Oops. Due to a terminal lack of time before Christmas I have been quite a while without blogging. I have been thinking about and eating a lot of food though, and that's nearly just as good. Specifically, I have been eating lots of cake and here are some reviews and pics from three cake places which opened last year in Edinburgh: Loopy Lorna's Tea House second branch in Morningside, Bibi's Bakery on Hanover Street and Mimi's Bakehouse on the Shore in Leith. These are all big beautiful cakes and cupcakes, laden with frosting - no shy fairy cakes with drippy down icing to be found here.
The second Loopy Lorna's opened last summer on the ground floor of the Church Hill Theatre. It is a girly but grand kind of place - the floor is pretty printed grass, the space is light and airy with the wood panelling of the theatre not letting the girliness go overboard. A clown called Mrs Mash comes to entertain kids and they have cupcake quizzes - this is yummy mummy territory and kids are happily welcomed. It is still a palace of tea and all of the teapots come with sweet handknitted cosies.
There's a breakfast & lunch menu, afternoon tea, and a tea menu which is extensive without being overwhelming. At the counter is a huge display of towering cakes, luscious traybakes, biscuits and cupcakes too. Everything looks very tempting and I decided to try the summery sounding pineapple coconut cake. This was a sponge heavy with desiccated coconut and piled high with fluffy sunshine yellow pineapple icing. Impressive looking but sadly the sponge was rather dry and although it was tasty, the huge amounts of icing made the experience slightly sickly. I think I just picked the wrong thing though as my dining companions had much more luck with their choices - scones with cream and jam, and an Aero traybake slice. The scones were light, fluffy and deliciously freshly baked and the Aero slice was amazingly good - a chocolatey biscuity base with a creamy mint middle and chocolate and chunks of Aero on top - everyone was jealous of this choice! There is a huge choice available at Loopy Lorna's so you'll certainly find something you'll be satisfied with, even if like me, you're not a fan of large amounts of frosting. Next time I might try a piece of this beauty - one of the most magnificent sponge cakes I've ever seen!
Bibi's Bakery is a small boutique bakery specialising in cupcakes and brownies. The Hanover Street location is their second branch, having originally opened in St Andrews. Beautifully decorated cupcakes are displayed in their elegant shop front and you can see their bakers hard at work through the window on Rose Street. There's no space to stop so you get to take them home to enjoy at your leisure (or nibble on whilst you are out and about).
All cupcakes and brownies at Bibi's are a very reasonable £1.50. The flavours range from regular victoria sponge, lemon, double chocolate to the more exotic cookies and cream, red velvet, hazelnut latte and blueberry cream cheese, all of them laden with beautifully piped icing. There are always a few different brownie flavours available too - a cranberry & white chocolate flavour was available on my visit. The cupcakes I tried were gorgeous and moist - again, just a leetle bit too much icing for my tastes. I also had a brownie and I really enjoyed this, more so than the cupcakes even. The quality of the chocolate in the brownie could be tasted in every bite - highly recommended! Bibi's also stock cake decorating accessories in store and if you are so inspired, hold cupcake decorating classes. An evening class of 2 hours costs £25 which is great value, a day class can cost £125 and includes extra goodies. You can also pre-order to pick them up for a party or present.
Last on the cake round up is Mimi's, on the Shore in Leith, which is an all round fabulous place to eat. We visited one snowy weekend and were muchly cheered by the hearty food menu - luxury stovies, hot pots, sandwiches you actually want to try, savoury tarts and quesadillas. It's a lovely place to sit down with a cuppa and have a meal - very sophisticated decor of pale blue and black, with the occasional burlesque lady illustrated very tastefully on the walls, and specials written in chalk by the cake selections. And there are some super special cakes here - lamingtons, colourful battenberg, pavlova, whoopie pies - it's great to see these inventive choices, alongside traditional favourites with a twist like carrot and lime cake. I had a very filling roast pork and apple chutney sandwich with crisps and salad and took home a carrot and lime cake and a strawberry meringue to enjoy for afters. The meringue tasted as good as it looked:
The carrot cake was also delicious - dense but still light and with a real lime flavour. I am very keen to go back for an afternoon tea there - you can BYO for a small fee so a very cheap champagne afternoon tea is on the cards sometime soon. They also do cakes to order - I've already signed my boyfriend up to the cake club. Mimi's really have a quality and creativity in their baking which makes it stand out a bit from the others - all of them serve excellent cakes but Mimi's is exceptional baking by any standards.