Cafe Circa -Doune

Today was a cloudy drive through the Stirlingshire countryside and onto to the little town of Doune. The Scottish Antique and Arts centre 1 mile out of  Doune is also home to "Cafe Circa" . The Centre is well sign posted and I arrived just in time for a bite of lunch . The lunch review can be viewed on our Hotel/Restaurant tab on the homepage . I was however here for the Cakes and boy was I presented with cakes !!! The Cake display hits you When you enter this lovely homely Café and would be hard to refuse after a bite of lunch once seen. Wendy and Jamie Robertson run this very busy Café and share the Baking duties between them . Wendy has baked all her life and it was a pleasure to chat to her at length about tips and different methods we both used for our Baking. I was presented with a ridiculously huge amount of Cakes to try and all beautifully delivered on lovely China crockery. Where to begin is the issue with this review but here goes -  I really should learn to not judge a book by its cover and first up was what I thought was a really coarse looking sponge ,beautifully decorated . This turned out to be an unusual ( And I love unusual) Coconut Delice Cake . Very moist , full of flavour and texture and beautifully decorated with white chocolate and fresh fruit pieces. Loved it ! Next up was a variety of different sponge cakes , none least than an unusual carrot Cake made with dates (No sultanas or nuts) and had the combined flavour of a sticky toffee pudding/Carrot cake topped with a cream cheese frosting - Loved it ! The shortbread was melt in the mouth heaven and the Scones were just as I like - traditionally made with a hard crusty exterior and soft and flavour some in the inside. Wendy is known for producing a good range of Gluten Free cakes and Bakes and I tried an Apple and Almond cake - very good texture and flavour . I would say that if good food and good cakes is your thing then this place is for you . I will certainly be returning for a personal visit very soon. All the best and see you soon .

The Beech Tree Cafe

Another glorious day in Scotland with the Temperature hitting 25oc -perfect for a drive through William Wallace country and onto Dunblane. Now many of you may know this beautiful little town because of a certain Tennis Player but it now has a new reason to be cheerful. The stunning little Cafe by the name of " The Beech Tree Cafe " sits nestled into Dunblane town centre .With its well kept fresh flower hanging baskets and "al fresco" dining it invites you in. This Cafe is ten years old with its present owners - Trisha and Wilma ,Mother and daughter team. The baking is sublime and all handmade between them . I recieved a warm and nervous welcome from Trisha who ushered me to a table and continued to supply me with some of the most mouthwatering baking i have tasted in a while. I had Shortbread which in my opinion is one of the best i have tasted - light ,mouthwatering and full of flavour. I had Caramel Shortcake and Carrot Cake but the Iced gingerbread - oh my- again extremely skilled baking to achieve such a light full of flavour and excellent texture without killing it with the ginger. I also had one of the best Fruit Scones i have tasted in a while . Not doughy ,great colour ,Flavour and texture .. Well this little town of Dunblane has a wee gem on its doorstep and i for one would be in it every day if i lived there . Well done Trisha,Wilma and the team at Beech Tree Cafe .

Tilly Tearoom

awardTilly Tearoom
10a Bank Street
Tillicoultry
Near Stirling
FK136DP
Tel; 01259752642

Well folks after a great weekend in the Capital ,we took a drive back through Stirling and something took my eye about the sign for Tillicoultry (a place ive never been) so we took a detour and ended up at this tiny little Quirky Tearoom called Tilly in, yes you guessed it Tillicoultry. There was one tiny little table left next to a Log burning Stove as this Tearoom was jammed pack . It reminded me of the brilliant little curiosity shops you find off the beaten track. With tiny little teapots passing by us with little knitted jumpers on alongside vintage crockery this was right up my street. The cakes were packed into every corner of this tearoom and the decoration was simple fantastic. The beauty about places like this are the fact that the owner and family work tirelessly in the background and the front shop and wow does that mean you get Hospitality second to none that the bigger more marketed places have lost along the way. I absolutely loved this little shop and all because i watched the owner constantly making sure every cake that went out was dressed with attention and detail-impressed.The cakes however were terrific.I had the Hummingbird Cake which quite simply was the best ive had .My long suffering partner and driver had the Chocolate Cake and again excellent.But the Homemade Irish wheaten bread was my particular interest as its something which i also do in my shop and i know the work involved at producing this every single day> The Blueberry Scones looked absolutely jammed pack with huge big ripe Blueberries - oh i could go on forever -loved loved loved this tinly little shop of eccentricity .I will be back -Well done Team at Tilly Tearoom

