Discover more of Bristol’s best cheesecake
Cheesecake is a rich dessert with an even richer history. It’s thought to have been around for more than 4000 years after anthropologists found cheese moulds in Greece that dated back to 2000 BC. At the time, cheesecake was considered a good source of energy, and it was even fed to athletes at the first Olympic games. It was a more savoury dish than what we know as cheesecake today and was made with four simple ingredients: flour, wheat, honey and cheese. When the Romans conquered the Greek, they began adding crushed cheese and egg to cheesecake. They also served the cake immediately after cooking it. As the Romans expanded their empire around Europe, they brought cheesecake with them. Each country made slight changes to the recipe often incorporating local ingredients. When the first cookbook was printed in 1545, it included a cheesecake recipe. In the UK, even Henry VIII’s chef had his own unique recipe where he soaked small pieces of cheese in milk for a few hours before straining and adding eggs, butter, and sugar to the mixture. Until the 18th century, yeast was commonly used as the raising agent in cheesecake which gave it a savoury feel. Once eggs began being used instead, the dish began to look and taste more like the dessert we know today.
When Europeans migrated to the United States, they brought their cheesecake recipes with them and continued making changes to the recipe based on the ingredients they could find in their new home. In the late 1800s, Americans started adding cream cheese which remains one of the staple ingredients over 100 years later and gives cheesecake its distinctive creamy and smooth consistency. Around the US, different cities have made their variations on the recipe like adding fruit or chocolate toppings, or extra layers. Possibly the most famous kind of cheesecake is New York Cheesecake which has extra egg yolks added to the cake mix.
Even today, bakers continue to try new cheesecake recipes adding all different types of ingredients from unique fruits to cookies and candies. Whether you’re looking for a classic slice of New York Cheesecake or a one-of-a-kind take on the dish, here’s our list of the best places to get cheesecake in Bristol.
Located on West Street in the Old Market area, Bodkin Bakes offers bespoke baking in a completely nut-free and allergen-friendly environment. Owner and baker Daisy has a severe nut allergy as well as a gluten intolerance, so she knows first-hand how difficult it can be to find delicious baked goods that are safe for her to eat. Her goal when she opened Bodkin Bakes was to create a shop where everyone had options regardless of their dietary requirements. One of the bakery’s most well-known options is their baked cheesecakes. The cheesecakes come in a wide variety of flavours including biscoff, banoffee, chocolate orange, Eton mess, toffee apple, and more. All of the cheesecakes are nut-free and can be made gluten-free upon request. To get your hands on one of Bodkin Bake’s delicious cheesecakes, you do need to order online a few days in advance using the order form on their website.
In addition to cheesecakes, Bodkin Bakes offers cakes for every occasion, cupcakes, macarons, sausage rolls and afternoon tea boxes. All of their tasty treats can be delivered throughout the Bristol and Bath areas for only £5.
Bar Chocolat is a family-run neighbourhood coffee shop run by sisters Jen and Kate best known for its artisan chocolates, hot chocolates, milkshakes, and baked goods. Everything they serve is made right in their Clifton Village location so no matter what you order you’re getting the freshest and highest quality food. In addition to sweet treats like pastries, cakes, and handmade chocolates, they serve breakfast and lunch options such as toasties and bagels.
The cakes and pastries available at Bar Chocolate change regularly, but one of their customers’ favourites is the cheesecake. Their baked white chocolate cheesecake and lemon cheesecake are regularly referred to as the best cheesecake in Clifton.
About 20 minutes outside the city centre on the Keynsham High Street, Crumbs of Keynsham, which only opened two years ago in 2019, has quickly created a reputation of being one of the best cake shops in the area. The shop specialises in bespoke cakes for weddings, birthdays and events. They also have a small café where they serve speciality coffee and loose-leaf tea as well as croissants, pastries, cupcakes, cake by the slice, and traybakes. Everything is baked in-store used the freshest and finest ingredients besides the croissants, pastries, and gluten-free options. The cakes and traybakes that are available change frequently with items like cheesecake-style biscoff millionaires popping up regularly.
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Ahh Toots first opened at St Nicholas Market in 2014 and since then has been known as the place to go in Bristol when you’re looking for good cake. It’s an art-focused bakery known for cakes that look almost too good to eat. Owner Tam Galliford dreamed of opening her own cake shop since she was a child and after working in a number of top bakeries in Bristol as well as London, she was able to make her dream a reality. In addition to making all the baked goods for the stall, Ahh Toots also makes one-of-a-kind cakes for weddings and other major occasions.
