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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.