2016 has been an interesting year. Britain out, Trump in, Harambe gone but not forgotten and Kanye's plans on remixing Bowie tracks (god help us all).
However, in such tumultuous times our desserts have rarely let us down. In fact 2016 has seen a great boom for creative treats. We've seen the introduction of Freakshakes here in London and a surge of pan-Asian style dessert cafes with matcha still being a hot topic at the moment (matcha is gross...people are lying to you when they say otherwise).
Other trends have come and sort of fizzled out, quite literally, like the sizzling cookie doughs. Anyone still doing those? And the now famous Milk Train candyfloss ice cream hype has been firmly hit by TFL delays as constant bad reviews of style over substance continue to roll in. Ouch.
There are some shining lights in the dessert world though, places we should all go to at least once to get our sweet fixes. Here are my top 10 of 2016. It's all subjective, everyone has their own tastes. I've generally had a pretty high hit rate on good desserts, apart from that one time we don't talk about much (matcha cake from hell, Letto Caffe cough cough).
So, without further ado, here are my top 10 of 2016.
10. MA' PLUCKER - Cherry Pie
This was an amazing surprise for me. I was expecting a basic plate with a deep dish style slice of pie with a scoop of ice cream plopped on the side. What came to the table was this very cool army mess tin with a stunningly delicious, sweet, flaky, buttery pie with tarte fruit and smooth vanilla ice cream. The only sounds from my side of the table were 'mmmmmm'. Tenth is far from bad for a place that pretty much is only known for it's chicken.
9. SCOOP GELATO - Gelato
We lost our dear friend Haagen Dazs earlier this year and Scoop, in my opinion, is the best replacement I've found to fill the gap. The moment I had my first taste of their gelato, my first words were "I'm coming back here". Their cones are something special and their gelato is a pleasure to eat. Best ice cream this year, great job guys & gals.
8. CHAI KI - Malai Cheesecake
Cheesecakes are massively hit and miss for me. But Chai Ki delivered the best of the year in this area for me. Great presentation, super creamy with slight hints of citrus dolloped with fresh berries and coulis all topping a tasty biscuity base pushes this into eight.
7. THE SWAN - Afternoon Tea
I'm not really an afternoon tea type of person. I'm too informal for all the pomp and circumstance to be fair. I've been to a couple but they all tend to be a bit...meh overall. The Swan however does it with style. While I went to a moderately large event it may be different on a smaller scale, but the quality of food, especailly the desserts were seriously on point. Head chef Jean Claude Arismendi, I salute you.
6. MIKI'S PARADISE - Freakshakes
Miki's Paradise won Time Out's 2016 I Love London award and I think it's well deserved. It's a small place in Holloway, sort of out the way from the hustle of the city, but they take pride in their work and it shows. Molly Bakes may have brought the Freakshakes over to the UK but Miki's easily bests them in the quality department.
5. I LOVE NATA - Pastéis de Nata
Possibly one of the more simpler desserts on this list, but less is more sometimes. I literally Love Nata! I'm not fussed about the place or prices or people (that's not a dig at any of those), the natas are just that good. You can't beat the just out of the oven freshness, it's one of the most comforting treats you'll have in this cold winter chill. Go and buy some now.
4. ATTENDANT CAFE - French Toast
Their menu changes seasonally I think so the French toast is likely to be a different beast by now, but my vanilla French toast with fresh fruit experience at the Shoreditch branch was one of the best this year. If they were priced slightly lower (feels a tad too pricy compared with the local competition) they'd have jumped straight to third place.
3. KOVA PATISSERIE - Raspberry Rose
Kova is the new kid on the block. Only opened in late September but it's making huge strides in popularity for their inspired desserts. It's one of the many Asian-fusion style cafes, but it's by far one of the best I've ever been to. The raspberry rose tart is a thing of beauty and for once isn't all style over substance having the taste to match. You'll be missing out if you don't go. Straight into third for a good reason.
2. THE BOOK CLUB - Pancakes
Some of my regular followers on Instagram will be surprised this isn't in first place on the list. I rave on about TBC constantly. It's one of my all time favourite spots to eat in London. It's well priced and the food shouts quality, the pancakes being the best part though. My catchprase this year has literally been "the best pancakes in London". That statement still holds true to this day. If you haven't tried this place yet you're going to the wrong places.
1. RED GINGHAM BAKERY - Kinder Loaf Cake
A dessert with a surprise wins my number one spot this for 2016. Everyone loves a Kinder Egg. There's nothing more fun then finding out what toy is hiding in the inside. But that's not what makes this dessert so special. It's actually a delicious cake all in itself. It's homely, it's rustic, it's got everything you want in a good cake. It's not overly sweet and far from being dry and topped with awesome buttercream AND it's only £3.50 (last time I checked). It's a bargain and a truly tasty one at that.
You can find this bad boy (and many other themed loaf cakes) at Rupert Street Market on Thursday & Fridays making this even more exclusive as you can't pick one up whenever you feel like. Their social media presence isn't even on any radar so it's purely by chance that I know about this place and I'm so glad I do. Without a doubt my best of 2016. Totally well deserved.