An island of cake: the best of British sweet treats
Tea and cake: a great British institution, but slightly different everywhere you go. The rich and varied heritage of the UK’s regions comes out in their baking, meaning there’s a wealth of sweet treats to choose from. Whether it’s as the focal point of a celebration meal, or a simple tasty treat curled up with a friend, there’s cakes hailing from all across the UK to suit every occasion.
There’s nothing quite like a beautifully decorated cake to set the tone of a party – and picking one of the UK’s favourite cakes is a good bet. A classic Dundee fruit cake studded with almonds is enough to set mouths watering, but also provides an excellent sturdy base for more ambitious designs at Christmas and other celebrations. If you’re after a truly crowd-pleasing cake though, a Victoria sponge is your friend. The sponge and filling can be adapted to almost any flavour combination, and transformed into stunning creations fit for any occasion.
Cupcakes are another favourite, and are equally versatile in flavour and design. A fantastic alternative to the traditional wedding cake, or indeed a bouquet of flowers, cupcakes give a classy vintage feel to your table. They’re also just at home at a children’s’ party, laden with sweets and covered in (edible) glitter.
Shortbread started out life as a twice baked ‘biscuit bread’ in the medieval period – but is now an icon of Scotland and sold in tins by the thousand. It’s also really easy to make yourself, and ideal for decorating for birthdays or Christmas, whether you’re aiming for a classy finish or just want to get the kids involved. If you’re feeling adventurous, try topping it with caramel and chocolate for the ‘millionaire’ experience. There’s so many other biscuit recipes you can try – if you’re partial to dried fruit, take inspiration from a classic florentines, and those wanting a citrus tang should look up Shrewsbury Biscuits.
This doesn’t even begin to touch on buns and breads: Chelsea buns, scones, lardy cake, fat rascals, eccles cakes, bara brith and even Bath buns.
We really are spoilt for choice in the UK when it comes to cakes and biscuits, so if you’re thinking of making your next occasion that extra bit special with an edible masterpiece, check out the incredible showstopper cakes in the gallery here.
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