I’ve always been disappointed by bakeries, especially in London. The cakes always look so pretty and delicious but then I take a bite and they never up to their promise. Morena Bakery is the only place I have been to where each and every sweet treat I have tried tastes even better than it looks (and I promise you, they look like works of art!)
I came across this gem of a place via a small stall in Brick Lane Sunday Up market and haven’t looked back, visiting the shop as often as I can.
The actual shop is near Brick Lane and painted a bright marigold colour on the outside. Inside, the walls and floor are white, accentuated only by the bright knitted wall displays and the multicoloured treats. I absolutely love the feel inside, please give my compliments to the designer. There is a definite feel of the Paraguayan gaucho, with intricately worked leather stools, matching sugar boxes and yerba mate gourds made of horn. Plain thistles are placed in little vases on each table – turning the ordinary into extraordinary. I don’t think I had ever appreciated the beauty of a thistle quite so much before.
A lot of the recipes use dulce de leche which is a sort of caramelised milk and translates roughly as ‘milk candy’. I grew up in Spain which has strong ties to Latin America so dulce de leche was readily available in the stores. I would often indulge in it by adding a heaped spoonful on top of my cereal, mixing it with sliced bananas or even just eating it from the jar! However the imagination shown by this bakery by including it in so many of their treats is amazing!
I have tried almost all the sweets at Morean Bakery so i’ll write a few lines about my favourites.
Passion fruit and chocolate tart:
This creamy yet tangy tart is essentially just a ganache on a dark chocolate pastry base: It’s simple and executed so well. Just enough sweetness that is tastes delicious but that you don’t feel sick after eating it. I also love the base, they haven’t over-salted it as I find so many other tarts do, instead allowing the flavour of the cocoa to blossom. Highly recommended!
Chocolate and chili tart:
They have unfortunately stopped making this particular tart – now only make the plain chocolate tart. The chocolate filling is incredible – rich, but again, like the passion fruit tart, not too sweet! I did rather like the chili powder sprinkled on top, so was a little disappointed when they removed it, however I understand that not everyone in London is as open minded!
Dulce de leche banoffee pie:
This is definitely one of my favourites! A deliciously perfect portion of banana, dulce de leche and whipped cream on top. This is much softer than the above two and… maybe you can kid yourself that you’re getting one of your 5 a day!
Dulce de leche and coconut slice:
This is a slightly smaller portion than any of the above so more managable when you’re not so hungry. A slice of dense coconut cake, moist and exotic, with a thin layer of dulce de leche inside. Perfection!
Dulce de leche cheesecake:
I’ve never really enjoyed cheesecake but I actually loved this one! The first time we found the Morena Bakery stall at the Up Market, we sat down to eat our desserts sharing a table with another lady. I could tell she was eyeing our chocolate tart so we offered her a bite and she was so impressed she got herself a slice of the cheesecake and ofcourse offered it to us. I really must try it again soon.
This is dulce de leche in its purest form – little teardrops of it are placed in between small pastry discs and topped with a soft flower of chewy meringue. Absolutely beautiful to look at and even better to taste! I could happily have eaten 3, 4… even 10 in one go.
They also do a great dulce de leche carrot cake – I personally haven’t been able to eat carrot cake ever since I overindulged in it during my first year of university (a cautionary tale indeed), however I tried a small bite and I must say it was very good – though not quite good enough to make me want to eat the whole slice.
All in all I highly recommend this little place to anyone who cares about taste and flavour, the delightful presentation is just the cherry on the top! The girls who work here are really friendly and I have often found it a great place to remind myself that I do speak another language!