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.
There are 15 Coffee Spots on the shortlist this year, all listed in order of publication.
The second of the new Flat Caps coffee shops in Newcastle, Flat 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
Don’t forget to check out the other 19 Coffee Spot Awards for 2017.
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