Who doesn’t love cake? And what better excuse is there to have a cake break than when you’ve overworked yourself writing up your literature review or when you’ve concentrated too hard in a lecture?
Coffee and cake is the harmonious matrimony you need to escape the hustle and bustle of the library, and Manchester has plenty to choose from when it comes to suitable cafes. Sometimes, you need to get away from the on-campus Costa filled with undergraduates and prospective students on open days ordering a skinny-soy-vanilla-latte.
Balance is key, or so that is what I’m told on multiple fitness blogs. In an attempt to burn off the excess calories and keep my cholesterol levels at bay, I run. Both running and cake make me happy. And, let’s be honest – most people on diets look miserable anyway, don’t they?
As the daughter of a professional baker, I know a good cake when I see and taste one. Here are my favourite coffee and cake places I think you should treat yourself
1) Teacup Kitchen (Northern Quarter and Oxford Road)
The bright and buzzing Teacup Kitchen provides Manchester with double trouble, as it is conveniently located in the Northern Quarter and on campus next to the Manchester Museum.
The café is part owned by DJ, Mr Scruff, and is a must-visit for tea enthusiasts, serving a range of 30 different premium brews that are accompanied with quirky timers to make the perfect cuppa.
It’s pretty much packed at weekends from early doors and you will immediately clock the cake stand from the queue. An array of home-baked cakes are served, from extravagant rainbow cake to white chocolate and poppy seed cake.
2) Home Sweet Home (Northern Quarter)
There’s no place like Home Sweet Home. The selection of tantalising treats changes daily; however, the creativity in each cake remains consistent.
With a selection of nostalgic cakes named Strawberry Disco, Jazzy Sparkles and Oreo Messing, you’ll have a hard time choosing one. Each cake is surprisingly light and creamy with a fluffy sponge that complements the layers of icing and crazy decoration.
One lovely surprise Home Sweet Home offers is its generosity with portion sizes! In fact, the café encourages asking for takeaway cake doggy bags on the menu. Home Sweet Home really is an oasis from the inner Manchester city centre bustle that leaves you with a sugar hangover.
3) Ezra and Gil
Ezra & Gil says its name means ‘helper and happiness’ and is an urban coffee shop that lives up to its mood-boosting expectations.
Serving coffee, tea and ‘provisions’, it is situated on the border of the Northern Quarter. This place is hipster heaven – its minimalist décor of wooden tables and stools with a window view give the café a rustic feel.
Alongside a brunch-orientated food menu, the handmade loaf cakes are lovely. Ezra & Gil serves delicious Earl Grey and marmalade cake, as well as the must-try lemon and courgette loaf with pistachio sprinkles <insert face savouring delicious food emoji>.
4) Biko’s Café (Students’ Union)
Biko’s serves amazing Starbucks coffee at discounted prices, and is located in the heart of the University campus.
It is the perfect spot for people who have an appreciation for good coffee and want to work on campus but need a change of scenery from the library.
A selection of handmade cakes, cookies and muffins scatter the fridge, and its affordable prices mean you can sip an Americano for just £1.50. Biko’s is the ideal café to get cosy in on a winter day and drink a toffee nut latte without distractions.
5) Sugar Junction (Northern Quarter)
Beautifully decorated with authentic and vintage vibes, Sugar Junction offers an astonishing 18 different blends of tea and gourmet coffee.
If you have a love for everything vintage like I do, then look no further. Fantastic desserts, hot beverages served in china tea sets, pin-up and war posters spanning all four walls AND jazzy vintage music. What more could you want?
6) Milk Jam (Oxford Street)
Milk Jam is the dessert child of Bakeorama, Lush Brownies and Ginger’s Comfort Emporium. Vibrant graffiti marks the shop walls with the trio of dessert zones: cakes, brownies and ice cream.
The decoration of the Oxford Road cake heaven is as wacky as the art of their pudding-making, with a giant bubble gum dispenser on the wall used to make your own Screwball ice cream.
Bakeorama makes a selection of crazy four-tiered cakes decorated with disco balls and gummy bears – a slice will cost you £4.70. Lush Brownies offers 12 different types of brownies at the more affordable price of £2.50 a pop, and ice creams are served in any flavour your sweet tooth desires. What’s that? Beer-flavoured ice cream topped with pork scratching-style cinnamon chips coming right up!
Milk Jam has a small café upstairs, but there’s lots of room to spread out in the basement on a large dining table decked out in fairy lights.
7) Richmond Tea Rooms (city centre)
Take a trip down the rabbit hole to this traditional English tearoom, where the décor is totally Tim Burton-inspired and OTT. Richmond Tea Rooms offers a variety of afternoon tea packages such as ‘The Hatter’s Tea’ and ‘Gentleman’s Afternoon Tea’. If fancy lose tea is your forte, then here is where you should go.
Fantasy-induced and totally eccentric, this place will make you forget all about your uni work, as it really does set itself apart from anything else in the city centre.
8) Hey Little Cupcake! (Spinningfields)
Hey Little Cupcake! is a super cute Hello Kitty-esque cupcakery where each flavour of sponge is unique and designed with fabulous toppings.
There are a wide range of cupcakes to choose from that are themed depending on the season, such as their newest Christmas special, gingerbread man cupcake. It’s a little on the expensive side, but is a great place to grab a quick sweet treat and hot beverage in your uni work break.
9) V-Rev Vegan Diner (Northern Quarter)
OK, bear with me on this one. After being vegan for the best part of four months, I couldn’t have given up cake! A vibey café in the Northern Quarter, V-Rev oozes with cruelty-free vegan junk food.
The incredibly fluffy cakes are supplied by Lily and Dilly, who handcraft the innovative sponges named Kevin Bacon, Oreo Cookie, Mutiny on the Bounty and Pecan Latte.
This place is seriously vegan heaven, but don’t expect to eat anything under 500 calories here.
10) And The Dish Ran Away With The Spoon (West Didsbury)
The cow jumped over the moon…in joy at how cute this place is! Everything from The Dish Ran Away With The Spoon‘s location on Didsbury high street to the warm and welcoming staff is just lovely.
The sweet treats are displayed in such an aesthetically pleasing manner that it’s impossible to choose what to have. Adorable, delicious and a nice place to go if you want to get out of the inner city rush.
And the dish ran away with the spoon…whilst I ran away with the raspberry cake.
Have your cake and eat it, ladies and gentlemen…because I certainly did!
Thanks for reading and good luck with uni work.