ASH & SJ's FESTIVE CAKE BLOG
It was a cold and windswept day when we rolled up in central London, wearing so many layers we looked slightly like Verucca Salt from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, post chewing gum. I had been working at Spitafields Market since 7.30am doing a promotions job (highly glam jobbing actor's job...if you ignore the freezing weather conditions) and had noticed a Hummingbird Bakery tucked away around the corner. Now, you may remember Reader, that the last time we went to a Hummingbird, the cake did rather well. In fact, it got 10/10, the highest we had ever scored a cake. The only reason it lost out overall was that the staff could have done with being a bit more attentive. So we were full of excitement to try the festive range. Unfortunately, the most exciting options were not available that day. We'd been hoping for their egg-nog cupcake, or maybe a go at the mint candycane one as we hadn't seen anything remotely similar anywhere else, but because the festive menu gets rotated on a daily basis, the only option available to us was the chocolate orange flavour. At first we were a little glum about this, it seemed a bit boring, I mean, yes, we got the Christmassy theme being that everyone always gets a Terry's chocolate orange in their stocking, but would it really knock our socks off? The server assured us that it was really good, and she did seem to know what she was talking about (although once again we weren't altogether delighted with the service, she only gave us one fork despite us asking for two, then gave us a wooden one when we asked for another, wasn't very smiley or conversational and took ages just to get a cupcake to us). As usual, the shop was clean, well presented and stylish, but they seriously lost out on Christmas points! SJ and I are very much into our big, cheesy Christmas decorations. All there was at hummingbird was a couple of stickers on the window. I mean, really. The other slight issue was that there was only one table inside, and it was reserved. In a cupcake shop. On one of the coldest days of the year. Yes. Really. So we had to sit outside with our cake! How cruel.
But reader, please do not think that the experience was all bad. The cake....oh lordy....the cake was amazing. It was richer than their usual chocolate cake, so moist I didn't really need my drink and the orange flavour tasted like genuine orange rather than fake flavouring. The buttercream was perfect in both taste and texture and we agreed that if it wasn't for the fact that we were about to embark on a whole load of cupcakes, we would have gotten another one each!
PRICE: 3.95 (Yes, blooming expensive, but seriously worth it)
Taste: 10/10 (again!)
Oh dear Hummingbird! The best cakes, as ever, but your service (and Christmas cheer) needs some looking at!
COX, COOKIES & CAKES
Now, Cox, Cookies & Cakes is a company who knows how to do Christmas. We walked in to fairy lights everywhere, festive statues and Christmas tunes blaring. The staff were initially a little standoffish (although the guy was attempting to do some form of mini photoshoot at the time with a cake) but warmed up throughout our visit, chatting away and giving us advice on cake and were gorgeous as ever (Oh Patrick Cox, you know how to make us ladies happy). Once again, we were given free hot coco (this time with whipped cream!) with our cake and there were chairs available (thank goodness!). We opted for the orange and cranberry star cake. The cake had a lovely sugar star on top which was a nice touch, some juicy fruit that tasted as if it had been soaked prior to baking and you get a lot of cake for your money. The icing was also particularly good, and the ratio of icing to sponge was excellent. Unfortunately, the sponge was a little dry and not very orangey, it could almost have done with a splash of juice in there! The icing did make up for it though, and there was certainly none left on our plates by the end!
Bravo Cox, Cookies and Cakes. We like you a lot.
As we were walking back from Cox, we chanced upon a little cake shop called Sweet Couture, whose window was full of gorgeously presented cakes and a triple tiered red velvet cake that made us dash in (even though we both really needed a wee and there was no loo). They had a cake called Winter Spice which caught our eye at once with it's silver balls and bright orange icing. The woman who served us was lovely, very chatty, very friendly, just what we look for in a staff person! And she gave us both forks and a knife. Fabulous. The shop was also very christmassy, with the window adorned with a massive ribbon, it looked as if it had been giftwrapped! Unfortunately, the shop was let down by the cake. The sponge was quite dry, and so spicy it actually burnt going down. Too much nutmeg had been used, although it was a valiant effort and we did love the silver balls. The icing wasn't half bad, but we would almost have preferred a vanilla sponge to offset the spice!
Nice try Sweet Couture, maybe we'll give you a go again in the future!
Reader, you may remember that last time we tried Primrose Bakery, we loved it. The cakes were delicious, the staff were a delight and the shop was perfect. So we had some pretty high expectations. We were a little disappointed by the fact that they only had two Christmas options, Christmas Pudding or bog standard Vanilla (although granted, the decorations on the vanilla ones were gorgeous).
We went for Christmas Pudding because it sounded like it might be interesting. And it was. Sort of. In not the best way we've ever come across. The thing is, Primrose bakery is LOVELY. Walking in is like taking a breath of fresh air. It was quiet, there were chairs and the staff were nice. But there were no Christmas decorations. Which was a shame, because the cake was then a bit like being assaulted by Santa. They used brandy butter for icing, which as a concept is nice, but it was overpowering in the extreme.The cinnamon in the sponge was like smoking a stick of the stuff and we ended up leaving much of it on the plate. Such disappointment!
Look how sad you made SJ....for shame.
Reader, we should have known better. We've done Candy Cakes before and it was rubbish. But we were cold and running out of ideas that were nearby. So we thought it would only be fair to give them another chance. They only had one option, blueberry with a marshmallow reindeer on top (which is great, unless you're a veggie like me). The staff were distracted and kept chatting instead of paying attention to us as customers (in fact, they were so distracted that they later missed seeing a french kid smoking inside and then stealing a load of their sweets. They had a minimum payment limit for cards (YOU'RE IN CENTRAL LONDON! IN A BIT THAT HAS NO CASHPOINTS!!!) The cake was a bit blah, as expected. It was more of a muffin with icing than a cupcake, and to be honest, they needed to take a page out of the american cake makers book, they did not do baking with blueberries well. The problem is, Candy Cakes always looks really nice from a distance, and then you try it and it's a bit poo. It's like someone really passionate about cake started it, then let a crap management company cake over and ruin it. At least they had a Christmas tree.
The lower edge of moderate. You made us look like grumpy yetis.
Keep tuned for our New Years blog entry folks!
Ash & SJ