Guy Warner: Let them eat cake!
PUBLISHED: 15:15 08 April 2019 | UPDATED: 15:15 08 April 2019
'In these uncertain and crazy times, home-made cake is always the answer.'
When it comes to things Brits do well, I think we can all be agreed that ‘tea and cake’ is up there at the top of the list. In fact, according to a recent report, 77% of Brits were in agreement that, “There’s not much that can’t be sorted with a cup of tea and a slice of cake!”
In these uncertain and often crazy times, it’s comforting to know that a slice of home-made cake can still make the world feel like a sane place. While I’m not known for my sweet tooth, there’s definitely something about cake that hits the spot, especially if it’s a rich fruit or moist carrot cake. It seems I’m not alone in my weakness for cake, as further reports suggest that the average Brit eats three slices of cake a week and even bakes four times a month.
While the British have enjoyed the tea and cake ceremony for years, since the Great British Bake off first aired nine years ago, cake baking has become something of a national obsession. The success of the programme has led to a boom in hobby bakers, with many home bakers even forging a career out of their passion.
This is evident if you take a trip to any farmers’ market, farm shop or independent coffee shop in the Cotswolds, where you’re likely to be greeted with towering displays of beautiful cake-crafted creations that almost look too good to eat.
That’s certainly the case for Hetty Kitt, who, thanks to the encouragement of friends and family, set up her award-winning cake business, Hetty’s Tea Party, offering a range of cakes and brownies at local farmers’ markets and Gloucester Services. Now renamed as Hetty’s Kitchen, Hetty also offers her cakes at her new Cake Hatch, based at her bakery in Gloucester, where you can also enjoy a cup of speciality coffee. The gin and tonic lemon drizzle cake and the Turkish delight brownie are definitely worth paying a visit for.
Regular readers of my column will already be familiar with Salt Bakehouse, a fantastic family bakery that started life at the Sandwich Shop in Cheltenham and has since relocated to larger premises in Stroud and Stonehouse. And thank goodness they did, for now as well as award-winning breads, they can spoil us with award-winning sweet creations – honeycomb and chocolate mousse cruffins (a croissant/muffin crossover), so humungous that you think ‘how am I going to eat that!’, cookie dough bear claws that started out as treats for children but are universally loved by adults too, as well as a roaring trade in Danish pastries and pains au chocolate.
In a world full of coffee chains offering drab, plastic-wrapped bakes, the rise of passionate cake-makers and their freshly baked goods is uplifting. Great cakes can be found in good independent coffee shops all over the Cotswolds if you look beyond the uninspiring high street chain establishments.
Perhaps you already have a favourite coffee shop that pulls you in on the strength of its lemon drizzle or blueberry muffin. If you do, please don’t forget to nominate it in this year’s Cotswold Life Food & Drink Awards. As we’re all too aware right now, every vote counts!
Locally-owned company Warner’s Budgens have six stores in the area - Bidford-upon-Avon, Moreton-in-Marsh, Quedgeley, Tewkesbury and Winchcombe. Visit the website here.