Thursday, 5 May 2016

Lemon drizzle cake wars : the ultimate taste test of coffee shop bakes

Sometimes you find yourself with the nearest option to satisfy your cake appetite being a Starbucks or a Costa, where you can pretty much guarantee that no matter where you are in the country they will have the same selection of treats. I've done the grueling, tasking, cake eating work for you as I put the nation's chain coffee shop bakes to the test!

For my second round of cake wars I've chosen a trusty favourite, the Lemon drizzle cake. A tasty moist sponge with plenty of lemon flavour, sometimes in loaf form, sometimes in layered form with a sweet lemon flavoured frosting, but one thing that's always consistent is that rich lemony flavour.

To test out the nation's Lemon drizzle cake selection I visited a few different coffee shops and cafes across the country in order to crown a delicious winner.

The first place I visited was Starbucks, their take on the Lemon drizzle cake, simply named Lemon loaf, is a simple yet humble loaf shaped cake decorated with a strands of lemon peel and a sugar glaze.

Described as being 'hand drizzled in lemon juice', you can really taste the lemon flavour, the resulting bake is a moist and light cake that's certainly rich in flavour. The sugar and peel topping adds a bit of texture to the cake that's overall a rather delicious cake. 3/4

Next up was Marks and Spencer's cafe, their food hall's Lemon drizzle cake is just one of the many tasty bakes you'd expect to see making an appearance in their cafe, always a good way to sample a slice before you buy the full cake to take away. Their version of the classic cake is a layered sponge cake finished off with lemon buttercream.

A lovely moist sponge with plenty of lemon drizzled over, there's an abundance of rich lemon flavour to the buttercream layered between the sponge and a generous helping slathered on top too. A very light but rich tasting bake that's certainly tasty, the only downside is that the cake is a little on the small side. 3/4

John Lewis cafe's take on the Lemon drizzle cake is a gluten free version of the classic in the form of a Lemon polenta cake. Similar to the Starbucks take this is a loaf cake with a simple drizzling of lemon, the polenta adds a crumbly yet crunchy texture to the cake that's certainly different.
The lemon flavour is subtle compared to the others but it's still a rich and moist bake and a rather generous portion size too, a great gluten free option on the high street. 3/4

And the final stop on the Lemon cake tasting was Costa, similar to the M & S take on the Lemon drizzle cake, theirs is a delicious sandwich cake with a hint of lemon, a generous slathering of buttercream between the layers and on top, finished off with strands of lemon peel.

A deliciously sharp yet sweet cake, nicely balanced out with the addition of the buttercream layers. The buttercream is rich and sweet and certainly balances out the sharp flavour. A rather tasty take on the traditional Lemon drizzle cake, my only faulting is that it could have done with a little more buttercream. 3/4

The overall cake verdict, it's pretty hard to choose when all these bakes are so different yet just as delicious. If it's a deliciously sweet, lemon bake that your after you really can't go wrong with Costa's Lemon cake, an indulgent take on the traditional Lemon drizzle cake that certainly won't disappoint. But if it's a traditional bake that your after then you'll want to pay Starbucks a visit for their Lemon loaf.

Images: Marks & Spencer, Costa & Starbucks.