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‘Ello Amblers! This month has been a little quieter for me, thankfully, after the chaos of October. I’ve been enjoying the rest and planning some wintery treats and special cakes for December. I’ve had an intriguing request for something involving chocolate, hazelnuts and caramel. I’m thinking a praline cake with lashings of caramel and hazelnut brittle!

I’ve also been a bit nostalgic, remembering the horror of the pumpkin cupcakes I was attempting for a Thanksgiving feast with some American friends a few years ago. With a mis-printed recipe and 5 attempts at varying the amount of milk, I think I managed to salvage about 6, before I had a little tantrum and may or may not have screamed at them and thrown them in the bin. But we can laugh about it now…

As they have recently been awarded a customer service award for best coffee shop in Chester, I felt it was time to see what The Jaunty Goat had to offer. They’ve been a firm favourite of mine for coffees for a little while now, but I’d never had the opportunity to try their cakes before. The counter always looks tempting, with a wide array of freshly made cakes and sandwiches. We opted for the chocolate and raspberry tart and the orange and bergamot slice to go with our drinks. The damage – £12.10

Immediately, I was impressed with the orange and bergamot slice. It seemed to have layers of flavour that unravelled in your mouth; with both the orange and the bergamot being distinct, but neither overpowering the other. It had a lovely fluffy cake texture with a nice crispy orange glaze on top.

The chocolate and raspberry tart was beautifully made with a flavourful, crisp pastry and a rich chocolate truffle filling. Dusted with cocoa powder, it felt rustic and homely, but stylish. However, I couldn’t detect any raspberry in it at all. A few fresh raspberries scattered on top would have made a nice addition and added depth. I also ordered a jasmine tea, which was very prettily presented in a glass pot with authentic clay cup. The tea had a fresh flavour and no bitterness at all.

I love the bright, open space and modern décor side by side with the ancient stone staircase and original features. It’s the perfect place for coffee with friends, a casual meeting or just getting some writing done with never-ending cups of tea. A little pricey, but the staff are friendly and helpful, and it’s easy to see why they’ve received their award for customer service.

As we rapidly head towards Christmas and all the merriment and festive joy it brings, I must take a minute to mourn the loss of a seasonal staple. That’s right, a certain coffee shop chain has ended its pumpkin spice syrup for another year, but fear not merry Amblers! I’ve come across a great recipe to make your own at home (if you can find the pumpkin). It should last for a few months in the fridge, so it’ll be enough to tide you over to the New Year. You can find it here. I used pureed pumpkin in place of the pumpkin pie filling and added a little mixed spice instead of pumpkin pie spice (it’s pretty much the same).

I’m excited to dive head first into Christmas next month with all the standard fayre: mince pies, gingerbread and Christmas pud! There’ll also hopefully be some interesting twists on classics and a few original ideas too.