Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Ultimate Custard Square Hunt - Cozy Cake Shop

When I was about 16, I decided I needed to track down the best custard square in Christchurch. Due to limited transportation ability and funds, and perhaps the lack of a proper system for keeping track of my results I never felt I had succeeded in my mission.

A little while ago my friend Belinda started spontaneously sending me assessments of custard squares - she thinks she's found the ultimate one in Auckland. She's inspired me to begin a new hunt - this time for Wellington's finest - and so this is the first in what will be a series of posts.

Today's confection comes from the Cozy Cake Shop on Manners Street. It seems to me this is a bit of a Wellington institution - it's always packed at lunchtime (I went just before 11 to avoid the throngs and there were still three others inside).

Of course, you can understand why when you see the amazing array of sweets. They also have sushi, a large range of sandwiches and rolls, and pies (for which they have been voted best in Wellington).

They have both the traditional vanilla-iced variety and a chocolate-iced option - and at $1.80 a piece they are very reasonably priced. All the Cozy Cake Shop fare is very reasonably priced, actually - it's a great spot to grab a cheap lunch.

I always prefer the vanilla option - I'm a custard square purist, I guess. ;-)

For those who don't know (these seem to be a New Zealand specialty, so far as I can tell), a custard square is a creamy custardy filling sandwiched between two pieces of flaky pastry, topped with vanilla icing. As, I guess, is pretty evident from the photo. ;-)

The Cozy Cake Shop custard square is pretty good - the filling is creamy and sweet, without being overpowering. The pastry is perhaps a little dry but I'm just being an extreme critic here. The icing is sugary vanilla-y goodness... And overall it's great. It does, of course, suffer the eternal problem of custard squares; it is impossible to eat in a civilised manner. Despite my best intentions with the fork, I failed to get even one mouthful with my utensil, and had to resort to picking it up and eating it. Not that that was a problem:

The Cozy Cake Shop is located at 101 Manners Street, Wellington, ph. 04 384 3114


  1. Doesn't the custard squidge out? I honestly don't think I've ever eaten a custard square.

  2. It does - or at least, if it's a good tasting custard square it does! A lot of the more average ones use gelatine which may be a contributing factor to you not having eaten them - so they can get rubbery (in fact, I suspect this is why I started the mission way back when I was 16, to avoid the awful rubbery ones!).

  3. In my opinion, the NZ custard square is a plagarised version of the French 'mille feuille', which has many more layers of pastry between the custard. Its not as sickly sweet as some custard square can be - as the pastry balances it a bit, and the custard is more creamy.

    Anyhoo... good luck on your quest!
    And even though your quest was cut short, in the course of your travels where did you think had the best ones in Chch?

  4. I struggle now to find custard squares that aren't those weird Denheath ones. They just aren't proper custard squares!!

  5. Awww no! I wish I had seen this when I came to Wellington a few weeks ago! I was on the search for custard slices but seemed unable to unearth a good one! :(

  6. Michelle - I'd believe that, they're pretty similar, I guess mille feuille isn't really hearty enough for the traditional kiwi palate. ;-) I can't remember my winner - I remember there was a little place in Cathedral Square I used to like, but it's definitely not there anymore (we are talking about a 10-year gap!).

    Sarah T - I know what you mean about them not being proper but I actually really like them. There's still definitely room for the more 'proper' ones too, though!

    Lorraine - that's a shame! It is fairly tucked away so easy to overlook. You should let me know next time you come this way, I'll show you all the best custard square spots. ;-) Can I look forward to Wellington adventures on your blog in the near future or was it a flying visit?

  7. I think in terms of value for money the New World down your end of town wins. They are enormous. I read the nutritional information on one (not something I recommend if you are to subsequently enjoy it) and it was about 750 calories, which for those that don't investigate such things is over 1/3 of a woman's recommended daily food intake. Mmmmm custard goodness.
    Also - I make custard squares sometimes and they are incredibly easy. I think you should experiment to create the perfect custard square. If you like I'll come be a judge... :-)

  8. Heh, Sylvia, it's like you have a crystal ball. ;-) The blog post on the New World ones is coming - probably on Thursday - and we cut one in half to share and both thought we probably should have cut it into quarters. Making them is also definitely in the pipelines - but maybe I should also trial the Sylvia custard square? ;-)


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