Sugar Junction: best cakes in Manchester?
It was the day of the christening of the royal baby princess and so to celebrate I decided to do something terribly English on the first day of my personal mission to find Manchester’s best cake. Sugar Junction has quite possibly the sweetest decor in the Northern Quarter. The furnishings are all perfectly selected for hip, understated quaintness so that every vintage lampshade, every floral cushion appears to have been chosen with love. Every table is decked with a uniquely pretty table cloth and a little china vase of wildflowers. Elements of old world grandeur are hinted at here in the form of overhanging chandeliers and a lovely old gramophone.
The tea perfumed interior is light and airy even on one of the hottest days of July. Everything has the sense of freshness and calm; a place of serenity in the heart of the city. The staff are so admirably warm and welcoming that they might well be welcoming you into their home rather than their business. The result is a relaxed atmosphere where couples and groups of friends chatter and gossip happily over their teacups.
We ordered a pot of tea from the extensive tea menu as I firmly believe that no good cake tasting session should go ahead without a good brew to wash the cake down with. Tea lovers will be happy to know that Sugar Junction serve 25 speciality teas for thirsty patrons to choose from; from Flowering Tea to a Northern Quarter Blend. These teas are custom blended for Sugar Junction by Blends for Friends, a high quality tea company. We opted for the yummy sounding Nuts About Tea blend. This not only had a title that summed up my relationship to tea but also promised marzipan aromas and the luscious taste of vanilla and almond.
It arrived in quite simply the prettiest eclectic tea set that I have ever seen; complete with a delicate tea strainer and an adorable little milk jug. The tea itself smelt and tasted phenomenal. Particularly when, rather naughtily, I slipped in a couple of sugar lumps. The heady, distinctive flavourings of marzipan and vanilla tasted like a cake within itself which was an idea further complemented by the suggested crunchy texture of the almond notes. There is nothing like a good brew on a long, lazy afternoon and Sugar Junction have this down to an art form.
There were a number of scrumptious looking cakes placed temptingly on display. These included a particularly beautiful looking white chocolate and strawberry cake which looked almost too pretty to eat and a huge squidgy looking carrot cake. I opted for a slice of blueberry and lemon cake. I adore the intense, tangy taste of blueberries when paired with the soft flavorings of cake mixture. I also happen to believe that sharp bursts of citrus enhance the overall taste of most desserts.
This particular cake did not disappoint and left me feeling weak at the knees with its cloud like sponge and the sort of exceptional cream cheese icing that I could personally eat a whole bowl of. The blueberries and the lemon complimented each other and lent zesty, super clean notes of summer. However, they did not detract from the daisy fresh, buttery heavenliness of the sponge. Sugar Junction has truly set the bar sky high when it comes to a superior standard of tea and cake and will be a tough one for its competitors to beat. I cannot recommend an afternoon spent at Sugar Junction highly enough and look forward to my next visit.