do more quirky offerings including peanut-butter and brittle doughnuts, lemon curd doughnuts and crack pie - a kind of gooey, toffee custard filling on a crunchy biscuit base with a hint of vanilla sea salt.
5. Miss Vs Vintage High Teas
Utterly Cornish and extremely addictive - Miss V’s Vintage High Teas serve the lightest fluffiest cream tea scones as well as homemade cakes. Miss V’s tea hut is based above the glorious St Just in Roseland Church, which John Betjeman declared the most beautiful setting in England.
6. Ottolenghi, Islington
Ottolenghi in Islington is delightfully minimalist and stylish, with lovely long communal tables, although if you like your privacy there are a handful of tables for two. Platters of salads and vibrant cakes greet you on arrival. Some of the incredible sweet treats on offer include plum crumble muffins, baked chocolate and walnut tart, blackcurrant friands and white chocolate cheesecake tart with raspberry compote.
7. Chesters By The River, Ambleside
Chesters is found at Skelwith Bridge, at the edge of Langdale valley, right in the middle of The Lakes. Surrounded by fells and a short walk from a waterfall, the landscape alone is well worth a visit. The cafe serves lunch, drinks and legendary home-made cakes. The cakes will knock your socks off - think old fashioned and chunky staples like a ginger loaf, double lemon cake, tiffin and carrot cake.
8. Cuckoos Bakery, Edinburgh
Cuckoos is an award winning bakery and cupcakery just north of the New Town. Red velvet, strawberries and cream, black bottom, sticky toffee pudding are some of the favourite cupcakes on the menu. Cuckoo's also prides itself in its ethics: ingredients are locally sourced, unsold cakes are donated to homeless charities and all packaging materials are recycled. Bravo Cuckoo!
9. Outsider Tart, Chiswick
A couple of professional guys moved from New York to live and work in London - but struggled to find good, wholesome cupcakes, sweet pies and fresh tarts. Outsiders as they both are, they committed to rectifying the situation by turning a favourite hobby into an award-winning business. Expect to find the very best whoopie pies, American cookies and fabulous brownies.
Written by Mike Pye
Photos courtesy of Katya Willems