Hibiskus has the largest assortment of vegan cakes and tarts in Cologne. You can choose from around eight different types. As well as more unusual variations such as pumpkin cake, raw cakes and usually a gluten-free option, you’ll generally find vegan takes on classics like Maulwurfkuchen (a chocolate cake base with fresh bananas and cream) or cheesecake. The sponge layers of the tarts are soft, but the creams are pleasantly firm – thanks to the white chocolate that is added to the mix. And the pastry of the cakes is either firm or slightly crumbly, but never rubbery or dry. Liquid refreshments include coffee variations or lemonades and the board also lists a small selection of salads and quiches. Wednesday is ‘Mett Day’: however, the Mett served here is a vegan version prepared with tomato purée and rice waffles.
Eigelstein, Ritterstr. 52, 50668 Cologne, cafehibiskus.de
The city’s best-known coffee and cake emporium attracts hen parties, elderly couples and single gentlemen and is a bit like hopping in a time machine. With coat stands, sparkling water on silver trays and white-aproned serving staff, this is a place where time has truly stood still. But that’s not to say that the café is out of touch: the upper-class ambience and quality of the cakes here are also quite a hit with the younger crowd. Take a seat on one of the small chairs and gaze out at the quiet side street through the elaborately draped net curtains. The cafe’s speciality is the Savarin, a kind of rum baba. Slightly more substantial, yet just as refined is the Mailänder Torte (with a shortcrust pastry base, alternating layers of sponge and marzipan and a small cherry on the top). Old school at its best!
Hohenstaufenring 64, 50674, Cologne, cafe-wahlen.de
Café Jansen is the ideal place to indulge in the popular German afternoon ritual of coffee and cake. “Oh no”, says an elderly lady at the cake counter, “they don’t have the dark chocolate one today”. The gay couple next to her orders another lemon slice and for a moment we feel like we’ve been transported into a comic by local cartoonist Ralf König. From berry crumble to poppyseed cheesecake, the cakes are of a consistently high quality – and you can eavesdrop on people chatting about their latest trip to the hairdresser or comparing photos on their mobile phones. All of which fits in nicely with the interior design of the round main room, which is reminiscent of a cabaret or a circus – the only difference being that the guests are in the ‘ring’ themselves, rather than spectating from the grandstand.
Obenmarspforten 7–11, 50667 Cologne, fassbender.de
Upon entering the sweet world of Törtchen Törtchen, you will be enveloped in a sea of pink and florals. It’s hard to believe that it were grown men who dreamt up this dollhouse-style interior. The perfect introduction to the French-inspired delights served here are the colourful macarons, which are wonderfully light and creamy. The apricot tart with cream, apricots and pistachio crumbles is agreeably moist and the gelatine coating is just thin enough to look appetising. And the elaborately prepared drinks also deserve a mention: the hot elderberry with orange and cinnamon has three layers and the basil lemonade is a delicious, no-fuss thirst-quencher. For anyone who wants to recreate their sweet treats at home, the Törtchen Törtchen crew regularly pass on their expert knowledge in courses and seminars.
Apostelnstr. 19, 50667 Cologne, toertchentoertchen.de
Café am Königsforst
This café on the outskirts of the city has been around for 30 years, but with its cosy, inviting vibe, it feels like it’s always been there. City dwellers don’t just come out here for the fresh air but also for the café’s main draw: a whopping 40 different cakes and tarts! The counter display presents classics like apple cake topped with icing and filled with whipped cream, as well as more original options like Krokantfächertorte and red wine marble cake. All cakes are baked on the premises and some, such as the impressive mousse au chocolat cake, are made with a cream that is imported specially from France. The café’s older clientele can park their cars right in front of the door, while everyone else can travel conveniently by tram and then walk off the cake calories in the nearby forest afterwards.
Rösratherstr. 759, 51107 Cologne, facebook.com/cafeamkoenigsforst