Local bakeries we love, in honour of GBBO
Bake Off is back so time to drag out the food mixer. Can't be bothered? fair enough! Put down that spatula and support these 8 drool-worthy Devon bakeries instead.
It’s Bake Off season and boy, are we ready for it this year – the reliability of great bakes (now common parlance thanks to GBBO!), good humour, and pure simple TV-shaped joy. It’s the televisual equivalent of an open fire and hearty bowl of stew on a freezing February day. It warms the cockles, so it does.
Anyway, I don’t know about you but now it’s back on the box, I’ve got a hankering for pastries and cakes with ‘a good crumb’. Here’s Muddy’s pick of the best bakeries in Devon.
Big Bakes Bakery, St Marychurch, Torquay
Muddy stumbled on this pretty little bakery (open Tues – Saturday) having veered off the south-west coast path at Babbacombe in need of sustenance, and was amazed to discover it has an impressive 81,000 insta followers! National cake delivery and a window full of tempting handmade cakes (S’more cupcakes!) and multi-layered cookies, and brownies (Caramel cornflake brownie!) is the reason, some so large it’s hard to get your chops around them. (A struggle but research and all that…)
Ooh la la! Hotfoot it to this indie French bakery and cafe on Market Street run by Julien and Guylaine Picamil for exquisite French pastries – we’re talking glistening fruity tarts, pure butter brioche, cream-filled choux pastries, almond macaron and savoury treats, like roasted Mediterranean veg and mozzarella in herby focaccia. You won’t get tastier, or more authentic, this side of the Channel. Parfait!
The Almond Thief, Dartington
Loved by hipsters and Radio 4 listeners alike, Dan at The Almond Thief makes near-legendary craft bread (mostly vegan), sourdough and cakes, sourcing his flour as locally as possible, including from on-site Dartington Mill. (You can also buy sourdough starter if you want to try your hand at baking your own.) They’re currently having a refit meaning they’re closed during September, but – thank the bunnage gods! – they’re back Thursday – Sunday from next month.
Jacka Bakery, Plymouth
Laying claim to being the oldest bakery in the UK (425 years!) and possibly the prettiest, Jacka’s is where you will find Muddy whenever we’re passing Plymouth Barbican, usually with an almond croissant or failing that a cinnamon swirl banana bread (or both) in our greedy little hands. And exciting news! They’re now open for your early morning coffee and cake fix, seven days a week, from 8.30am.
The Exploding Bakery, Exeter
A cool city bakery and cafe, locally famous for its topnotch ingredients and unique-flavoured tray bakes, which they supply wholesale to many a cafe around the county and beyond. (It’s been name-checked in Tatler, GQ, Vanity Fair.) Turn left out of Exeter Central train station and it’s right there, so you can grab that carrot cake or cherry pistachio bake when you’re in town for a spot of shopping.
Shaldon Bakery, Shaldon and Teignmouth
AKA The Surfing Bakers and home to something called the Uglibun, a giant sugar-and-spice hunk of carb, which is so loved by locals it has its own fan page. It’s a guaranteed filler-upper, best eaten when you’re starving, preferably sitting on Shaldon beach. Also makers of a darn fine pasty, and last time we looked, they had a brilliant meal deal on – £4.95 for a hot pasty (meat or cheese), a cake and a drink.
Boatyard Bakery, Exeter Quay
Here’s Muddy’s favourite Sunday morning coffee and cake refuge when the Mudlet is scrambling up the walls at Exeter’s Quay Climbing (opposite). Your cardamon croissant or brownie is best enjoyed with a newspaper, canal-side, where you will be entertained by SUP paddle-boarders finding their sea legs and all the cafe culture over on the piazza.
Heyl Bakery, Plymouth
Vegan bakes you’re after? Plymouth’s first 100% plant-based sourdough bakery, Heyl, is run by Sam and Kate who use locally-grown, organic and heritage grains for their delicious bakes. They took over the space vacated by Column Bakehouse on Royal William Yard from where you can order online for Friday collection. Expect naturally leavened loaves and buns, and seasonally-inspired treats, including damson bread. Also a feature at Tavistock Market and a pop-up at Jar in Plymouth.