Health & Grooming | The Reconnoisseur

When is a cake not a cake?

Handmade Yorkshire soaps with a delightful twist

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When is a cake not a cake?

January 08 2012
Jenny Dalton

I’m not usually one for novelty soaps. Or for soap at all, for that matter. They tend to be on the dehydrating side, no matter how much they cost or how pretty the packaging. The Yorkshire Soap Company’s soaps, however, are an exception to the rule. Handmade in Hebden Bridge, in a workshop over the top of the company’s shop – noticeable for the stream of bubbles emanating from the upstairs windows – they contain enough essential oils and gentleness to make sure that they’re an olfactory and dermatological joy to use.

The best bit, however, is that they resemble – and so closely resemble that my daughter took a bite out of one – slices of the prettiest cakes imaginable. The soaps are made as proper size cakes (first picture) and are sold by the slice, or they come in single cup-cake servings (third picture), complete with soap “butter cream” decoration and tiny floral toppings. In the store itself (second picture), they’re displayed on vintage-looking cake stands, and the whole shop looks like the best cake store you’ve never seen.

I discovered the company in my parents’ home town of Otley, one of Yorkshire’s unchanged market towns – the kind of place where you can still buy great pork pies for pence, or discover a Globetrotter suitcase in the local antiques shop for under £10. But if you can’t make it to Yorkshire, the webstore is almost as yummy as the products themselves.

As to the question of actually using the soaps: at first it is a bit surreal and counter-intuitive to wash oneself with something that very convincingly resembles a slice of cake, but that quickly fades, to be replaced by the sheer pleasure of the soaps’ essential oils and fine fragrances.

Slices of soap cake and individual soap cup cakes, £5 each.

See also

Soaps, Yorkshire