The Wee Blether

The Wee Blether
I personally assessed the Wee Blether today with my long suffering husband ( Or Chauffeur as hes known) and picked a damp dreech midge ridden saturday for a drive through the Trossachs. Upon entering this remote haven you are instantly cheered up with the great sense of humour in all the signage and walls . The view could not be more relaxing and the welcome very friendly.The tearoom is unusually original and the owners have stamped there own mark on this premises. I unfortunately was not offered some samples to assess more in depth but what i purchased was lovely although i suspect not entirely homemade!! The variety on offer was superb and i loved the look of the Crannachan cake -Great idea and again would have loved to have sampled it. Plenty of different types of sponges and traybakes too. I would recommend this lovely tearoom for its Great cakes, chat and Humour.

The Wee Blether
Kinlochard
Aberfoyle
Stirlingshire FK8 3TL

Awaiting instruction for Re-Assessment.

The Ochil Fudge Pantry

awardThe Ochil Fudge Pantry
Unit 25
Alloa Trade Centre
Alloa
Clackmannanshire
Scotland FK101RX
TEL; 01259 217738/ Mobile 07515484871

Awarded on the spot today by Melanie Andrews .Very good quality fudge ,hygenically wrapped and presented with an extraordinary amount of different flavours and textures to choose from.Well priced and i simply loved the Liquorice flavour and i dont even like Liquorice .Very impressed .Well done

Buttercup cafe

awardButtercup cafe nominated online today .This will be assessed in June 2012
Renewed 2013

Buttercup Cafe
7 main street,Doune,Perthshire, FK16 6BJ
Tel; 01786 842 511

Today was a beautiful drive through Stirling and the Trossachs and eventually the beautiful little town of Doune. Amid all the Queens jubilee celebrations though, my hard task of sampling cakes still had to be done. Upon arrival i was very warmly welcomed by the owner Lorna Bishop. Its always a delight to be told of the history of the places i visit and the Grand tour was very informative. Lorna has been running Buttercup Cafe for a year and a half now and a qualified Chef before having children and taking on her present calling. Lorna and Diane are responsible for the vast array of cakes on display. There has been an extension to the rear of the cafe to cope with demand and a beautifully peaceful and bright courtyard for al fresco dining. My plan was to move on to our next assessment after visiting here but instead decided to stay for lunch. My first impressions on Buttercup was the cleanliness and bright and airy feel to it . I had a beautiful Homemade huge quiche with a simple salad, and fresh as you like coleslaw and potato salad, ,all washed down with a quality Ginger beer. The next course however was a fantastic surprise - A huge three tier display of practically every cake on display .Now although i seem to say this all the time -EVERY single sample of cake was just excuisite.From the multi layered chocolate,fudge,vanilla cake to the Malteser cake and Light,light Carrot cake .the bakewell slice was just excellent.All were fresh,fresh and fantastic. Gluten free cakes are also a big hit here . It amazes me every time i think i wont find anywhere better and then places like this turn up. Keep up the consistantly high standard Lorna and your team and i will be back .

Blairmains farm Shop

Blairmains farm Shop
This well run award winning farm shop is a real treat .What hits you immediately as you enter is the cleanliness and well mannered staff.Attentive but not intrusive.
everything is here that you would expect from a farm shop today including fresh fruit and vegetables and even locally sourced farmed meats. There is a large selection of unusual and usual gifts on show .The coffee area is wonderful wood tables with the most mouthwatering homebaking.Not to be missed if in the stirling area.

Blairmains Farm shop
Blairlogie
Stirling FK95QA
Tel; 01259 762266<
Awaiting Re-Assessment instructions -Please phone Melanie on 07855825367

Baking with Melanie Andrews

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