Rated: Exeter Street’s Pizza Dolce.

Pizza Dolce

Your jaw won’t know what hit it

What? One of my favourite concepts revisited: the Sweet Pizza.

Made with a thin Italian bread-style base, this particular variety lacks the exciting toppings of Custard and Fruit that I’ve sampled on other Dessert Pizzas here in London.

Nevertheless, the principle still floats my boat.

Artisinal bread impregnanted with Raisins and covered in a scattering of Sugar?

Perfection, no?

Er… No.

Alas, its simplicity didn’t quite work in its favour, despite the nice balance of flavours. The reason? The base itself.

You see, without the distraction of various toppings, the success of this dessert was almost entirely dependent on the bread, which was so tough and dry it actually hurt to eat it.

Never before has my mandible had such a work out: a few bites in and I was already feeling the pain of lactic acid in my jaw muscles.

Now don’t get me wrong, Ogglers. I’m all for burning off calories in order to justify seconds (or even firsts) of desserts and cakes.

Burning off facial tissue however?

No, thank you, Pizza Dolce

Where? Sold by the Exeter Street Bakery at various London Farmers’ Markets (including the one at Marylebone; occasional home to the Tuffet and Manor House Fruit Cake)

How Much? £1.30 for a pretty big slice (more than enough to get two jaws screeching)

Rating?

4/10

Filling me softly. Not.

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Rated: Goat’s Milk Fudge.

Goat's Milk Fudge

Goat’s Milk Fudge: I kid you not

What? A pale and soft – almost shapeless – Fudge, made using Goat’s Milk and Goat’s Butter.

Unlike the usual Goat-infused Cheeses (and special Goat-flavoured Cheesecakes), this particular Fudge is almost entirely devoid of that goaty tang, with only the tiniest hints here and there – and then only if you focus very hard.

Mainly, you just get the sugar.

While I’m generally glad it’s not pungent, without the unusual flavour it kind of lacks a USP, tasting mainly like every other Fudge (albeit a great deal squidgier than the norm).

That said, if you happen to be someone who just cannot tolerate cow’s milk, this might well be the confectionery of your dreams…

Where? From the Wobbly Bottom Farm market stall (as seen in Islington Farmers’ Market)

How Much? £2

Rating?

7/10

Solid effort – liquid Fudge; probably won’t get your goat

Rated: Sweet Tooth Factory’s Boston Cream Pie.

Boston Cream Pie

Neither creamy nor Pie-like

What? This was something I’ve been waiting to have for some time, but never seen anywhere else in London town.

It was my first ever taste of Boston Cream Pie: not a Pie in the traditional sense, but a sponge with Dark Chocolate Icing, and a Vanilla Custard seam.

So was it worth the wait?

Well, while it was light and reasonably tasty, it just wasn’t the Cream-filled yum-fest I’d hoped for.

Perhaps that’s just the way with BCPs, but a Pie without Pastry seems like no kind of Pie to me…

Where? This specimen came from the Sweet Tooth Factory stall

How Much? £3.20

Rating? 5/10

Nice – but nothing special (and fairly pricey with it). Their Salted Caramel Cheesecake is a much more impressive bet…

Rated: Madame Macaroon’s Fab Florentines.

Florentine

Yes, Ma’am!

What? Believe it or not, you are currently looking at THE most delicious Florentine that this Pud-Hog’s ever eaten.

As far as luxury biscuits go, it ticked all the boxes and then some: a generous dose of Almonds, juicy Glacé Cherries, scraps of moist Mixed Peel, and a very decent slathering of Chocolate.

The best thing about it by far, however, was the texture: crispy where it mattered as well as super chewy.

Overall, it seemed more like a Cookie than the harder, toffee-like Florentines made by bakeries such as Fudges – and was, in my view, all the better for it.

Impossible to leave alone, I took mine out of its bag for a taste, then found I just couldn’t stop

Where? Track one down at Madame Macaroon’s stall, loitering in various London locations every Sunday (check the M.M. website and Twitter for details)

How Much? Just ONE of your English pounds (bargain!)

