Welcome to the shortlist for the 2022 “Best Cake” Award, won in 2021 by Kookaburra Bakehouse. 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 don’t visit that many dedicated cake spots, I was nonetheless treated to some absolutely fantastic cake this year, 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 12 Coffee Spots on the shortlist this year, all listed in order of publication.
A newcomer to Guildford, Cocco Patisserie & Coffee serves a wide range of cakes from it’s bright spot on the corner of Hayden Place. You’re assaulted (in a good way) by display cases packed with cakes as soon as you step inside, including a selection of made-to-order celebration cakes. I’ve tried a few, but this nomination is for the perfect Pastel de Nata that I had, with a rich, creamy custard filling and a crisp, flaky pastry case.
Another relative newcomer to Guildford, I’ve also tried a range of cakes at Tattam’s, which included a chocolate brownie, a sweet, chewy (in a good way) Danish pastry and a near-perfect croissant, served with butter and jam, all of which could have made the shortlist by themselves. Tattam’s has also been shortlisted for the Best Outdoor Seating Award.
Moving up to Chester, the Jaunty Goat Bakery serves a range of cakes and pastries as well as takeout coffee, bread and coffee beans (either loose or in packets). It’s on this shortlist for the gorgeous morning bun that I had, a rich pastry dough with a hint of stickiness. Jaunty Goat Bakery has also been shortlisted for the Smallest Coffee Spot Award.
Moving down to London, The Penny Drop opened in 2017, serving some excellent coffee and equally excellent cakes. I had a fine naturally-processed Peruvian espresso (which made it onto the Best Espresso shortlist) which I paired with a cinnamon bun. Structured like a Danish pastry, it had a subtle, cinnamon flavour.
Staying in the UK, Betty Berkins is another with a wide range of cakes, all of which are baked on-site. I tried both the raspberry and peach frangipane, which was lovely and moist, and the lotus cake, an excellent layered sponge with buttercream filling and a caramel drizzle.Betty Berkins has also been shortlisted for the Best Outdoor Seating and Most Unlikely Place to Find a Coffee Spot Awards.
Our first non-UK entry is Nano Kaffee in Berlin where I had a kouign-amann to go with my flat white. This was a classic, with a crunchy exterior and sweet, but not sticky interior, with layers of sugar-infused pastry. Nano Kaffee is also on the shortlist for this year’s Best Flat White Award.
Back in the UK, I had an amazing Nuttela cruffin at Crosby Coffee in Liverpool. A muffin made with croissant dough and stuffed with Nutella, my cruffin was every bit as good (and sugary) as it sounds, the rich croissant dough pairing perfectly with the Nutella. Crossby Coffee has also been shortlisted for the Best Filter Coffee Award.
Our first non-European entry this year is all the way from California, where I had an excellent morning bun (or “evening bun” as the barista and I agreed, since it was five o’clock). This was lovely: chewy and sweet, but neither sticky nor sickly. Devout Coffee has also been shortlisted for the Best Outdoor Seating and Best Neighbourhood Coffee Spot Awards.
Staying in California, Spro is known as much for its innovative food as for it’s coffee (which was good enough for a place on the shortlisted for the Best Espresso Award). I went for lunch, but it’s on this shortlist for the dessert I had afterwards, the coffee crumble cake, which was served warm and very much lived up to the billing, being both crumbly and having a crumble topping.
Our third Californian entry is CoRo Coffee Room in Oakland, where I enjoyed a sticky bun which was served warm. Lovely, chewy and sweet, but neither sickly nor too sticky, it’s the best sticky bun I’ve had in a very long time. CoRo Coffee Room has also been shortlisted for the Best Espresso Award.
Staying in America, but this time in Chattanooga, Tennessee, where Niedlov’s Cafe & Bakery serves some awesome cakes, all baked on the premises. There’s no single cake that made it onto the shortlist since Amanda and I bought three wonderful cakes/buns to take home with us at the end of our road-trip. Niedlov’s has also been shortlisted for the Best Outdoor Seating and Most Unlikely Place to Find a Coffee Spot Awards.
Our final entry is sees us back in Berlin at The Barn at Café Kanzler. The Barn is known for its excellent coffee, although it also bakes a mean cheesecake, as I discovered when I tried a slice. I enjoyed this classic European-style baked cheesecake while sitting on the 360° wrap-around balcony (which got The Barn a place on the shortlisted for the Best Outdoor Seating Award).
The winner will be announced on Monday, 2nd January. In the meantime, don’t forget to check out the other 19 Coffee Spot Awards for 2022.
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