Salami and Co

Dogs and cake. I mean what could be better? I always pictured the perfect cake-eating scenario as a fat slab of cake sitting alongside a fancy-pants latte with a cute little design sitting perfectly in the froth. But this dog friendly coffee house has made cake dates with your dog socially acceptable and taken the perfect cake-eating scenario to a whole new level.

Salami and Co Coffee House

Salami and Co nestled in alongside the hustle and bustle of Otley’s market square in 2016. Their minimalistic but somehow homely interior immediately puts you at ease as you walk through the door.  I have visited Salami and Co on a number of occasions (sometimes as dog walker but more often than not, dog stalker) and tried a number of things from their absolutely divine brunch menu.

I know my posts often focus in on the cake but I have to mention their beautiful brunch options. They have a small but perfectly crafted menu of dishes and they are always so pretty, you almost don’t want to eat them. Thankfully, they are just as tasty as they look and this is why Salami and Co is definitely one of my favourite brunch spots. All their ingredients are locally sourced and are lovingly put together to make something really special. I opted for this smoked salmon dish and the charcoal and citrus flavours that sit beside it really made it unique. And just look how pretty it is!

Smoked Salmon and Poached Egg Brunch

And the cakes were just as delicious. My boyfriend and I were planning on sharing a cake but just couldn’t decide between these two beauties so of course, ordered both. My favourite was this chocolate and vanilla layer cake, smothered in pistachio buttercream and sandwiched together with a generous layer of jam. Yum yum yum.

Chocolate and Vanilla Layer Cake

For such a large layer cake, I was almost expecting it to be a little dry but this cake was everything a cake should be and much much more. It was moist and packed full of flavour and even though it was a hugeeee slice, I polished off every little crumb because it was just so moreish.

Lemon and Rose Cake

The lemon and rose cake was equally tasty but the stand out cake for me was the chocolate number just because chocolate for me will always trump everything else.

All the food at Salami and Co is put together with so much love and attention and it really shows when you are served such deliciousness every single time. The coffee house itself has such a lovely welcoming feel and what could be better than sharing your experience with some seriously cute canines!

Salami and Co Otley

If you have a pup, you definitely need to treat them to a visit as they are treated like the ultimate VIPs and there’s a whole menu created just for your little furry friends.

Next time you are in the area make sure you pop in here and experience Salami and Co for yourself. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

Advertisements

Sift: Cafe & Bakery

We’ve had an unlucky couple of months in Yorkshire in terms of weather, haven’t we? The Beast from the East has rather rudely outstayed it’s welcome and trapped us in our ridiculously thick winter coats instead of peeling back those layers ready for Spring.

But there is a silver lining to all this bad weather. It means my cake ventures become a necessity rather than a luxury… surely there’s some health benefits to keeping warm with a coffee? The cake I can’t justify, it just feels right. And I’m all about the feels.

Sift Cake Counter

Sift: Cafe and Bakery landed slap bang in the middle of Otley late last year and since then, it has definitely made its mark on the quaint little market town. My boyfriend and I attempted our first trip last month but unfortunately we couldn’t find a spot as it was just so busy (always a great sign).

Second time lucky, we made it in last weekend and we settled in for an alternative Saturday brunch…coffee and cake. I don’t care what you say, coffee and cake is right any time of the day.

What I loved about Sift was the perfect simplicity both in interior and in cake. Minimal menus, minimal cake selections and minimalistic surroundings help to really focus on what’s important – long overdue catch ups with friends, coffee dates with that special someone or family outings with the little ones in tow.

Sift Cafe Otley

After ordering a latte and cinnamon bun, I had the perfect chance to watch other folk come and go and enjoy the super relaxed vibes that sift has lovingly created. At one point, a lovely lady popped in just to give a gorgeous bunch of flowers to the owner and seconds after she had left, they had already been put in a vase pride of place on the counter. Little things like that really make it place you could visit over and over again, knowing you will get a warm welcome as you devour your favourite cake.

Latte and Cinnamon Bun

I was so impressed by the cakes and coffee that I decided to order some cupcakes for my sisters upcoming 30th birthday celebrations. Now I know what you’re thinking, you’re the cupcaker why aren’t you baking them yourself?!

Sometimes folks, you’ve got to hand over the reins to the experts and Sift definitely know how to nail a super tasty cupcake. I ordered a delectable dozen cupcakes, ready to collect for a surprise weekend away in the Lake District.

Sift Bakery

Have you ever been to the Lakes? It’s the perfect place for escapism and luckily it’s only a couple of hours from home. Love it or hate it, social media can often take over your life and sometimes, it prevents you from really enjoying the ‘big’ moments in life.

Don’t get me wrong, I do love social media and it’s a big part of my cupcaker life and work but sometimes having a break can do you the world of good. The Lake District is the perfect place to switch off and explore beautiful surroundings with the people that matter the most (it’s also a place with virtually no phone signal so social media escapism is pretty much a must).

