Around the World in 80 Pairs of Shoes


October 15, 2014

Cakes and Bakes of the UK

If you haven’t figured it out by now, I love cake and I will travel for cake!  I’ve driven to Bakewell for a pudding and Cheddar for a Cheese sandwich but what other British delights are out there for us all to discover?

Cakes and bakes of the UK (and where to eat them)

With the BBC’s Great British Bake Off recently coming back on our screens to tempt us with all manner of sweet treats, we’ve gone a bit baking mad. But do you know your Eccles cake from your Bara brith? Is Kendal mint cake actually a cake? And most importantly, where can you go to sample some of the best regional cakes the UK has to offer?

Grab a cup of tea, put your feet up and let Holiday Lettings be your guide on our Great British bake tour of the UK.

Chelsea bun

What is it? Named after The Chelsea Bun House where it was invented in the 18th century, this sweet and sticky currant bun made with rich yeast dough, flavoured with lemon peel, cinnamon and mixed spice is a real crowd pleaser. The Chelsea Bun House was incredibly popular, partly due to its royal connections: George II and Queen Caroline were among the regulars.


Photo credit: Green Explorer (Tom) (license) via Flickr

Where to find it: Sadly, despite its popularity, the bun house was demolished in 1839. However, you’ll find plenty of bakeries selling Chelsea buns on the main road from Pimlico to Chelsea.  As you’d expect in central London, there’s a huge amount to see and do. Book a stay in historical Pimlico or stylish Chelsea and have a bun for breakfast every day!

Eccles cake

What is it? It’s not technically a cake, but a round, current-filled pastry. Named after the town of Eccles in Greater Manchester, the Eccles cake was first sold in 1793 at James Birch’s shop on the corner of Vicarage Road. Unappetisingly, Eccles cakes are also known as Squashed Fly Cake, Fly Cake, Fly Pie or Even Fly’s Graveyard, due to the quantity of currants inside the pastry case.


Photo credit: Dr Greg (license) via Wikimedia Commons

Where to find it: Head to Lancashire and you’ll find plenty of bakeries selling Eccles cakes. There’s plenty to see in the region, from the bright lights of Blackpool to the wild moorland with its beautiful scenery and mystery. To really see the landscape in all its glory, stock up on Eccles cakes and take a trip on the steam railway through the rolling countryside.

Bakewell tart

What is it? Is it a tart, is it a pudding or it is both? Whatever you call it, these delectable Derbyshire treats made from either shortcrust or puff pastry and filled with frangipane, almonds and raspberry jam, have been a hit since their creation in the mid-19th century.


Photo credit: Chris Eason (license) via Flickr

Where to find it: Like many of the bakes on this list, the tarts (or puddings as they are sometimes called) are named after the town where they were first made and eaten. Situated in the heart of the Peak District and surrounding by stunning countryside views, Bakewell is proud of its baking heritage and you’ll find a wealth of tea rooms, restaurants and cafes serving Bakewells alongside a pot of tea. And with all of those beautiful walks to discover, you’ll need the sustenance.

Saffron Bun

What is it? The saffron bun (and cake), Cornish tea treat bun or revel bun is an uplifting delight with its sunny yellow hue. Dotted with currants and flavoured with cinnamon or nutmeg and saffron, the sweet bun is also popular in Sweden and Norway where it’s traditionally eaten during Advent.

Where to find it: Saffron was grown in Cornwall in medieval times but now new saffron farms are popping up in Essex and Cambridge. However, saffron buns/cakes are still available in Cornwall and go down well with a dollop of Cornish clotted cream.

Kendal mint cake

What is it? Popular among mountaineers and explorers due to its high energy content, Kendal mint cake, a glucose-based, peppermint-flavoured confection, isn’t a cake in the traditional sense of the word. It’s said that it was invented by accident when a batch of peppermint creams was left out overnight and the solidified ‘mint cake’ was discovered the next day.


Photo credit: Andrew Bowden (license) via Flickr

Where to find it: Kendal mint cake originates from the town of Kendal in Cumbria where it was first invented. There are several long-running manufacturers, Romney’s in Kendal being one of the most famous. It’s no surprise that something compact, high-calorie and tasty was sought after by mountaineers when you admire Cumbria’s mountainous landscape.

Bara brith

What is it? This sweet Welsh fruit loaf made with tea is delicious when spread with salted Welsh butter. Bara brith translates to ‘speckled bread’ as it’s packed with dried fruit. The orange zest and mixed spice make it extra tasty so it’s easy to see why it’s been enjoyed in Wales since the mid-19th century.


Photo credit: zingyyellow…! (license) via Flickr

Where to find it: All over Wales. Traditional tea rooms are your best bet if you’re looking to sample a homemade version, still warm from the ‘popty’ (oven). And for the full Welsh culinary dinner, precede it with a piping hot bowl of cawl, a stew made with lamb, potatoes leek and swede.

What other cakes and bakes from the UK do you recommend Holiday Lettings and I to try?


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