Rating?

9/10

Madame Macaroon? More like Queen Florentine

Rated: The Rhubarb and Hazelnut Tuffet.

NOT to be sat on

It’s a Tuffet, Jim – but not as we know it

What? Never tasted a Tuffet before?

That’s hardly surprising, given that Tuffet is usually a word for a low seat (of the type perched on by Little Miss Muffet).

Recently, however, Tuffet has started to mean something else; reclaimed by Jacqui of Saucy Puds, in order to name her tasty homemade creations.

These Tuffets are a lot like Muffins, but covered in baked sugar and flat on the top (all the better for sitting on, I suppose).

Made using seasonal, locally-sourced ingredients, the Tuffet I went for was flavoured with Rhubarb and Hazelnuts.

Despite its humble appearence it was truly delicious: moist with Rhubarb strands (but not bitter), and crunchy with chopped and whole Nuts.

A pleasure from start to finish, it tasted like a real Cake of the Earth: golden, light and wonderfully wholesome

Where? The Man and I saw Saucy Puds at Marylebone Farmers Market (not far from the stall with that mutant Manor House Fruit Cake). They’re there on the 1st and 3rd Sundays of every month

How Much? £1.75 each

Rating?

9/10

Not even the scariest spider could tear me away

Rated: Karantania’s Pumpkin Seed Oil & Chocolate Cake.

Chocolate Pumpkin Seed Oil Cake

I’ve got tiers in my eyes

What? A majestic-looking, three-tiered Chocolate Sponge, supposedly doused with Pumpkin Seed Oil.

The frosting was lovely (a rich Dark Chocolate Ganache), but between these layers the sponge wasn’t quite so successful.

Try as I might, I couldn’t detect the Pumpkin Seed flavour I’d hoped for. Worse still, the Oil appeared to have only suffused the Sponge’s central portion, making it a darker shade of brown.

Attractive as this two-toned vision was, less dryness on the top and bottom layers would have been so much more appealing

Where? This Sponge was bought from Karantantia’s stall at the Southbank’s weekly Real Food Market (not far from Outsider Tart’s more moreish offerings)

How much? £2.50 for a decent-sized slab

Rating? 6/10

While the price (and size) were right up my street, the flavour appeared to have stopped at the outskirts of town

Rated: The St John Eccles Cake.

St John Eccles Cake

Currantly one of the best in the biz

What? A Currant-stuffed pocket of sugared Puff Pastry – almost as good as ol’ Granny Hog’s version (not that I’m biased… ahem).

On a serious note, rarely do shop-bought Eccles Cakes taste this decent: the filling was so thick with fruit it had practically turned into Fudge (with very nice nutmeggy notes to spice things up).

The Pastry was super crisp too – just as it should be with Eccles

Where? This proud specimen came from the St John Bakery cubbyhole at Maltby Street (same place I got that outrageous Doughnut)

How Much? £2.50

Rating? 7/10

Ain’t got a granny to make one for you? Then this is the next best thing…

Rated: Sweet Tooth Factory’s Salted Caramel Cheesecake.

Cara-swell

Cara-swell

What? A compact yet substantial cube of (vegetarian) Cheesecake, so thick that our fork almost broke in two.

Despite being soft, the Biscuit base still hit the spot – and the overall texture was just what the doctor ordered (sticky, moist and seriously dense).

Tangy and slightly fruity, it’s not your average Salt Caramel flavour – and tastes quite a lot like the oily Artisan du Chocolat variety (as reviewed in the Pud-Hog’s Salt Caramel Test).

Nevertheless, the flavour was great overall – rich and sweet, with only a smidgen of bitterness.

In a word: INTENSE

Where? The Sweet Tooth Factory stall (on a day it appeared at the Southbank, surrounded by clamouring customers)

How Much? £3.50 for a decent-sized square

Rating? 8/10

Well worth seeking out – just bring a good fork (and a ravenous hunger)

Junk Bars, Dirtballs & Cookie Dough Truffles.

