Charity, Cake, & Community: Day Two of The 24 Blogs of Christmas


My Cousin Shelley. What a gal. Straight-talking, down to earth, gentle, loving, giving, caring human being.

A couple of years ago she gave up her regular day job, started baking and selling cakes from home, and bought a café in Harehills, Leeds.

I don’t know what she was thinking.

But I do know she is brave and bold reflects this throughout every part of life (and would deny all of it).

Delicious Dishes is a Proper Caff. Its menu is vast and hearty and offers traditional café grub that transports you back to your childhood, alongside wonderful healthy options; all made on-site to order, and all at ridiculously reasonable prices.

During school holidays Shelley puts on a range of activities for kids – low prices and wonderful creative ideas.  Families are fed and entertained and don’t even have to get a bus.

Delicious Dishes even offers a delivery service which is very popular with the staff at nearby St James’ Hospital; people who can’t always get a break to leave the premises. She once received a call for a delivery from a woman in labour! A delivery to delivery, you might say.

Shelley works seven days a week and loves the community she has now become a part of. I realise this when I drop in unannounced and she’s gabbing with everyone in there like they’re old mates.  She tells me many come in for more than one meal a day and it’s for this reason she keeps the prices very low.

As if all that wasn’t enough, this month Shelley has set up a Reverse Advent Calendar.

Every day the cafe will be accepting donations of food and useful items, which on Christmas Eve will be given to a family in the local community that needs help.

She is working with a Family Services group that covers Harehills, Richmond Hill and Burmantofts to support families with children under the age of five. They address issues around safeguarding, domestic violence, low income, and asylum – anything that causes stress for parents that will then affect their young children.

It’s such a great idea – and so very Shelley.

The cafe is welcoming donations now - whether it be a tin of beans, shower gel, a box of cereal, toothpaste – anything that won’t go off but is useful to those with little (I’m guessing that if you donated on Christmas Eve you could give things with a limited shelf life, but it’s worth checking).

This could be the cheapest and most important gift you give this year.

Donations can only be taken at the café, but I’ve been thinking. I have a car and I can be flexible with my time, so if you want to donate and can’t get there drop me a line and let’s see if we can make something work. I’m not going to drive miles to pick up a tin of beans, that just doesn’t make sense, but all ideas are very welcome.

And now to supporting Shelley.

Delicious Dishes is her day job – if you can get there do drop in for a cuppa and a gab - but she also runs Black Ribbon Cakes taking specific orders and briefs for cakes, cupcakes, buns and other delights for all occasions (I honestly don’t know how she does it).

Her cakes are amazing – to look at and to eat.

She has twice been on BBC Radio Leeds Saturday lunch programme Cake o’Clock with the fabulous Larry and Paul and was such a success they each put in an order!

I recently encouraged her to go on Great British Bake Off (secretly hoping for an invite to meet Noel and Sandi who are both high on my list of dream dinner guests), and just as she got the confidence to apply she discovered that the rules say participants can’t work professionally with food.

This is pants. I may have to put up with Larry and Paul instead.

So, if we can’t enjoy this fabulous, unassuming, South Leeds Lass on our telly box, let’s enjoy her offer of great cakes which will help her maintain the café, which in turn supports the community, which in turn supports Leeds as a whole.

Win win.

Right now, you can order:

Christmas Cakes – price on request as it depends on size/décor:

  • Standard size or mini, individual ones

  • Rum-filled or alcohol-free

  • Iced or not

(Me? Rum-filled, no icing, crumbly cheese – how do you eat yours?)

Mince pies: Six for £1.50

Christmas-themed cupcakes: from £1 each

A Selection Box - a bit of everything for a fiver!

You could, if you wanted to be a little different, sack off the traditional and order one of Shelley’s amazing drippy cakes, or a naked one (no drippy!) or something tailored to a loved one as a gift. The best thing to do is check out her Instagram and Facebook page and drop her a line.


Please remember that these blogs are not just for Christmas. If you want cakes, buns or cupcakes for a special occasion, or just to scoff in front of next year’s Bake Off, do consider ordering from Shelley – she totally beats those off-the-shelf boxed things by a mile.


Delicious Dishes is open Monday to Saturday 7.30am to 2pm and Sunday 8am to 2pm

Find it on Strathmore Drive, Harehills LS9 6AB

Black Ribbon Cakes is taking orders now:

Instagram: @blackribboncakes



Contact Shelley on / 07879 77 88 92

Faye DawsonComment