2017 Awards – Best Cake

A bike, hanging on the wall of the Espresso Library in Cambridge.Welcome to the final 2017 Coffee Spot Awards shortlist of the day, the “Best Cake” Award, won in 2016 by The Espresso Library. Despite what it says on the tag line, the Coffee Spot’s not all about the coffee. After all, what would a cup of coffee be without a decent slice of cake to go with it? So, cake plays a major part in the Coffee Spot and this Award celebrates the Coffee Spots which excel in the cake department.

This is another of my favourite Awards and while I didn’t visit that many dedicated cake spots, I was nonetheless treated to some absolutely fantastic cake along the way, proving that, like good coffee, the more you look, the more good cake you find.

You can see the shortlist after the gallery.

  • Flat Caps, Campus North, the second of the new Flat Caps, served up this beauty.
  • Cafe Integral, Chicago, great coffee and an awesome apple turnover as well.
  • Silhouette Cheapside, with a Malaysian-inspired sweet pancake.
  • George Howell in the Godfrey Hotel, where I had a hazelnut-crunch baked doughnut.
  • Four Barrel Coffee, Valencia, which served me an awesome Kovignamann.
  • 5th Element Coffee, who made my day with a gorgeous morning bun, served warm.
  • Saint Frank Coffee, continuing a strong showing from the US with a cornmeal galette.
  • The Coffee Academics, Wan Chai, where I had deep-fried churros.
  • Seesaw 433, where I had a slice of the most excellent Grandmother's Cake.
  • Canopy Coffee, where I've been steadily working my way through the entire cake menu...
  • North Star Coffee Shop with cakes by Noisette. I had the awesome apple and oat crumble.
  • Crosstown Doughnuts, Victoria. Doughnuts. Need I say more?
  • Cafe Corridor in Hong Kong, where I had an amazing apple crumble tart.
  • The Moon & Sixpence, home to a wonderful vegan spicy marmalade and orange cake.
  • Coffee Lab, Salisbury, where the barista made me have a warm cinnamon bun.
Flat Caps, Campus North, the second of the new Flat Caps, served up this beauty.1 Cafe Integral, Chicago, great coffee and an awesome apple turnover as well. 2 Silhouette Cheapside, with a Malaysian-inspired sweet pancake.3 George Howell in the Godfrey Hotel, where I had a hazelnut-crunch baked doughnut.4 Four Barrel Coffee, Valencia, which served me an awesome Kovignamann.5 5th Element Coffee, who made my day with a gorgeous morning bun, served warm.6 Saint Frank Coffee, continuing a strong showing from the US with a cornmeal galette.7 The Coffee Academics, Wan Chai, where I had deep-fried churros.8 Seesaw 433, where I had a slice of the most excellent Grandmother's Cake.9 Canopy Coffee, where I've been steadily working my way through the entire cake menu...10 North Star Coffee Shop with cakes by Noisette. I had the awesome apple and oat crumble.

11 Crosstown Doughnuts, Victoria. Doughnuts. Need I say more?12 Cafe Corridor in Hong Kong, where I had an amazing apple crumble tart.13 The Moon & Sixpence, home to a wonderful vegan spicy marmalade and orange cake.14 Coffee Lab, Salisbury, where the barista made me have a warm cinnamon bun.15
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There are 15 Coffee Spots on the shortlist this year, all listed in order of publication.

The Flat Caps Coffee logo, taken from a bag of coffee roasted to mark Flat Caps' successful Kickstarter.Flat Caps Campus North

The second of the new Flat Caps coffee shops in NewcastleFlat Caps Campus North acts as the in-house cafe to the Campus North co-working space. As well as some excellent coffee, I also had an awesome lemon blondie which was a cross between a lemon meringue and a brownie: light, fluffy and very, very lemony. Flat Caps Campus North is also shortlisted for this year’s Coffee Spot with the Best Basement Award.

A cup of the Casablanca single-origin Nicaraguan by Cafe Integral, made with the Modbar pour-over module using a Chemex.Café Integral, Chicago

I have a real soft spot for Chicago’s Café Integral, in the lobby of the Freehand Hotel. As well as roasting and serving some excellent Nicaraguan coffee (which won Cafe Integral a spot on the Best Filter Coffee shortlist), there’s some excellent cake, specifically an excellent apple turnover, with light pastry and a moist, sweet filling. Café Integral has also been shortlisted for this year’s Most Passionate About Coffee Award.

From the sign outside Silhouette on Cheapside.Silhouette Cheapside

Sadly Silhouette Cheapside is no more, but while it was, it carried on the excellent of the original Silhouette from Hackney. This is particularly true when it comes to the cake, with Malaysian-inspired goodness such as the excellent pancake-type arrangement with a sweet filling that I had. If I’d any notes, I might have been able to tell you what it was! Silhouette has also been shortlisted for this year’s Happiest Staff Award.

Detail from the wall of the George Howell Coffee Shop in the Godfrey Hotel in BostonGeorge Howell, Godfrey Hotel

Another coffee shop in a hotel, this time in Boston, George Howell in the Godfrey Hotel served me a fantastic hazelnut-crunch baked doughnut from Union Square Donuts, the hazelnut lifting it above an ordinary doughnut. George Howell has also been shortlisted for the Happiest Staff Award.

