Gluten-free and vegetarian afternoon teas at Hellesdon Barns’ new cakery and cafe

Bramleys Cafe and Cakery Hellesdon Picture: Sarah Bruton

Bramleys Cafe and Cakery Hellesdon Picture: Sarah Bruton - Credit: Archant

Bramleys replaces The Shackleton Cafe and cakes are high on the agenda.

Bramleys Cafe and Cakery Hellesdon Picture: Sarah Bruton

Bramleys Cafe and Cakery Hellesdon Picture: Sarah Bruton - Credit: Archant

Two sisters have given a brand new look and lease of life to a café on the outskirts of Norwich. Sarah Bruton and Liz Keeler (both very keen bakers) a few weeks ago opened the doors to Bramleys Café and Cakery in Hellesdon, replacing what was The Shackleton Cafe at Hellesdon Barns. And it's cakes, cakes and more cakes all the way for the duo who are putting all their love into baking up a storm for customers.

Sarah admits they've never run their own business before (she was in catering and Liz was a teacher prior to this) but says the time was right. 'We just kind of went for it. The passion for us is the baking side of things. We do do lunches and breakfast as well, but cakes are the focus. It's very much going to be about afternoon teas, including gluten-free and vegan afternoon teas. I'm dairy-free so I know how hard it can be, and my sister is a veggie. We really want to cater for everyone.'

The themed Shackleton references in the building have been stripped out, with the café given a modern, light, 'back to basics' feel, seating up to 20 inside, and an extra 16 or so outside on sunny days.

From 10am the café opens for brunch, selling cooked breakfasts, (including a vegetarian breakfasts) and the like, leading into lunches of freshly filled paninis, sandwiches, homemade soups, jacket potatoes and more.

And then there's the baked goods!

'We've had loads of really nice feedback about our cakes,' says Sarah, 'which is lovely. I've always done a few farmers' markets before this and we've both always really loved baking, plus my sister's done courses in sugarcraft…all our cakes are homemade and we try to use local ingredients where we can.'

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The offering ranges from carrot cake, to chocolate cake and Victoria sponge, which will be the café's staple three, supplemented by specials such as toffee apple cake, lemon curd cake, sticky ginger cake and others.

'The scones are made fresh and only served in the café on the day they're baked,' adds Sarah. We always have mature cheddar and then fruit ones and freshly made sausage rolls too – using meat from the local butcher.'

Afternoon tea is £13.95 for walk-ins, giving you a choice of sandwiches, a cheese or fruit scone, a slice from the cake selection and tea. 'But if there's a group of six or more we will do a more tailored afternoon tea. At the weekend we catered for 16 for a 30th birthday party. They had individual mini cakes like lemon and coffee, sausage rolls, small cheese and fruit scones, and mini strawberry pavlovas. We're also thinking of adding things like little trifles and possets.

'There are always dairy-free and gluten-free scones cooked to order and we try to have vegan and gluten-free cakes most days, but if you know you're coming in, let us know and we'll make sure we have something for you.'

The café and cakery is open Wednesday to Sunday 10am to 3.30pm. For Mother's Day this year the ladies are teaming up with Dotty Pottery on site to offer a two hour creative ceramic painting session (including painting an items to the value of £15) with glazing and firing, followed by afternoon tea for £30 per person. Booking (with a deposit of £10 per person) is essential – call Dotty Pottery to book your space.