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Picking Up Pastries At Peppermint Bay

Cakes, tried and tested, from the Spinningfields deli-cafe

Published on December 19th 2011.

Picking Up Pastries At Peppermint Bay

IN this era of simple (i.e. cheap) pleasures, pretty-looking cakes have become a big thing. Baking is back and cupcakes are coming out of our ears. Even so, the sight of a well-stocked cake counter is always going to lift the spirits. And for good-looking gateaux under glass, Peppermint Bay is the place to go.

Peppermint Bay 007This new deli-café in Spinningfields has a cake display that'll make a sweet-toothed person swoon. Dainties, biscuits, tartes and pastries beckon beguilingly. And the longer you stand there, the harder it becomes to choose between them.

Luckily our budget was high enough to allow us to take two bag-loads of baked goods back to the office for a tasting session.

The first ones to be devoured were the home-made Bourbon and the home-made Jammy Dodger (£1.50 each). These super-sized versions of classic biscuits look surreal – like something out of Honey I Shrunk The Kids. And in the case of the Bourbon, taste very like the original – but with a cakey, creamy overtone. Only crumbs remained.

Peppermint Bay 014The Jammy Dodger tasted like it might in heaven; the flavours were exaggerated along with the size. Strawberry jam sandwiched between thick discs of shortbread sprinkled with pink sugar. Much more than just a clever idea, this deserves a Facebook fan club of its own.

The next best favourite seemed to be the chocolate brownie (£3.50) which was marbled with hidden reserves of caramel and fudge. Like all the cakes we tried from Peppermint Bay, it was moist and light. None of the heavy stodgy stuff here.

The carrot cake (£3.50) was a prime example. Some versions of this cake feel like a meal in their own right. Here though the emphasis was on flavour rather than filling you up. It came with a coffee butter-cream topping which worked well.

The Bakewell tart (£3.50) was milder than most with hints of almond rather than strong flavours. Meanwhile, the meringues (£2) were crunchy on the outside and chewy on the inside, as they should be.

Peppermint Bay 018It being Christmas, we had to try the mince pie with brandy cream (£3.50). It had a zingy filling and buttery pastry that Gordo said was some of the best he's had in a long time.

'Delicious,' 'Nice', 'Really good', the other tasters proclaimed – using almost every word the editor has banned from food writing on this website. Apart from 'Tasty'. And it was that as well.

A lady called Serena bakes the cakes here – she should be saluted. It's an imaginative selection with fresh touches added to old favourites, and a willingness to experiment that pays off.

And refreshingly, there's not a cupcake in sight.

Cakes and pastries are available to eat in and take-away from Peppermint Bay. Currently you can get 50% off food at Peppermint Bay click here to take up this offer.

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