January 09: cold, grey weather, mates being made redundant, gloomy recession headlines everywhere. What you need is a perky pick-me-up: less than three quids' worth of sugary smile. A sweet treat on the cheap. A guilt-free guaranteed grin generator. In short, you need a trip to Candy Cakes.
Candy Cakes have three shops in London. Most recently, the cute cake-cum-sweet-shop company has been invited to set up shop in Covent Garden. With a swathe of green paint and pretty pink stools, they've taken over a spot in one of the vaulted spaces, and filled it with the most amazing cake creations you've ever seen.
We popped down this morning to meet the MD, Michael Thomaides, who was very excited to show us around the latest Candy Cakes treasure trove. "When we saw the space, we knew this was exactly where we wanted to be. I'm very happy to be in Covent Garden," he told us. So were we.
The two other Candy Cakes branches (Monmouth Street, Goodge Street) offer hot food in addition to the coffee and cakes; Covent Garden presents a more streamlined source of sumptuous sugar: cakes, sweets, ice cream, milk shakes in an atmosphere that can't fail to make you smile. Cute art on the walls and smiley attentive staff add to the feeling that nothing bad could happen while you're enveloped in this sugared, pastel haven.
They're a clever company too, Candy Cakes. Celeb fans, we're told, include Madge, Kate, Helena Costume-Drama and Nelson Mandela. Other fans use their facebook page. They've got plans for franchises. And an international vision.
And the cakes? Well, they're pretty damn good. Light (once you've got through that hopelessly thick, indulgent icing), buttery, fluffy and fun. We sampled a delicious blueberry muffin with a gooey, cheese-cakey centre, topped with alarmingly pink icing and baby pink candy. Followed by a bite of an All Sorts: chocolate icing, chocolate cake, and chocolate chips, topped with tangy liquorice allsorts. Surprising, in a good way.
Now, if only we could think of a fitting phrase about eating cakes during an economic crisis, we'd have the perfect round-off to this feature. Think, think... It's no good; those pictures are just too distracting...
Candy Cakes have three stores in London: Covent Garden Piazza, 36 Monmouth Street and 26 Goodge Street. You can also buy them online at www.candycakes.eu. If you're interested in the Valentine's Day offerings, they're available from next week. Cake prices start at just £2.60