Sunday, 24 February 2013

{Let Them Eat Cake.. In Leeds}

With my final few months in Yorkshire approaching, I've started to panic about places I haven't been and things I haven't done. For this reason, I've started a Bucket List of cafés, restaurants and venues to visit before my University career ends. So far, however, most of my time has been focussed on finding the perfect cake in Yorkshire. Good for the soul, not so good for the wallet/waist. Here's my pick of the bunch so far.. 

Love Rouge Bakery in Headingley, Leeds

Whenever I've popped in (i.e. whenever I can conjure up a valid excuse to meander past and enter 'on a whim'), this tiny gem has always been packed to the rafters, so I'm yet to enjoy some afternoon tea and cake in the café itself. This has not stopped me from ordering many a 'take-away' cake, especially with my new-found talent for thinking up excuses for celebratory cupcakes. Good mark in an essay, nice weather, it's Friday... these all come under reasons why I need to get myself a delicious cupcake ASAP. News that the café is expanding falls on very excited ears! So far my Yorkshire pal and I have been able to make our way through this long list in search of our favourites, but the task is (fortunately) endless..

Chocolate Brownie
Strawberry Cheesecake
Chocolate Orange (the current winner!)
White Chocolate and Raspberry
Red Velvet
Strawberry and Champagne

Patisserie Valerie in Leeds City Centre

I have a slightly unhealthy obsession with the sponge in Patisserie Valerie. It is the lightest, fluffiest piece of heaven you will EVER taste. Don't take my word for it, go and get yourself some ASAP! For my 21st Birthday party, my dear mother surprised me with the 15-inch cake shown below. Of course we had to recreate the magic and get a mini white-choc version for my Dad's Birthday this year. The power combo of sponge, cream, fruit and chocolate will send you over the edge.


Pickards Pop-Up Tea Room by the University, Leeds

Pickards is a special treat for when essays in the library just get too much. We drop our highlighters and chewed biros with glee and dash across the road into the welcome respite that is Pickards. It's small but beautifully decorated, and the tea comes in bone china cups which make you feel (reasonably) posh. For around about a fiver you can get a gourmet sandwich, a generous pot of tea and the most delicious victoria sponge cake I've ever tasted. I know I said Patisserie Valerie has the best sponge, but it does come at a price. Pickards is excellent value and the great piece of sponge is generously loaded up with jam and cream. Enough to fill a poor student up 'til tomorrow (or until the next Victoria Sponge craving hits).

Betty's Tea Rooms, Harrogate & York

Betty's is a special occasion visit, but you have to do it at least once if you spend anytime in Yorkshire. I've had the good fortune to visit both the Harrogate and York cafes, and both times I've come away full but very content. They serve tea the proper way (in metal pots with a strainer), and the selection of cakes from the trolley is incredible. Or, you can opt for a traditional afternoon tea like in the photo below, and feel very old-fashioned as you make your way through the three-tiered cake stand of scones. A perfect way to wile away an (all too often rainy) afternoon up in t'North.

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