L’Eto Caffé

L’Eto Caffé is a beautiful little café situated next door to Hummingbird Bakery on Wardour Street in Soho with the most fabulous window display of cakes and desserts that you can feast yours eyes on.  I discovered it during my months as an intern at a busy PR office in Soho where I indulged in their Honey Cake on a regular basis when cake felt like the only option for survival!  However, I had a meeting with my personal tutor from university, having recently finished, to discuss the future, and I decided that one of L’Eto Caffé’s fabulous-looking cakes would be the perfect present to say thank you for all the help I had received throughout my time at university.  Therefore, I chose a decadent Chocolate Cinnamon Cake that stood tall in the café window.  After all, who doesn’t love a good chocolate cake, and one with a cinnamon twist at that?!

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Unfortunately, it did turn into the leaning tower of cake after fighting my way through the bustling crowds of Oxford Street, but it most certainly did not affect the taste.  The sponge was rich and moist, and the chocolate was deliciously decadent.  Each mouthful was a chocolate, heavenly dream.  This was made even better by the chocolate and cinnamon cream that sandwiched the chocolate layers together.  I would honestly class this as the best chocolate cake I have ever had the pleasure of putting in my very welcoming mouth!  It looks the part and tastes the part, and you can not ask for much more than that!

If you happen to be in the area, or fancy a coffee date with a special twist, I would thoroughly recommend L’Eto Caffé to fulfil your sweet cake cravings any day.  Their cakes are wonderful and the service is warm and friendly.  A visit to L’Eto Caffé could never leave you disappointed.

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The Great Hummingbird Bake-Off: April 2014

Lemon Curd vs. Nutella

Every month the Hummingbird Bakery, which is one of my favourite cupcake shops EVER, creates two new, special edition cupcakes.  Every month, these cupcakes go head-to-head, battling it out for the number one spot.

April 2014 sees the arrival of Lemon Curd vs. Nutella.  The former is a zingy lemon sponge, bursting with a lemon curd centre; the latter is an indulgent chocolate nutty adventure, made from Hummingbird’s signature chocolate cupcake, topped with crunchy roasted hazelnuts.  But which cupcake deserves the number one title this month?

Lemon Curd Cupcake

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This lemon curd cupcake is absolutely bursting with flavour.  This cupcake has it all, with its light lemon sponge, topped with a generous helping of a sweet, tangy lemon frosting, this cupcake was a beautiful, flavoursome surprise.  Not to mention the gloriously gooey and messy lemon curd centre, which was an added zesty bonus and really set this lemon cupcake apart from the standard lemon cupcake you would get at any other bakery.  But we all know that Hummingbird is far removed from the category of standard, striving to give its customers something different, something adventurous, and something a little bit special every single day of the week!

Nutella Cupcake

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The Nutella cupcake is comprised of Hummingbird’s signature chocolate cupcake with its glorious chocolate frosting.  However, rather than finishing it off with chocolate sprinkles, the Nutella cupcake is topped with chopped roasted hazelnuts for an extra crunch and an added twist to create a nutty treat.  Whilst I’m usually a massive fan of Hummingbird’s chocolate-themed cupcakes, this one was slightly disappointing in the fact that it wasn’t overly nutty unless you managed to get a mouthful of the chopped nuts.  Maybe a hazelnut and chocolate sponge, or a blended frosting would have been the way forward?  Nevertheless, it was still delicious, and I’m never one to turn down a chocolate treat from Hummingbird!

Therefore, the Lemon Curd special edition cupcake is this month’s star bake in my Great Hummingbird Bake-off competition.

Check back in May for news on Hummingbird Bakery’s latest special editions.

 

The Great Hummingbird Bake-Off: March 2014

Key Lime Pie vs. Snickers Bar

Every month the Hummingbird Bakery, which is one of my favourite cupcake shops EVER, creates two new, special edition cupcakes.  Every month, these cupcakes go head-to-head, battling it out for the number one spot.

March 2014 sees the arrival of Key Lime Pie vs. Snickers Bar.  The former is a light vanilla sponge, bursting with a lime curd centre; the latter is an indulgent chocolate and peanut adventure, filled with peanut butter and caramel, and topped with a bite-size piece of Snickers.  But which cupcake deserves the number one title this month?

Key Lime Cupcake

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The Key Lime Cupcake tastes as delicate as it looks.  Hummingbird make a very nice vanilla sponge, but I just find vanilla sponge with a whipped custard frosting just very, well, vanilla.  There’s nothing exciting about it.  I didn’t actually finish the cupcake because I found it so boring, that is, until I got to the lime curd centre.  This is the only point that flavour actually tantalises your tastebuds.  The centre is actually wonderful.  The freshly grated lime zest looks pretty, and the biscuit crumbs scattered on top add a nice contrasting texture, but all in all this cupcake was a slight disappointment.

Snickers Bar Cupcake

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However, the Snickers Bar Cupcake saved the day.  The chocolate sponge, topped with the richest and most indulgent chocolate frosting was pure heaven.  And the salted peanut topping only added to the flavour.  Inside, there was a beautiful peanut butter and caramel centre, which came as a wonderful surprise.  The Snickers cupcake is essentially what it says on the packet: a complete and nutter peanut and chocolate dream.  Therefore, the Snickers Bar Special Edition Cupcake is, without a doubt, March’s Great Hummingbird Bake-off winner.