The Easter weekend was full of surprises and celebrations with my closest family and friends and Sift’s gorgeous cupcakes took centre stage. Two of my friends are vegan so I asked for 6 vegan friendly cupcakes and Sift certainly delivered. The cupcakes ranged from carrot cake cupcakes (my sister’s favourite) to Easter inspired chocolate and vanilla buttercream cupcakes – which were so so delicious. And the vegan selection were just as tasty with a colourful collection of fruity little numbers including lemon and poppy seed cupcakes and a couple of raspberry and rose cupcakes thrown in there too.

Processed with VSCO with p5 preset

The variety of flavours that we got were something I didn’t expect from ordering a dozen cupcakes and each cupcake was lovingly baked, individually designed and perfectly unique. All of Sift’s cupcakes were devoured that evening and each one was equally delicious. If you are ever searching for that extra special touch for a celebration, these home-baked cupcakes really do make the ideal finishing touch.

Processed with VSCO with p5 preset

I couldn’t have asked for a more idyllic Easter escape and we stayed in the most charming country cottage that added to the whole experience. The cottage was all my future house goals rolled into one and I spent the weekend daydreaming about one day owning a place like this myself.

Charcoal cottage really felt like home and was the perfect place to create some lifelong memories (my sister getting engaged in the lounge was a real highlight) and it was the ideal base for exploring all the pretty places the Lakes has to offer.

Processed with VSCO with p5 preset

We were also really lucky with the weather and the promise of spring finally seemed to come true with sunshine peeking through most days! Although we did have snow on the way home (yes snow…in April!)

Hopefully now we can look forward to some proper Springtime weather and we can finally start to peel back those layers… fingers crossed!

P.s. Huge congratulations to my lovely sister and her fiancé on their engagement.

Processed with VSCO with p5 preset

Mint Brasserie and Tea Room

Hello! Remember me?

I have been unforgivably sloppy on the blogging front and for that I can only apologise. To make up for it, I am armed with excuses but more importantly, new recipes and cake havens for you lovely lot to indulge in.

Firstly, I wanted to kick off 2018 with a bit more productivity in all areas of my life. That’s why I have been busying myself with bits and bobs over the last month or so.

Including a last minute getaway which I’ll get on to in a moment.

Guernsey Coast

First things first though, cue way overdue New Year’s resolutions that no one really cares about…

Promise I will keep it short and sweet.

I have joined a gym (!) I know can you believe it?! Well it wasn’t intentional but baking cakes and eating cakes doesn’t really promote a healthy lifestyle. (Who’d of thought it ey) so to restore the balance a little, I thought I should make a more conscious effort to keep fit.

I have also started reading again too. I used to be an absolute book nerd pre-university. However, if there is one thing that is going to make you scared of picking up a book again, it’s reading approx. 3 million books a week on an English Literature course. So after a short hiatus, I finally conquered the fear and I’m back to being a geeky little bookworm.

And last but certainly not least, my final resolution was to be a bit more organised with my blog and make sure I am keeping up with regular posting. Although outwardly it may seem I have failed miserably if January is anything to go by, I have actually been busy upping my Instagram game and preparing some fresh new content to share with you all.

Starting with the little mini break I took last week.

After some gin-filled birthday celebrations, my boyfriend and I decided to head off for a few days to visit some family over in Guernsey.

Guernsey is a beautiful little island just off the French coast, often overlooked in favour of its larger sister island, Jersey. But with so much history and coastal charm, I can definitely see why the rich and famous choose to set up camp here.

Most of our time was spent walking on the beach, chilling out and catching up – which was just what we needed. And after another long but beautiful coastal walk, I couldn’t be happier to sit down in a quaint little tea room and tuck into some cake (after all, we had earned it). Introducing the charming Mint Brasserie and Tea Room.

Mint Tearoom Guernsey

First of all, let me tell you the best thing about having someone to eat cake with. If you are as indecisive as me when it comes to choosing a slice, you can order two pieces with no judgement and share them both, therefore lessening the risk of making the wrong choice.

In this case, we had a double whammy of cake heaven. I am a big fan of the Victoria Sponge Cake, they say you should never mess with a classic and this is a prime example. Mint delivered the lightest Victoria sponge I have ever tasted, it literally melted in your mouth. The sponge was perfectly balanced with a generous helping of whipped cream and finished off perfectly with the sweetest squidge of strawberry jam. It may be simple but my oh my, that combination is all kinds of satisfying.