Do you remember when I wrote about Cake Pops?

They were delicious – but I couldn’t quite see the point of the stick. Why not just dole out balls of Cake, I wondered? Why bother adding to landfill?

Well, in December, I came across these, fresh from the Kooky Bakes stall (no.7 on my Top Ten Pud Producers list):

That's more like it

Not a stick in sight

These were more like what I’d envisioned – stick-free clumps with exciting fillings: Cookie Dough, ‘Dirtball’ and Peanut Butter Pretzel.

With each £4 bag holding four tasty Truffles, the only issue I then had was deciding what to buy.

For a while I stood there, agonising.

Then, just as I was ready to make my choice, I saw something even more thrilling: a bag of thick Chocolate shards, littered with Pretzels, Peanut M&Ms, and – wait for it – READY SALTED CRISPS.

And the name of this shameless creation?

Well, it could only be: the Junk Bar.

So filthy...

Filthy. In a good way

How the heck was a Hog to resist?

In the end I skipped home with a bag of goodies – not just slabs of Junk but Truffles too.

The Cookie Dough kind were delicious: extremely moist, jam-packed with Chocolate Chips, and – as far as my taste buds could tell – very faintly alcoholic (a hint of Rum, perhaps? Or maybe a potent shot of Vanilla…).

The Dirtballs, meanwhile, were not quite so much of a textural thrill, but tasty nonetheless, with innards of Chocolate Fudge Cake and Oreo crumbs on their Dark Chocolate coats.

In both cases, however, it was the size that really won me over: each ball took two or three bites to vanish (just as all good Truffles should).

And as for the Junk Bar… well… that’s a whole different class of Hoggery.

What with all those crunchy toppings, its shards were near impossible to eat slowly.

Indeed, its whole make-up demands that you chomp every mouthful with gusto, working your jaw like a garbage compactor.

Chocolate, Peanuts, Pretzel, Potato – none taste quite so good when sucked. Of course, this is great if you’re in the mood for a mindless few minutes of munching; not so much so if you’re after a night of indulgence.

Thankfully, that evening I fancied the former, so down the chute it went.

You can’t leave junk lying around, after all…

Cakehole’s Coffee & Walnut Cake.

Cakehole Coffee and Walnut Cake

The Coffee Cake that fills a hole – and then some…

In all my years as a Pud-Hog, I never once thought of Coffee and Walnut Cake as a luxury item.

Essential tea-time staple, perhaps, but not generally the main event.

After a trip to Herne Hill Market, however, I’m starting to think that I just hadn’t tried the right one…

There, you see, at a stall run by Cakehole, I picked up a rather appealing slice in an exciting end-of-day mark-down (being a bargainous £1.50 – or £1 less than the norm).

It was the last slice left – pleasingly large and fat with filling – and, having walked for some miles before finding it, I’d certainly built up the hunger to knock it back.

Or so I thought.

Those first few mouthfuls were totally dreamy, with an obscenely generous quotient of milky Coffee icing and a scattering of finely-chopped Walnuts, which gave the top level a lovely crunch.

All too soon, however, after just under half had been eaten, I suddenly felt unable to finish the rest.

It was all those thick layers of filling: super-sweet slabs which seemed to exceed the subtler sum of the Sponge.

While they started out as a blessing, providing three decadent pockets of moisture, eventually they verged towards being sickly.

At that point, I did something quite out of character: I decided to stop eating.

Not since Honey & Co’s Chocolate Sandwich had I felt such a need to share – but the Man didn’t want to partake (being no fan of either Coffee or Nuts).

Instead I was forced to wrap the Cake up and pop it back into my bag.

For a moment I felt like I’d failed. The Sponge had overpowered me.

But then I realised: two sittings of Cake are better than one.

The next day, prepared for its sugary hit, I brought out the half-eaten chunk after lunch.

This time, it was the perfect size.

And thankfully, once again, it was delicious.