Peyton and Byrne

Peyton and Byrne is one of my favourite places to grab a quick bite to eat in London.  With its Covent Garden bakery less than a 5 minute stroll from my university campus, it is the perfect place to catch up with friends over a hot drink, a delicious cake and a sausage roll.  (I can promise you now, the sausage roll is mandatory!)

It seems absolutely mad that I would have missed out on such a wonderful little place if it hadn’t been for my new flatmate, Lizzie.  Lizzie probably loves cake as much as I do (and her mum is a complete legend who sends us freshly baked home made goods straight to our door)!  So one shopping trip we decided to make a future lunch date at Peyton and Byrne after Lizzie wondered up to it all excitedly saying, ‘ohh a new bakery, I love bakeries!’

I’m not going to lie, I was rather excited about this lunch date.  Just from looking at all of the cakes in the window I knew I was going to be spoilt for choice.  But it wasn’t until I actually walked through the door that I realised just how incredible this place was.  There is literally freshly baked goods everywhere!  The window display cabinets are full of a wide range of cakes, all different flavours and sizes; there are fresh salads piled high; a cabinet of hot sausage rolls, tarts and pies; sandwiches made from artisan bread and exploding with fillings – the list is literally endless.  But everything just looks completely and utterly fresh.  And completely and utterly delicious.  Sometimes I regret just how incredibly delicious everything is because I absolutely adore trying new foods and new flavours, but ever since my first couple of visits I’ve actually developed my own little regular order: a chocolate milk fairy cake, a warm sausage roll, and a piping hot elderflower & ginger tea.  Maybe next time I’ll broaden my horizons and report back with even more recommendations!

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On my first visit to Peyton and Byrne I only had one item from my now regular order, which was the sausage roll.  Given how much prevalence I have given to sausage rolls on my blog so far, I think I might as well turn this into a cake and sausage roll blog.  I’m not even a massive sausage roll fan (although that might just be from my experiences of my mum taking me to Gregg’s to shut me up on shopping trips when I was younger – I’m not even sure if what they put in their sausage rolls even constitutes as meat :/ ).  However, Peyton and Byrne put the savour in savoury.  There is no doubt in my mind that you will wish to savour every little piece of this soft, juicy and flaky sausage roll.  A few weeks ago I referred to the sausage roll at Tart as one of the best I’d ever had, and this sausage roll is precisely why it was only ‘one of the best’.  The flavour of the herbs, the juiciness and quality of the meat and the thickness of the soft, flaky pastry – it all just combines to create one divinely tasty sausage roll that you will find it hard to resist, especially when its golden exterior glows at you from the heated display cabinet that the waiter happens to be standing behind as you order!

Unfortunately, for a bakery that has such a high reputation for its coffee (my boyfriend literally raves about their cappuccinos), I was slightly disappointed with the cappuccino and walnut cake that I had chosen from their window display.  Whilst it was a perfectly nice cake, with a good firm but soft sponge and a delectably sweet and creamy topping, I prefer my coffee cakes to be much stronger in flavour.  The taste of coffee was faint at best.  But the textures of the firm sponge, the smooth, soft, creamy icing, and the crunchy crumbled nuts on top were beautiful and every little crumb made its way into my mouth.

Whilst I couldn’t work out if I was disappointed or not with my cake, Lizzie absolutely loved her chocolate milk fairy cake.  It was possibly this slight feeling of food envy that made my return to Peyton and Byrne so quick.  Within a week or so I had to go back, especially now that I knew that they did takeaways, and purchase a sausage roll for my library session and one of these beautiful works of art that Lizzie had given me a running commentary of, rating it in comparison to her favourite cakes from Bea’s of Bloomsbury.

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This cake is Peyton and Byrne’s prize possession, which is possibly why they keep them so close to the till.  If I worked in the presence of these cakes all day, I’d want to keep my beady eye on them to make sure there was one left for me to take home that night!  You’re going to have to believe me when I say that it is very rare for me to rave about chocolate cake.  I absolutely love chocolate, but I think it is actually quite hard to get a chocolate cake completely and utterly right.  Sometimes it’s too indulgent, with lashings of rich chocolate fudge icing, and sometimes it’s a bit dry and bland.  But this chocolate milk cupcake is pretty close to being perfect.  Its sponge is so moist and has the perfect amount of chocolatey flavour.  And to make it even better, it has little bursts of chocolatey goodness in every mouthful due to the melted chocolate chips that are laced throughout.  But then the milk-flavoured frosting completely mellows every mouthful with its contrasting taste, and the creaminess allows it all to just melt in your mouth.  I have absolutely no hesitations in referring to this as the best chocolate cake I have ever had.  The balance of all of the flavours is literally flawless.  This chocolate milk cupcake is the perfect library or office pick-me-up for those long days spent slogging in front of a computer.  And let’s face it, with all the coursework deadlines and exams fast approaching, I’m going to need a LOT of pick-me-ups over the next few months (and celebration cakes too, of course)!