A while ago I embarked on a very important journey - to find the best cakes in the North East. I've actually been unofficially doing this for - well, twenty odd years really - but now I actually feel like my cake eating really has a purpose. The purpose of - well, me eating yummy cakes in nice places. Anyway. Parts One and Two led to me discovering some delicious cakey goodness but I still feel I need to search a bit more, just to make sure I've covered everything, y'know? For the blog, obvs.
So, this time I thought I'd try a couple of places a bit closer to home. Firstly, Bradley Gardens near Wylam. This is an 18th Century walled garden, tucked away in the Tyne Valley. The gardens have recently been bought by an interior design company, Bridgewater Interiors, and within the pretty gardens, which are also a nursery (the plant kind), there is a shop showcasing their designs and homeware. Oh, and did I mention the tearoom? It's housed in a Victorian glasshouse within the gardens and is beautifully decorated in whites and pale greys which make the atmosphere of the place so serene and relaxing. Especially when you have a cuppa and a huge slice of Victoria sponge. I literally could have sat there all day. The cake itself was delicious, and as
well as a decent selection of cakes on offer, there were plenty of yummy looking pastries and other delights that I'll definitely be going back to try. I also love the fact that there is plenty of outside seating, so on a nice day I can imagine Bradley Gardens to be the perfect place to stop for lunch. (It was cloudy and dull on the day I visited - gah).
Next I want to mention Cakes By Becky in Crawcrook, Gateshead. I've driven past this little shop a few times and didn't realise, until I noticed a table and chairs outside, that it was also an eat-in cake place so naturally, as soon as I had a spare afternoon I took a drive over to investigate. The shop is super cute with only a couple of tables and the whole 'baking area' is open plan - Becky was making a birthday cake for a customer when I visited (and it looked awesome). The treats on offer depend on what Becky has baked over the previous day or so, so there wasn't a huge selection as Becky has a lot of regular visitors who pop in for treats regularly, but everything looked yummy. I went for a vanilla cupcake and pot of tea, and also some caramel slices to bring home (which I didn't get a photo of as the husband snaffled them before I got the chance). My cake was indeed yummy and as I was the only person in the shop at the time, Becky and I had a good chat and I have once again resumed my desire to work in a cake shop just like hers. I'll definitely be popping back and if I ever need a celebration cake I would definitely try Becky as the ones I saw looked brilliant.
Lastly, I mentioned here about the Bloggers' Tea Party I attended recently, and that under strict instructions to bring something home baked, I buckled and asked Mark, who I work with, to make me some of his marvelous brownies. He's made them for work before, and my word, they are amazing - just as good (if not better) as any brownie I've bought anywhere. Mark gave me the recipe, which he'd found online, and the one time I made them, a while ago, they turned out just as delish as his. So basically, if I can make them, anyone can. So I thought I'd share the recipe - it's here. Enjoy!