Over the last few years, Ahh Toots has seen a lot of growth and changes. In 2019, Amy Symonds, who had previously worked as a pastry chef in Michelin star restaurants like Pony and Trap and Michael Caines, joined the team. Then in 2020, they expanded to their Christmas Steps location, on one of Bristol’s oldest streets. The café building is rumoured to date back to the 13th century and is a stunning Tudor full of history. For the last 100 years, the building was home to a fish and chips shop, and Ahh Toots plans to add fish and chips to their menu in the future to honour that.
At their new Christmas Steps location, they offer brunch, lunch, and afternoon tea. The afternoon tea features homemade scones and finger sandwiches, and of course a selection of their famous cakes. They serve a variety of seasonal cake flavours as well as popular favourites like Victoria sponge and tres leches. Many of their cakes are vegan, and they offer several gluten-free options. While Ahh Toots doesn’t have cheesecake available every day, when it is one of their seasonal cakes on rotation, make you sure you try it. Over the last few years, they’ve served up traditional cheesecakes as well as their own unique spin on the dish a number of times.
Ahh Toots cakes and cheesecake are always available by the slice at either of their Bristol locations, and they’ve also added click and collect as well as delivery service during the COVID-19 lockdowns. If you’re craving Ahh Toots and you can’t make it to their shop to collect, Ahh Toots has post treat boxes with brownies and blondies that can be shipped anywhere in the UK for £3.95.
Located in Wapping Wharf, Root is a unique restaurant serving a menu of vegetable-focused sharing plates. Their dishes use local ingredients and promote sustainability as well as highlight how much can be done with vegetables. The restaurant is vegetable-focused because they do serve meat and fish as side dishes. Root is also well known locally for their delicious desserts, especially their cheesecake. Their cheesecakes take the classic dessert to the next level by incorporating unique ingredients like Oloroso jelly, burnt apple purée, Pedro Ximenez-soaked raisins, and pumpkin.
While Root is currently closed due to COVID-19 restrictions, there are fortunately still a few ways you can try their food. The restaurant is currently offering Root at Home. Each week, the chefs come up with a unique sharing menu of vegetable-based sharing dishes using seasonal and local ingredients. You simply go to the restaurant and pick up your box which contains all the ingredients needed for the dishes. The majority of the work is done before pick-up, and after a few short steps, you’ll have delicious sharing dishes for two. Additionally, Head Chef Rob Howell’s cookbook, Root comes out in March 2021. The book features more than 100 recipes from the restaurant, including their famous desserts.
Located right down the street from Root, Harbour and Browns is a local favourite when it comes to modern fusion cuisine. The restaurant was started by the team behind Brace and Browns a distinctive tapas restaurant that has been open on Whiteladies Road since 2011. Harbour and Browns takes the unique qualities from Brace and Browns, modernises them and makes them their own. They serve British tapas dishes like forest mushroom and basil arancini and baked camembert, dough balls with onion seed and sweetcorn chutney in three shipping containers at Wapping Wharf. All of their tapas-style dishes are designed to be easily shared or eaten by one person, and they offer a variety of vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options.
Besides savoury dishes, Harbour and Browns offers a rotation of delicious desserts like homemade doughnuts where you syringe your own sauce and their famous strawberry, mint & white chocolate cheesecake.
Chris and Jo’s Kitchen on St. Michael’s Hill is consistently recognised as one of the best restaurants in Bristol. They’re known for their Sunday roasts as well as other quintessential British dishes. They pride themselves in serving simple yet high-quality dishes that are made on-site daily using local ingredients. Chris and Jo’s also offers a number of vegan and vegetarian options. When you eat at Christ and Jo’s Kitchen, make sure to save room for dessert. Their customers regularly rave about their crumbles, sticky toffee pudding, and of course cheesecake. They regularly change the flavour of baked cheesecake on the menu and offerings have included chocolate orange, white chocolate and lemon, and rhubarb. No matter what flavour is on the menu when you visit, it’s sure to be a hit.
While you’re probably in the mood for cheesecake after reading about all the great cheesecakes in Bristol, before you head out to get some from one of these shops, remember to check their current hours and COVID restrictions. All these restaurants and bakeries are currently closed for sit-in service, but many of them remain open for click and collect or delivery.