2013 is well and truly underway and what a hectic time it has been so far! I very rarely get to go on any kinds of trips so I was very excited when I heard that my good friend Julie from Ice Maiden Cakes in Somerset was organizing a little cake-related tour of London with a lovely group of fellow Cake Geek friends! I am pretty trigger happy at the best of times but when it comes to cakes…I’m unstoppable, so brace yourself for a well illustrated guide to what we got up to 🙂
It all started at an absolute bargain of a hotel, which I just about managed to find with the assistance of a very patient and helpful taxi driver as I had brought with me everything but the kitchen sink…and the name and address of where I was staying! D’oh! I arrived in London on the Saturday afternoon the day before the tour as I first caught up with an absolutely lovely couple whose cake I will be creating this summer. I am so excited about delivering it to their fabulous boutique hotel in North London, it is going to be one spectacular wedding!
After my consultation, I met up with the Cake Geek Gang for dinner and drinks. Most people were staying in a different hotel so myself and my incredibly lovely (and hilarious!) roomie Hayley tried to get a taxi back to our hotel. We failed, but then a nice man on a bike appeared so we thought we’d treat ourselves. Not so much a treat as one of the scariest rides ever, but we can laugh about it now! 😉
So, the Sunday morning arrived and bright and early, we set off for Covent Garden. There were eggs. Lots and lots of giant eggs.
Some of the shops also had eggs as part of the city-wide Easter egg hunt. I think my absolute favourite might be the pointy one 🙂
We then met for breakfast at Bill’s. I love the two storey walls of food and the chance to eat breakfast under a chandelier.
I chose the French toast. It was divine. I also appreciated the rustic tea pots and world’s smallest salt and pepper set (teaspoon included for scale).
All refueled, we began. My aim: if it was cake related and pretty, I took photos 🙂
…and if it was a trip down memory lane, we visited. I loved our little stop off in Moomin Valley. I resisted buying every furry character available, but I did treat myself to a magnet for the growing collection on my fridge. My normal rule is that it has to be intellectual or travel related, but I made an exception here.
Our first Laduree of the day, the little shop in the main square. I am sure that this used to be a cafe as it’s where a pigeon’s wing flapped me in the eye on a previous trip. Thankfully, nothing as painful and disturbing happened on this day!
Not related to cakes in the true sense of the trip, but incredibly cool nonetheless:
And then we arrived at the world famous Choccywoccydoodah’s new store.
Inside, it was as much, if not more, of a shrine to all things chocolate and sculpture than I had expected. The steam punk design particularly caught our eye.
These bright and fun character cakes were fantastic as the more you looked, the more detail and little characters you saw.
This next cake absolutely made my day! It makes me so happy when other people appreciate budgies as much as I do 🙂
Here are a few random little observations along the way. I still haven’t figured out how this guy was sitting in mid-air, I really haven’t. Also, I thought I had found the “Counting” character from Adam Buxton’s Bug. Apparently, it’s similar but not the same…but I took a photo anyway 😉
On to Fortnum and Mason for a bit of a luxurious treat…and a stop off on the way to admire Zoe Clarke’s handiwork for F&M’s wedding cake collection.
On the first floor, we met Ed Kimber, winner of The Great British Bake Off Season 1, in his pop up cafe. It was so nice to see the mini reunion between Ruth and Louise, fellow GBBO contestants who were part of our cake Geek tour party, and Ed. All lovely people and I am so proud of everything they have achieved. Ed showed us his giant bag of luxury chocolate. I was sat incredibly close to this…but just about resisted trying to steal a handful.
The menu was extensive and incredibly hard to choose from. In the end, and I did allow the entire rest of the group to choose before I finally made my decision, I opted for a cappuccino and the passion fruit meringue tart, designed exclusively by Ed for Fortum and Mason. It was incredible; fruity and creamy, not too tart, not too sweet, and beautifully presented. As you can see, I scraped the plate. Ruth Rushton, our cake loving accountant on the tour, ordered camomile tea and suffered slight burns as she modeled the tea bag for me so that I could photograph the flowers inside. Sorry Ruth!
Finally, here is your chance to meet the Cake Geeks on Tour! Firstly, Team GBBO, Ruth Clemens (The Pink Whisk) and Louise Brimelow (BLouBerry Cakes) with Ed Kimber (The Boy Who Bakes):
And the full Geek Tour. From left to right: Ceri Olofson (Olofson Design, London), Hayley Jones, my roomie on the tour (Sweetcheeks Bakehouse, Dorset), Julie Gibson, tour organizer extraordinaire (Ice Maiden Cakes, Somerset), Ed Kimber, our lunchtime host (GBBO, The Boy Who Bakes), me, Kathryn Matthews (Kathryn’s Homemade Cakes), Louise Brimelow (GBBO, BLouBerry Cakes), Ruth Rushton (Ocean Design, Ruth Rushton – Food), Ruth Clemens (GBBO, The Pink Whisk).
Following a tip off from Ed, we visited our second Laduree of the day…and this one was very gold indeed!!
Our final visit of the day was to Peggy’s Pink Parlour in Belgravia, plus a glimpse at her academy on the way.
The window displays featured very simple cakes with a Valentine theme (as was the season). Myself and Ceri then treated ourselves to beautifully gift boxed cupcakes. Well, it would have been rude to come all that way and not, of course!
I chose a banoffee cupcake (and unlike Ceri, didn’t think to buy one for my other half…oops!), which I enjoyed on the train. It didn’t last long!!! It was absolutely stunning and a delicious end to a fabulous weekend.
Thank you so much to the fellow Cake Geeks on Tour for an amazing time, it was great to catch up with you all and I hope to do it again soon. Louise suggested a Manchester version…I think that is a brilliant idea!!
I hope you enjoyed the highlights of our tour. Until next time,