Cake Stories, Jesmond
Jesmond’s newest cakery and coffee house combines everything any good parlour should have: cosy interiors with plenty of trendy chalkboard and scuffed brickwork character, an impressive range of loose leaf teas from around the globe, plus coffee from Brazil, El Salvador and India, roasted by hand in Yorkshire. It’s a pretty parlour indeed; small, but oh-so-inviting, made gorgeous with twinkly hanging fairy lights, chunky wooden tables of all shapes and sizes, snug sofas in the window and one very tasty cake cabinet. Everything’s hand-baked and decorated in-house, meaning you’re guaranteed fresh, straight-out-the-oven goodness most days. Cupcakes and wedges of sponge, sweet slices and scones, cookies and gluten-free brownies, granola bars, tray bakes… you’ll find it all here. The team love to mix it up when it comes to flavours, so expect to stumble on a few new ones – heavenly, sticky creations like ‘Messy Oreo’ and ‘Choccy Bakewell’ cake, salted toffee popcorn brownies and zesty lemon ‘cake in a jar’. It also does a cracking brunch menu if you fancy something savoury before your sugar hit.
Our pick: A slice of Cheeky Chocolate Orange cake, £3.20
12 Brentwood Avenue, Jesmond, NE2 3DH
0191 908 6812; cakestoriesjesmond.com
Cinnamon Twist, Helmsley
Sweet, little bakeries are enough to melt our hearts – and make our mouths water. Helmsley’s star player is a fuss-free must-visit if you’re in the area – any local will tell you so. Go there for fresh pastries, homemade bread and the biggest, fluffiest, most glorious meringues in the area. Everything, from dough to icing, is handmade each morning by the owners, who prefer to stick to traditional methods and locally-sourced ingredients – no nasties anywhere – wherever possible, to ensure their creations are the freshest, tastiest and of the best quality they can be. Pop in on your way to work for a coffee and a handful of buttery, flaky pastry, or settle in one Saturday afternoon for a wedge of something sweet and a good brew.
Our pick: An almond croissant or a slice of warm olive bread. Options and prices change daily.
17 Church St, Helmsley, York, YO62 5AD
Great British Cupcakery, Newcastle
This boutique bakehouse and parlour, found on Newcastle’s Quayside, is, and has always been, a real crowd-pleaser. Young, sweet-toothed Instagrammers regularly flock here to snap the cupcakery’s towering, brownie-topped milkshakes, wedding-worthy layer cakes, jaw-dropping cupcakes and other cool confections. Created by a local mum and her two baking-mad daughters, who one day decided to turn their mutual hobby into a full-time career, it’s a place for lots of indulgence and a little nostalgia; allow the smell of freshly-baked sponge to take you back in time to your grandmother’s kitchen and leave with your mouth and hands covered in sticky jam and icing. It’s all part of the fun. Book in for Afternoon Tea if you’re marking an occasion, or bring your ideas and work with the girls to create your dream celebration cake.
Our pick: A white chocolate blondie or a cheesecake brownie, both £3.25
15 Queen Street, Quayside, Newcastle, NE1 3UG
0191 230 2151; thegreatbritishcupcakery.co.uk
Crumbs Cupcakery, York
Set up by owner Danielle Goodhand – a beaming baker who sold her flavours at local farmers’ markets and foodie festivals every weekend before quitting the day job in the name of sponge – Crumbs Cakery is one of York’s most-loved bakeries and cake parlours, found just behind York Minster. Danielle now works with a team of other passionate bakers, making lavish layer cakes and a variety of cupcakes for all occasions – everything from caramel fudge and red velvet to raspberry swirl cheesecake and zesty lemon. They’re dainty and oh-so good looking; iced to perfection every time and finished off with ‘real’ toppings, like baked brownie pieces and vanilla fudge nuggets, Terry’s Chocolate Orange segments and fresh berries.
Our pick: The All American chocolate cupcake with crunchy peanut butter, peanut butter frosting and mixed nuts, or the Victoria ’99, with raspberry jam, vanilla buttercream, sugar sprinkles and a ’99 flake. Prices and options vary.
