With phrases like 'emergency baking' and 'last-minute cakes' being thrown around the shop I was blindly walking past of a Monday lunchtime, I couldn't help but stop, retrace my steps, and listen. The man behind the cake-filled counter of Bismillah Bakery on Corporation Street was clearly talking gospel. I seemed to float into the shop, and, ignoring the other customers who were thankfully eyeing up the tempting cakes, I innocently enquired about the stop-in-your-tracks phrase I heard him mention a few moments ago.
Bismillah Bakeries are the family-owned business behind the wonderful little and large cakes of Bismillah on Corporation Street. Their cakes are a mixture of halal, vegan and egg-free tray-bakes, muffins, and cupcakes of professional quality in the windows of their stores around Birmingham. They specialise in cakes for Asian weddings, so they're the big, fancy kind, but it's the smaller, bitesize ones I can buy on my lunch, which are mostly sold at the Corporation Street store.
Plain cream cakes
Now on to the most important part: emergency cakes. You don't hear such phrases often, but it's such words that recognise that satisfaction and necessity go hand in hand for ultimate happiness. Apparently, if you pop into the store by midday you can order a cake for the evening, all you have to do is give them specifics and it will be created as per your request, and available for collection by 6pm. Wonderful.
All of the baking is done the same day, so everything is fresh, not that I needed to ask. You can taste the freshness and quality of ingredients because there's a lightness to all of the sponges, which is a definite mark of 'just-baked' cakes.
I was in an unusually generous mood and thought I'd buy a few cakes for my mother and sister, so I bought one caramel, cornflake slice (simple, but perfect), and a chocolate one for my mother. My cake was borderline perfect: fresh cream, sweet, a light sponge, and just a little bit too much middle, just how I like it. It wasn't too-sweet, which is what I was expecting. In my previous experience baked goods from stores that cater for Asian weddings, have been somewhat heavy handed with the syrup.
Whilst I was looking over the cakes another customer ordered what seemed to be an order for the office: five waffles with toppings of Nutella, whipped cream and berries, as well as a stack of pancakes and a side of two traybakes slices. It was packaged up cleverly in fitting boxes and tray, which kept the pancake and waffle toppings in tact. Impressed, I almost-wished I'd ordered the same because the waffles looked so fluffy and soft.
Bismillah translates from Arabic to 'in the name of God', but whether you believe in the divinity of the shops cakes or not, I give my blessing. Even the egg-free cakes were surprisingly moreish, and if 'in the name of God' doesn't bring out your trust, then believe me, they are heavenly.