 

Can I go anywhere without having something involving chocolate? The answer is no, I cannot. So my follow up cake was a chocolate peanut butter cake (your mouth is watering isn’t it) well mine certainly did when I spotted it in the counter. This chocolate cake was sandwiched together with thick and crunchy peanut buttercream, finished off with a sticky chocolate ganache. It was so indulgent and each bite was made even better with the chance of getting a random nugget of chocolatey nuttiness nestled between the crumbs.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake

What I loved about this place was that it didn’t try to be something it is not – no instagrammable fanciness just for the sake of it, just good old fashioned cake, baked to perfection. They even have all the old school recipe books on the table for you to look through as you sit with your coffee (naturally, I banked a few of these bad boy recipes to inspire some future bakes of my own).

Traditional Cake Recipes

Thank you for a traditional tea room experience Mint, Guernsey is lucky to have you. I quickly found out there isn’t much in the way of good coffee and cake hangouts on this island so I was so happy to discover this hidden gem. If anyone has any suggestions on where I should visit next please comment below and give me another excuse to eat cake (not that I need it).

In the meantime, check out my latest cupcake recipes and let me know if you give any a go, I would love to see how you get on!

Bloomfield Square

Otley is fast becoming one of my favourite places to stop off and enjoy a coffee (and of course, a piece of cake). A quaint little market town, the stylish eateries and coffee pit stops are often overlooked in favour of its old school pubs and traditional chippies.

But there has been a noticeable shift in the last couple of years.

Otley is putting itself on the coffee shaped map and taking inspiration from the more cosmopolitan cities that surround the town.

Introducing… Bloomfield Square

With a name like that, you might expect this café to be nestled in a sophisticated corner of Covent Garden. However this quirky coffee shop is situated in the heart of Otley, giving Yorkshire folk somewhere a little different to escape to.

Bloomfield Square Otley

Mixing traditional and vintage with a cool country vibe, you feel right at home as soon as you walk through the door. Downstairs has a cosy feel with lots of intimate table set-ups and a roaring fire (just perfect for winter).

Venture upstairs though, and you’re treated to rustic wooden beams, whitewashed brickwork and a mix of comfy cushion-filled corners to park your bum.

Bloomfield Square

 

Whilst ordering our drinks, we became majorly distracted by the counter filled with mouth watering brownies and opted for a honeycomb brownie and a cheeky white chocolate and raspberry number.

We retreated back to our cosy corner upstairs, waiting for our sweet treats to arrive, all the while ‘gramming the s*** out of this beautiful little hideaway.

But let’s get down to the exciting stuff… the brownies.

The honeycomb brownie was delicious.  Dense (but in all the right ways) chocolatey, sticky and really indulgent, finished off perfectly with a honeycomb crunch topping. If I had to say anything it would have been to incorporate more honeycomb within the brownie itself but that’s only if I’m being very picky. It has inspired me to try out a honeycomb brownie recipe myself as I haven’t yet combined those two things and as I am in love with both, it seems a no-brainer really.

Bloomfield Square Brownies

The white chocolate and raspberry brownie is not a typical brownie flavour that I opt for as I often find the taste to be quite bitter. However, this particular brownie caught my eye and I just couldn’t resist. Again, the brownie had a lovely fudgey consistency, with just a hint of raspberry running through it – enough to taste it but not too overpowering. Just lovely.

If you want somewhere to put your feet up after a long walk on the chevin, or just a quiet escape from a busy day – Bloomfield Square offers a nostalgic retreat that has echoes of those Sunday visits to your grandparents when you were a child, cosy and comforting all at the same time. I promise you’ll definitely leave this place with a smile on your face.

Crumbs and Doilies

I have fangirled over Crumbs and Doilies for well over a year now and when I’m not drooling over their Instagram account, I’m watching Cupcake Jemma’s YouTube channel, falling in love with all the delicious cupcakes that are being created in front of my eyes.

So on a recent trip to London, it was the first on my list of places to go and visit. Situated in the super cool and super vibey district of Soho, Crumbs and Doilies is nestled inside Kingly Court on a quaint cobbled street.

As I stepped inside the shop I was confronted with cupcake overload. The most beautiful counter of cupcakes with every flavour, size and topping you could dream of. And of course I was first in the queue, don’t you just hate that – you start panicking about what to order and choose something without proper contemplation, the mounting pressure forcing you to opt for the safe option.

Crumbs and Doilies Soho

Well the safe option for me is chocolate, always chocolate. So I chose the Ferrero Rocher cupcake, mainly because I had made some the week before and I wanted to experience how the professionals do it.

I also had the added pressure of choosing one for my sister who was waiting outside and asked me to “choose something that looked good” bloody difficult when I was faced with the cupcake counter of dreams. After making another impulse decision and going for a classic Custard Cream number, I ordered a couple of takeaway coffees and joined her on the bench outside.

The shop itself does have a few spots to perch and devour your cake but at that point it was pretty busy. Although it was October, it felt like summer down in London when the sun was shining so we grabbed a seat outside ready to stuff our faces and people watch.