Dreamworld Cakes Patisserie, Ouseburn
If choux buns, pastel macaroons, lighter-than-air eclairs and strudel are more your thing, then you’d be crazy not to pay this dreamy new patisserie a visit. You’ll find it on Ouseburn bank, affectionately run by Bernadett Szucs, originally from Hungary, and her Geordie-born partner, Richard. The pastry chefs opened their award-winning cake parlour, Dreamworld Cakes, in 2007, and in December 2016 decided to expand their sweet offering in the form of a new palace of patisserie. The dainty spot is the place to be in Newcastle for fine, continental creations made by hand and with a whole lotta love – everything from Belgian chocolate eclairs, Portuguese custard tarts and mini flourless cakes, to winter-spiced creme brûlée when the weather’s cold and now, with spring’s arrival, lots of fruity rhubarb and vanilla cheesecake. Buy in-store or tell them what you like and order in advance – their stuff make for great gifts, too.
Our pick: Sticky Toffee torte or pistachio, yuzu and basil verrine. Prices and options vary.
Arch 3, Stepney Bank, Ouseburn, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 2NP
01439 772115; dreamworldcakes.co.uk
Let there be Crumbs, Sunderland
If ever there was a tempting spot to visit to let your gluttonous side run wild, this is it. A relaxing stop-off from an appetite-inducing coastal wander, this tempting cakery and tea room is a go-to for scrumptious bakes, doorstop-sized scones and a good brew. It’s known for its Afternoon Tea offering – you can go traditional or head down the G&T route – but there’s loads more to try, like authentic gelato (made with the finest Italian ingredients just up the road at Ciccarelli in Northumberland) and mouth-watering sundaes (try the toffee fudge or the ‘chocolate extravaganza’ with Malteasers and Ferrero Rocher). From the counter, expect to see everything from buttery croissants to homemade iced biscuits and, for serious sugar addicts, there’s the sweet hanging kebabs – skewered strawberries, marshmallows and macaroons served with chocolate dipping sauce.
Our pick: Chocolate Chip Cookie Nachos to share, with chocolate sauce, mini marshmallows and M&Ms, £5.95
Roker Terrace, Sunderland, SR6 9NB
0191 567 1786; lettherebecrumbs.com
Mason + Rye, Fenwick Newcastle
This stylish bakery-patisserie-cafe is in the heart of Fenwick’s tasty Food Hall. A glossy, high-class place where sweet-toothed shoppers can sample artisan bread, fine patisserie, posh sarnies and even a spot of Afternoon Tea, served from 3pm, between shopping trips. Its dessert offering is top-drawer, whether you’re peering (salivating) through the cabinets or letting your nose lead the way around its ‘help yourself’ displays (dangerous territory come 4pm if you ask us), home to mountains of muffins and wedges of brownies, shortbread, tarts, tortes and more. Fenwick know a thing or two about style – and its sweet treats are no exception. Grab yourself something gorgeously glazed.
Our pick: A slice of good old Victoria Sponge cake. Prices and options vary.
intu Eldon Square, 39 Northumberland St, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 7AS
0191 232 5100; fenwick.co.uk/stores/newcastle
Grants Bakery, Corbridge
If you ever find yourself strolling along Corbridge’s pretty, cottage-lined streets with a hankering for something sweet, then be sure to stop by this delightful little find, loved by locals for its spectacular confectionary creations. Owned and run by award-winning patisserie chef, Andrew Cotterell, this beauty of a bakery is stocked with everything from continental breads – things like chilli, cheese and tomato bread, crusty bloomers and plaited loaves – and fresh-from-the-oven scones, to towering cakes and sweet treats of all shapes and sizes. Drool at the shop front – a window of pastry and perfectly-iced patisserie – before nabbing a table and devouring a slice of cheesecake.
Our pick: Any kind of tart – our favourite is their strawberry and almond. Prices and options vary.
1 Market Place, Corbridge, NE45 5AW
01434 633044; search @Grantsartisanbakery on Facebook for updates
Sweethart Coffee & Cake, Consett
Go to Sweethart’s for simple pleasures – fresh bread by the loaf, crusty cobs, ‘sticky buns’ (who remembers those?) and fruity tarts – little weekend pick-me-ups that we all know and love. It’s run by Mark Hart – a former builder who traded in bricks and cement for crumbs and piping bags back in 2012, after finding himself making his son’s birthday cake and falling in love with baking. Mark and his team of bakers make everything by hand from scratch, including nifty celebration cakes for weddings and bespoke events. Call in, pull up a chair and dig in, or take out and share a slice with someone else (if you can bare to).
Our pick: Their chocolate chip brioche is to-die-for. Prices and options vary.
101 Durham Rd, Blackhill, Consett, DH8 8RR
01207 501100; search @SweethartCoffeeandCake on Facebook for updates