Bakers Dozen (Okay, it’s 18 but you can’t have too much cake)
Sometimes, it’s all about the carbs. The smell of oven-warmed bread, the salt-laden flakiness of a buttery, the cool contrasting creaminess of cheesecake and sharp berries, the perfection of patisserie or the gloriously unrestrained sugar rush of icing on a cup cake. Here’s our pick of places to find the North-east’s best baked goods…
Huntly is probably best known for its shortbread, thanks to Dean’s of Huntly. You can sample the recipe at their shop and café just outside the town.
Our pick, however, is The Larder on Gordon Street. It’s a takeaway only service, offering sandwiches and typical lunchtime fare. They make our list because of their cheesecakes and tray bakes, which often combine confectionary toppings and a generous approach to portion sizes. If a Crème Egg Cheesecake or a Ferrero Rocher Millionaire’s Shortbread that you need to unhinge your jaw to bite through, appeal, then this is the place!
NEWBURGH & ELLON
Vegans have often been a bit short-changed when it comes to bakery products. If eggs, butter and cream are off the menu, then a bit of inventiveness is called for. Newburgh’s Vegan Bay is both unusual and exceptional in their offerings. They do a yummy cinnamon bun and some great scones, but, more importantly, they have created vegan butteries that we think easily rival, if not better, the traditional version. We know that’ll be considered blasphemous in some quarters, but they are seriously good. If you can’t make it to Newburgh, then you can order for home delivery or catch Vegan Bay at several farmers markets in the shire, but get there early because they often sell out.
In Ellon, Bakeology with Matt started up when a local chef got interested in artisan bread during lockdown. Since then, the enterprise has grown and you can find their stall at farmers markets and in Myriad, the gift shop. Matt offers lots of little treats, all served with flourish and finesse. Try the doughnut balls with caramel sauce or the chocolate flowerpot cakes. If you want to stick with savoury, there’s a great selection of breads, too.
Ritchie’s Bakery are probably the most old school of our picks, having been around since 1933. Pre-pandemic, they baked in Keith and sold via their store in Inverurie, but now offer home delivery and online ordering. We like their inventive muffins, including a Bakewell muffin and a Lemon Meringue version and their retro cakes.
Almondine, Aberdeen’s West End purveyor of enticing macarons and patisserie has opened a second branch in Inverurie. You’ll find it on Burn Lane. Everything looks perfect and the main difficulty is choosing what to plump for. The Hazelnut Paris-Breast has its fans as does the Chocolate and Pecan Brownie. If you’re veggie, vegan, kosher or halal, avoid anything with a mirror glaze. Online ordering is available if you’d rather eat
The Cool Gourmet is located on Stonehaven’s High Street, on the way down to the harbour. As well as being a tea room, they have a selection of freshly baked goods each day. They’re known for their scones, with four options available each day including a special cheese and Stornoway Black Pudding Scone on Saturdays, with home-made traditional butteries available as a Sunday morning treat.
It may seem a little strange to include a butcher on a list of the best places to buy bread and cakes, but Charles McHardy’s home made Triple Chocolate Brownies, combining crusty outsides with oozing centres are probably the best in the shire.
The Breadmaker at the foot of Rosemount Viaduct can be credited with bringing back artisan bread to the city. This social enterprise provides training and makes some of the best bread you’ll taste in Scotland. They do a good ciabatta and an outstanding spelt and honey loaf, a gluten-free loaf and their signature Rosemount Brownie Loaf, which uses six different grains. Great for muffins, pancakes and tray bakes too, and they do a delicious strawberry tart in the summertime.
Blackbird Bakery specialise in made to order cakes. They have an extensive
range of options on their Facebook page that can be ordered for collection. Facebook always has their latest opening hours and previews of the latest designs. Generally you’ll need to order about three days before you want your cake to be ready for collection. If you’d prefer some of their scrummy cupcakes, you can order in the morning and collect later in the day.
Cove’s The Cupcake Stop has just opened a second branch in Chapelton. Check their Facebook page for current opening times. They do some delicious themed cupcakes and cookie cakes and some rather indulgent munchie boxes. They offer special orders and celebration cakes, but require a couple of weeks’ notice.
O’Caykx can be found at the City South business park at Portlethen. They specialise in epic birthday, celebration and wedding cakes that combine outstanding design and great flavour. You can also order corporate branded cupcakes and they often have classes for both adults and children, holiday cupcake camps and group workshops.
La Gourmandaise, probably better known as the French Patisserie on Thistle Street, has been in the city for over 20 years. In all that time, no-one else comes close when it comes to producing the perfect baguette. You’ll also find croissants, pain au chocolat and some superb breakfast pastries and a wonderful selection of individual and multi-portion fruit tarts and cute little quiches.
Cakerella Cakery, in the town’s High Street, not only has a great name, but a great reputation for amazing celebration cakes as well as cupcakes and fancy pieces galore.
Lana Lou’s Cake Studio is further along the High Street. Owner Alanna studied mechanical engineering, but with the arrival of her nephews became, ‘Auntie Alanna who bakes cakes’. Now she creates astounding cakes for birthdays, weddings and special events and also makes cupcakes, brownies, treat boxes and cake pizzas to order.
You’ll find Highlander’s Bakehouse out at Crathie just down the road from Balmoral. We have no idea if Charles and Camilla pop in for a Nutella Croissant or one of Highlander’s Sweet Swirls filled with raspberry or lemon, but we could well understand if they did. You can also order online for collection.
Crannach Bakery are also out in Deeside. You’ll find them at Riverside Cottage Café in Cambus O’May. They are best known for their rustic breads and can often be found at various farmers markets in the region. They also do some charming little mini-cakes, hearty flapjacks, scones and brownies as well as offering classes in bread making.
Moll’s Lil Bakery specialises in indulgent cookies, topped with confectionery. You’ll find everything from Crème Eggs, Oreos and Biscoff to a Caramel Freddo atop gooey sauces and frostings. Mixed boxes are available for order from her Facebook page. Delivery is available to Oldmeldrum, Pitmedden, Newmachar, Inverurie, Kintore, Blackburn, Aberdeen and surrounding areas,