Yesterday my two best friends from ‘back home’ aka
Bedford, came to visit
me. I haven’t seen either of them since Christmas and that was only for a
couple of hours so it was lovely to catch up with them again and learn all the
latest gossip. We had a very enjoyable day shopping in the city centre complete
with a delicious lunch at Fusion Organic Café – my favourite lunchtime spot.
I then treated the girls to afternoon tea at Steel City Cakes. I had been once before and was impressed at the variety of cakes on offer. As well as 'normal cakes' they also always have a selection of gluten free, dairy free, vegan or an assortment of all combined! It really is a shop where almost anyone can have their cake and eat it.
I would normally be a little wary of places offering homemade gluten free cakes alongside 'normal' cakes, but on my previous visit I had a chat with the owner who said her daughter is also gluten free and she is the one who bakes their gluten free cakes – result! There is nothing nicer than a gluten free cake baked by someone who truly knows and understands the sheer enjoyment of being able to eat a nice piece of cake along with the rest of their friends/family.
Steel City Cakes is located on Abbeydale Road and its not the easiest place to get to if travelling by car as there is limited parking along the streets outside, but don’t let that put you off. Once inside we were greeted by a vast assortment of layer cakes, most of which where 3 layers tall – now that’s my kind of cake! As well as cakes there were also cheesecakes, brownies, cupcakes and a few tarts on offer.
I decided to treat the girls to the tea and cake combination deal which allows you to have any cake and drink of your choice for £4. My friends chose lemon cheesecake and a white chocolate & fresh raspberry triple layer cake as their cakes. I enquired what was gluten free that day and was offered a choice of chocolate & toffee, coffee & walnut or chocolate & fresh raspberry cakes, as well as chocolate brownie or an apricot and custard tart. Wow what a choice! I went for the chocolate & fresh raspberry cake as I love that combination.
Some of the other 'normal' cake combinations sounded amazing and different from your standard, chocolate and vanilla only cake places. There was a spiced courgette cake, a pistachio one, coffee & walnut, salted caramel and peanut butter & chocolate. Yum.
When the cakes arrived we were amazed at the portions – they were huge! Normally these types of tea and cake offers mean you get a thin sliver of cake, not here these were substantial slices of cake and cheesecake that could almost have fed two people. So make sure you come hungry.
For drinks J and I went for fruit tea which was served in traditional china cups complete with saucers and floral design, which was a lovely touch. My other friend went for hot chocolate with complementary whipped cream on top.
We all tucked in somehow managed to polish off the lot. All the cakes were fresh and light and I loved the addition of the fresh raspberries with my chocolate cake. That little bit of fresh tartness really cut through the sweet buttercream. My cake was actually vegan and gluten free, I’ve no idea who they made it so rich and chocolaty without dairy, eggs or gluten. I was very impressed. My other friend described the lemon cheesecake as one of the nicest she’s had and I must admit it did look divine (please make some GF versions too!).
We all left full, happy and in a bit of a sugar coma. The shop is a bit out of the way but don’t let that put you off. I’ve been twice now and both times the cakes have been delicious and the variety excellent. This is clearly a shop run by cake lovers for cake lovers and well worth a visit.