I had really high expectations for this cupcake after it had been shown off a number of times on their Instagram account. And my oh my, it didn’t disappoint. I’m not just saying this, it was literally the best cupcake I have ever eaten.

The chocolate, nutty infused cake was so moist (sorry like most people, I hate that word too but its the only way to describe it accurately) and full of flavour. The buttercream was the lightest, most fluffiest buttercream I have ever tasted and it had a really subtle nutty flavour to it too – kind of like eating a Ferrero Rocher but without the crunch. And then the crunch of the chocolate ganache and sprinkling of chopped hazelnuts was the perfect balance to all that creaminess. All in all, it was perfection.

Crumbs and Doilies 5

And it was only when I got home and had a proper look at my pictures that I spotted the Ferrero Rocher cupcakes were actually gluten free. I have tried my fair share of gluten free cakes (one of my dearest friends is a coeliac so I join her whenever we eat cake or when she’s lucky enough to experience a gluten free badboy of my own) and I can honestly they never taste quite the same – they always seem a little dry. However, I would never have realised the cupcake I ordered was gluten free it was so damn tasty, it actually ramped up my love for it a little bit more.

Crumbs and Doilies, I’m still fangirling over your creations and I can’t wait to go back down and try more.

Peggy Porschen Cakes

Vanity Fair claims they are the “best cupcakes in the world” so naturally, I had to pay a visit to Peggy Porschen Cakes on a recent trip down to London.

Located in the upmarket district of Belgravia, Ebury street is lined with elegantly whitewashed townhouses and luxury hotels. And sat unashamedly in the midst of all this surrounding wealth was an inviting pink pop of colour with the most beautiful floral centrepiece framing its doorway.

As we moved in closer, we noticed a swarm of people circulating outside and we were quickly told we would be put on a waiting list and should expect to be seated in around 40 mins. Wow, this place must be good.

Peggy Porschen7

Although it was a long time to wait for a coffee and cake, it gave me chance to take some fancy shots of the building and stalk what everyone was ordering outside.

I was also catching up with a good friend of mine who abandoned Yorkshire in favour of the big city life and I was reliably informed that in London, you should expect to wait an hour for almost anything you want to do. So, with a 40-minute wait, we had got it pretty good.

Peggy Porschen London

It was a surprisingly warm autumnal day so we were happy to be seated outside and after reading the menu cover to cover, I decided on a chocolate heaven cupcake.
Peggy Porschen certainly knows how to make Instagram-worthy cakes that match up to its super pretty exterior and my chocolate heaven cupcake was almost too pretty to eat. Almost.

They had got the buttercream to cake ratio just right and they opted for a simple but elegant topping to make it all about the flavour in the cake. The chocolate cake was really light, fluffy and incredibly moreish however, if I had to say one thing it would be that I’ve had better buttercreams. This chocolate buttercream seemed a little bland and personally, I didn’t think it did the cake justice.

Peggy Porschen3

For me, the cupcake I had ordered didn’t quite live up to Vanity Fair’s bold statement but the Instagram pics I took certainly made up for it. If you want a “cakexperience”, this is definitely one to tick off the list.

Hessian

You know those places that make you feel a little bit cooler as soon as you step inside? Well Hessian is definitely one of those places. I first visited this hidden gem after a mammoth walk around Roundhay Park. Situated on a busy parade in Oakwood, the bold blue statement cafe certainly knows how to catch your eye.

I initially visited for lunch on a busy Saturday afternoon (and by the way – all of the food is insane and presented so beautifully you have to take a snap of it before you take a bite), and enjoyed it so much I decided to return a few weeks later for coffee and cake.

This time I visited on a sleepy Sunday afternoon after the rush of people had been and gone and was able to take a seat wherever I fancied.

Hessian Cafe Oakwood

So I opted to take a seat under this attractive young stag, right by all the chefs working their magic. Hessian makes no apologies for it’s big bold colours, eclectic mix of prints and wall art to give you a retro but relaxed vibe to wine and dine in.

….But back to the coffee and cake. As we waltzed over to our seat we noticed the drool-inducing cakes up on the counter and it was there I spotted the little number I was going to polish off before I had even taken my first sip of coffee. The cinnamon bun.

Hessian Cafe Oakwood

Drizzled in icing and topped with a sprinkling of walnuts, the cinnamon bun was indulgently dense, sticky, cinnamon-y and full of all the spices that remind you of Christmas. It was the perfect size for a coffee date (who am I kidding – I could have had two) but for once, it didn’t leave me with cake envy. My boyfriend ordered the classic chocolate brownie, which was equally yummy but when you’ve got cinnamon on the mind, it’s only the cinnamon bun that’s going to satisfy that craving. And Hessian’s delicious offering certainly did just that.

Hessian may be small, but it is perfectly formed. With super friendly staff and cakes that have already got me planning my next visit, I definitely recommend trying this place for yourself.