If you're following The Great British Bake Off and are inspired by the showstoppers, want to rise to the challenge of the technicals, or are simply watering at the mouth and want to know where to get your hands on a great bake of your very own, we're pleased to serve up a delightful batch of Oxford-based shops and cafés to satisfy your culinary needs.
Sliced bread may be the thing that all other great things are measured by, but increasingly people are hankering after the complex, interesting and wholesome flavours of fresh, locally-baked sourdough. Natural Bread, based in Woodstock (but also stocked in farm shops, market stalls and cafés throughout the county), have you covered with their delectable range. Modern Baker's offering takes a more scientific approach, pioneering different grains to ensure their bakes are as nutritious as possible - while remaining tasty of course!
For a big celebration or a tasty pick-me-up, Oxford boasts some quality independent cake specialists. The Cake Shop in the Covered Market custom-make all kinds of creations, while also stocking a pleasing plethora of decorative bits and bobs for your home baking. Oxford-based Happy Cakes make cupcakes to order, perfect for parties. If it's just a slice you're after, the rotating selection at Silvie's Bakery is not to be missed.
If the rich offerings of patisserie baking are encouraging you to treat yourself, you're spoiled for choice amongst Oxford's patisserie havens: from freshly-baked breakfast pastries at Taylors (who also sell pastéis de nata, Portuguese custard tarts which have enjoyed a boom in popularity since they were part of a previous Bake Off technical) to the elaborate decadence on offer at Gatineau. For an alternative pastry treat, Meli, the Greek Deli on Cowley Road, is a firm favourite, offering all the baklawa you could want.
Whether you're planning to melt and craft it into an intricate cake-top decoration or simply devour it on its own, there is an abundance of luxurious quality chocolate to be found in Oxford. Seek out Coco Noir in Headington, Wicked Chocolate in the Covered Market and Fairtrade at St Michael's for their Divine range.
Keeping students well-stocked with hearty fare from their home in the Covered Market for many years, Pieminister is a destination for any fans of the humble pie, elevated to a thing of beauty. We've done the legwork in case you need guidance on what to choose from their inventive menu: see our group review here. For more of a sit-down pie appreciation session, the menu at The Victoria Arms in Jericho is also exclusively pie based, including multiple veggie options.
Become a Star Baker
For those rare or difficult-to-work-with ingredients that'll elevate your creations to showstopping heights, whether that's candied fruit or the best-quality eggs, you can find some gems by exploring Oxford's Delis - have a browse through our guide to find your nearest one. Happy munching!