My decaf cappuccino in a beautiful, handleless cup at Four Barrel Coffee, San Francisco.Four Barrel Coffee, Valencia

As well as roasting and serving some excellent coffee, Four Barrel Coffee also has some awesome and unpronounceable cakes, such as the  Kovignamann I had. A rich pastry made of dense croissant dough, enriched with butter, it was very, very tasty. Four Barrel is also shortlisted for the Best Filter Coffee & Best Roaster/Retailer Awards.

An espresso, plus a glass of sparkling water, beautifully presented at 5th Element Coffee in Madison.5th Element Coffee

Not content with roasting and serving excellent El Salvador coffee (which got 5th Element Coffee on the shortlists for both the Best Filter Coffee and Best Espresso Awards), there was also some excellent cake. I had a morning bun, served warm with a gorgeous, rich pastry and a cinnamon sugar topping, that was neither sickly nor overly sweet.

A beautiful espresso with milk, part of a split shot of a single-origin Guatemalan coffee in Saint Frank Coffee, San Francisco.Saint Frank Coffee

Our fourth American candidate in a row, Saint Frank Coffee served me an outstanding cornmeal galette, with an apple and date filling, the perfect combination of sweet and savoury. The rich, cornmeal pastry had a sweet layer of dates (a bit like jam), topped with chunks of apple. St Frank has also been shortlisted for this year’s Best Espresso and Happiest Staff Awards.

One of the many interesting statements on the seats of the stools at the communal tables at the Wan Chai branch of The Coffee Academics in Hong Kong.The Coffee Academics, Wan Chai

The Coffee Academics in Hong Kong excels at everything it does: coffee (winning a spot on the Best Filter Coffee shortlist), food and, of course, cake. I had deep-fried churros, coated in cinnamon sugar with a scoop of ice cream & a small amount of chocolate fudge sauce, the ice cream providing an interesting contrast in both temperature and texture from the warm, crispy churros.

The Seesaw logo.Seesaw 433

It seems that whenever I’m in China, I eat cheesecake although Shanghai’s Seesaw 433 was the exception that proved the rule. I had a slice of Grandmother’s Cake, which, with excellent pastry and a good, creamy filling, shows that the Chinese can do Italian as well as the Italians… Seesaw 433 was also shortlisted for the Best Outdoor Seating and Best Overseas Coffee Spot Awards.

A lovely espresso in a classic white cup being enjoyed in the sun at Canopy Coffee, Guildford.Canopy Coffee

Not content with bringing excellent coffee from all over the country to my hometown of Guildford, Canopy Coffee also has some excellent cakes. So far I’ve polished off a cinnamon bun, vegan carrot cake, blackberry and apple tray bake and a raspberry frangipane. Canopy has been shortlisted for both Best Filter Coffee and Best Espresso Awards.

Details from the sign on the door of North Star's Coffee Shop & General Store in Leeds Dock.North Star Coffee Shop

The flagship coffee shop of Leeds roasters, North Star, it’s not just coffee, with outstanding cakes by Noisette, all freshly baked each day. I had a slice of the awesome apple and oat crumble. North Star has also been shortlisted for this year’s Best Breakfast Award.

The Crosstown Doughnut logo from outside the coffee shop in Soho.Crosstown Doughnuts, Victoria

What can I say? It’s Crosstown Doughnuts. In an attempt at diversity, I had the crème brûlée doughnut this time. Crosstown has also been shortlisted for this year’s Best Coffee Spot Near a Railway Station, Best Takeaway Coffee and Smallest Coffee Spot Awards.

A single-origin Colombian espresso in a branded cup from Cafe Corridor in Hong Kong with 'A passage to the coffee world since 2001' written on the inside rim.Café Corridor

Hong Kong’s Café Corridor is not the easiest place to find (I really should have an award for that) but when you do get there, do yourself a favour and have some cake. I  had an apple crumble tart, served warm. With a sweet, generous apple filling, rich, crunchy crumble and excellent shortcrust pastry, it was divine. Cafe Corridor was also shortlisted for the Coffee Spot with the Best Basement Award.

A lovely Kokoa Collection hot chocolate served in a distinctive mug at The Moon & Sixpence in Cockermouth.The Moon & Sixpence

Cockermouth’s The Moon & Sixpence is a real gem, with excellent homemade cakes. I had the amazing vegan spicy marmalade and orange cake. It had a great orange flavour & amazing texture, truly a king among cakes. The Moon & Sixpence made the shortlists for both Best Neighbourhood Coffee Spot & Coffee Spot with the Best Lighting Awards.

The new Coffee Lab logo, taken from the counter in the Salisbury branch.Coffee Lab, Salisbury

The rapidly growing Coffee Lab chain does a few things, and it does them extremely well. The Salisbury branch served me an awesome, cinnamon bun, which I had, at my barista’s insistence, warm. Not too sticky, not too sickly, and with a rich bread dough, it was absolutely perfect. Coffee Lab has also been shortlisted for this year’s Most Passionate About Coffee Award.


And the winner is Coffee Lab, Salisbury
Runners-up: The Moon & Sixpence and North Star Coffee Shop

Don’t forget to check out the other 19 Coffee Spot Awards for 2017.


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  1. Pingback: 2017 Awards – Happiest Staff | Brian's Coffee Spot

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