cake zine in london

Meeting Tough Cookie at Oranj

Event & Publication Review 

article by Francesca Nicolodi 

Socializing with smells coming from the kitchen, a glass of wine from Cantina Indigeno, and a warm cookie in my hand. On December 6th last year, in a warehouse wine bar, I mingled with artists, journalists, and chefs in honor of an independent NY-based literary zine. Cake Zine was in London for a few days to celebrate the launch of their 4th issue: Tough Cookie. On this evening, Aliza Abarbanel and Tanya Bush got us to try extravagant cookies from Forno E84RP, Bake Street N16 7SR, and the trio See You Soon. Those appetizing aromas did not disappoint. The chocolate puffed rice spelt cookie was a delice and the crème brûlée cookie was truly iconic but the salted duck egg yolk won me over. While enjoying myself in the dim light, sipping my £11 orange wine, and listening to Moving Still’s tracks in this fancy garage, I quickly wanted a piece of that Cake Zine collection.

I must admit, after overhearing that the recipe for the crème brûlée cookies was in

the new issue, I swiftly got my hands on Tough Cookie. My meager student wallet

frowned at me when I contemplated getting the two other issues on display. I was

skimming through the pages while my friends deliberated whether to order the

famous ‘filet-xo-fish’ burger or the coffee-crusted duck. They eventually ordered

both but I was already out, I grabbed a pork chop bun at HOKO E1 6SA and

jumped on the tube to finally get to it.

Delighted, I devoured it. Not the bun but the zine.

On this tube ride, I stopped at a Canadian Oreo factory, a Ukrainian bakery, and a Wall Street investment bank’s kitchen.

Along the way, I encountered some hungry sharks, obnoxious web cookies, and horny vorarephiles. Those cookies were well-traveled,


and therapeutic

but also extravagant, stubborn,

and mischievous.

Time flew by as I exited the station, zine under my coat, drizzle on my face, I reached home in a flash. Left my coat on the drying rack and ran to the kitchen

with my new purchase. Just like when I finish an Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown episode, I headed to the fridge. A mozzarella, five miserable carrots, and a FAGE Total yogurt stared me down. Disappointed, I decided to distract my munchies by reading a few more pages about cookies saving lives, making money, and giving a tough time to humans. But as deep sleep slowly fell upon me,

I faded into old


Flashes of those Christmas cookies I gobbled, that evening the sugar rush kept me awake until 4 am, my mom reprimanding me after finding 5 empty packs of Jaffa Cakes in the bin, and that time I spent all my pocket money on a box of 12 doughnuts while babbling to the confectioner that it was my friend’s birthday when I knew perfectly well it was my feast for the night. But I still catch myself indulging in my gluttony because that cathartic feeling is unmatched. When you slowly chew on your sweet sin and savor every bit of that heavenly pleasure before it comes back to bite you in the ass. It started with the painful cavities as a child and got worse when jeans would start to shrink, pimples would want to say hi to your crush, and none of your peers wanted you on their teams in physical education. So you start holding on from eating the entire ice cream tub, grabbing a second kanelbullar, or baking another stack of edibles. This perpetual temptation is our damnation and we are ready to lie, hide, and cheat ourselves to indulge even for a little. Woke up in my Sisyphean malediction with Tough Cookie between me and the couch.

Downed a glass of milk while texting some of the recipes to my mom and

imagining blowing my partner's tastebuds with the carrot and dulce de leche

alfajores of Chef Paola Velez. Needless to say, those 95 pages were spicy with a

solid dose of culture, history, and dessert. Cake Zine can mix sweetness with some

tradition, sex and, rehab and bake out entertaining content: a concoction of fiction,

memoirs, and reports from renowned cooks, writers, and culinary creators.

Let’s just say that people at Cake Zine have great taste and not just in food!

Their issues are nothing else than krispy, tender, and fresh out of the oven.

On Me Days, I like to get brownies at Fortnum&Mason before strolling through

passersby in Green Park, while Etta James massages my temples. It is my way of

connecting with the world on a full stomach, similar to how Cake Zine does it.

You know something is good when it makes you want to share your secrets: go to

Les Petits Mitrons in Montmartre and try their cookies. You will thank me later.

I would like to express my gratitude to Carolina Laguna for introducing me to

Cake Zine.

Photography by Shirley Chan @shcha