Cake. Show me a person that doesn’t like cake and I will show you a liar and/or a fool. Cake is everything.
The only bad thing that cake has ever done is single-handedly cause the word ‘moist’ to remain in regular use. Apart from that, cake is one of life’s sweetest, tastiest, most indulgent and moist (ughhh) pleasures.
And we’ve been on a mission to find the most pleasurable of them all, in cities all over our network. On that note, stick on a bib to catch the drool, because here’s a list of some of Europe’s best cakes and most beautiful bakeries…
First of all, this is a great name for a bakery. But a bakery could have the best name in the world, and without the cake to back it up nobody would really care.
The cake masters at What The Cake absolutely smash it though. Their cakes are consistently beautiful, they know how to use different flavours together really well, and whatever you order you’ll be happy – but their very best offerings are their glorious cheesecakes.
Sticky, fudgey, chocolate brownie cheesecake; white chocolate mango and passion fruit cheesecake, lemon meringue cheesecake…Just go to Strasbourg and get some of their cheesecake.
They also have a large flamingo in their café, so massive bonus points for that, obviously.
In addition to having one of the loveliest names a person can have, Peggy Porschen bakes up some of the loveliest cake a person can eat.
They were previously only available for people shelling out for a whole wedding or occasion cake, but her boutique opened its charming, baby-pink doors in 2010, and now anyone can go in and sample her frankly ridiculously good creations.
They look so good that you almost don’t want to eat them – it feels a little like you’re about to punch a hole through a Monet. But they taste so good that you’ll get over your aesthetic sensibilities fairly quickly, trust me. Magnificent, beautiful cake.
If you’re in Seville and you get a hankering for some serious cake, make your way immediately to Ofelia Bakery on Cuesta del Rosario where you’ll find the most beautiful, flavourful, moist cakes in the city.
The café itself is absolutely adorable too, cosy and welcoming and just the kind of place you want to spend an hour or two pigging out on cupcakes in.
The people who work there are genuinely lovely too, which kind of makes the cakes taste even nicer. Try the lemon curd cake if they have it.
If you’re in Cologne, it’s imperative that you go and indulge in some of the delectable treats baked by the guys at Törtchen Törtchen.
Törtchen Törtchen is German for ‘Little cake, little cake’, and that’s exactly what they bake best.
Everything they make is just exquisite, and they even do extra-fancy things with their bakes, like sticking little turkey-baster thingies full of sauce and syrup into their cakes, for you to inject just before you get stuck in.
They also print actual recipes for macarons on their napkins, and it is these details that make me love them even more. Get some macarons to take away too, because they are guaranteed to be a lot better than your first attempt.
Take A Cake’s cupcake game is extremely strong. The thing is with cupcakes, sometimes style comes at the expense of substance.
People spend so much time and effort to create something elaborately beautiful that they sort of forget about the actual cake part, and you take a bite into what looks like heaven but tastes a bit like that old cleaning sponge you keep behind the sink in the bathroom.
Take a Cake in Sofia do it properly. Simple, pretty cupcakes that taste every bit as good as they look, if not better. Many with a sweet little jammy surprise in the middle. And guess what… they cost under €1.50 each.
Everything about Fraulein Wild on Dresdener Strasse in Kreuzberg is just lovely. Mismatched floral crockery and pastel pistachio and mint coloured walls, great coffee and happy staff.
And the cake. Oh, the cake. It’s just beautiful. There’s something wholesome and happy about every creamy, fluffy handmade cake and tart they make.
Have a slice of whatever cheesecake(s) are on offer. You can commission wedding cakes from the Fraulein too, so if you’re planning on getting married in Berlin, it’s worth checking this place out.
If you’re not planning on getting married and you don’t live in Berlin, you might want to start thinking about moving there and finding someone. For the cake.
Avoca started out as a family-run mill and handweaving business back in the 1720s, and has grown to be one of Ireland’s most beloved companies.
The cake and café part of the business began as a small tea and coffee station, selling a few home bakes, in the corner of one of the Avoca shops.
Well, you can’t keep a good cake down, and the demand for Avoca’s now legendary baking grew. Today, people might still come to one of their shops for the throws and home-ware, but they’ll stay for the cake.
Actually, they’ll probably come for the cake too. And stay for more cake. Not one of their cafés will disappoint.
Cupcake Corner keeps the people of Krakow happy with their little frosted buns of joy.
They have a good menu with brilliant flavours, and they change their selection slightly on a daily basis to keep things interesting – but they’re clever enough to leave their sublime Peanut Butter Cup cupcake on every day’s menu – peanut butter doesn’t get a day off.
Sorry about that peanut butter, but that’s what you get for being so delicious. The Black Forest one is pretty mind-blowing too, so don’t limit yourself to just one. In fact, get a box of 6. You’re on your holidays.
Pasteis, or custard tarts, are the ultimate, creamy, sweet, pastry encrusted taste of Portugal. They’re everywhere in Lisbon, but they are not all created equal.
There’s one place above all others where you should go to get these little bakes – and you’ll have to be prepared to get in a long queue to get to them too, but it’s totally worth it.
Pasteis de Belem is Lisbon’s go-to one-stop-tart-shop, for all your custard and pastry needs.
That’s not to say there aren’t other great places to go, but this is a Lisbon institution – it’s like getting on the Tram 28 or having drinks in the Bairro Alto. You just have to do it.
I’m quite tempted to just not bother writing anything at all for this one, and instead just let the pictures speak for themselves.
This is the stuff that dreams are made of… the kind of cake that actually makes me ache a bit when I think about it, because it’s so far away from where I am right now… the sort of cake that makes obesity seem like a small price to pay for getting to eat it every day.
If there’s one way to turn good cake into the best cake ever, it’s by combining it with well-known and beloved stuff like Maltesers, Nutella, Jammy Dodgers and Oreos.
I don’t think it’s even remotely an overstatement to say that Mimi and her Edinburgh bakehouse are making the world a better place, one stupidly indulgent cake at a time.
The Austrians know how to bake a good cake. In Linz, the signature cake is the linzertorte, a sweet little number that's made of crumbly, buttery, nutty pastry on the bottom, a sticky jam filling on top of that, and a signature lattice design on top of the jam. It’s gorgeous.
And if you’re in Linz, it’s imperative that you eat at least one slice of the stuff. The place to eat that slice is Konditorei Jindrak. They are the original linzer torte makers, so if you want the authentic experience, this is it. When in Linz…
Pain Plaisir is a bakery that churns out some of the best, prettiest breads and cakes that you’ll ever lay your greedy little eyes on.
The most perfect little lemon tarts; exquisite, rich chocolate gateaux with a topping so glossy you could use it to put your make-up on, and mille feuille that tastes like it’s been baked by the angels themselves…
Everything they bake is just utterly perfect, and one of the best things about their cakes, apart from devouring them, is that they’re really affordable.
These are cakes that you might pay €7 in other European capitals; here, you can have one for under €4. Which means you can, and should, have more than one.
Parunāsim in Riga’s old town is, reportedly, the most romantic café and bakery in Riga. According to them anyway.
I can neither confirm nor deny those reports, but what I can do is promise that you’ll definitely fall head over heels in love with their amazing cakes if you go there.
Everything is sumptuous and indulgent and really well baked, but if I had to choose one cake to commit to above all others, I’d go for one of their cheesecakes. You and the cheesecake will live happily ever after.
- Dee Murray