It’s a tough job but someone’s got to do it. We’ve tracked down and taste-tested some the capital’s most delectable sweet treats in the name of research and in order to bring you this definitive top 10 to London’s very best cake shops and pâtisseries. You can thank us later….
Maison Bertraux is a cake-making institution to be found on Soho’s Greek Street. It can comfortably claim to one of the oldest patisseries in the city, having first been established in 1871. Though you can purchase cream-filled cakes and pastries to take away, we recommend eating in and marveling at the vibrant/eclectic décor that is a big part of the appeal.
Maison Bertaux, 28 Greek Street, London, W1D 5DQ
Bea’s of Bloomsbury
Bea’s of Bloomsbury’s mantra is “life is short, eat more cake” and frankly we couldn’t agree more. You will find their cafes in Bloomsbury, St Paul’s and Farringdon, as well as an Americana-style outlet on Maltby Street, 10 minutes walk from London Bridge. Satisfying the capital’s sweet tooth since 2008, you can expect beautifully cupcakes made from seasonal ingredients.
Bea’s of Bloomsbury, 44 Theobalds Road, London, WC1X 8NW
Belle Epoque Patisserie
Husband and wife duo Eric and Hulya Rousseau are the team behind traditional French bakers and pastry makers Belle Epoque Patisserie, tucked away in Stoke Newington. Open since 2002 and widely recognized as one of the most authentic cake shops of its kind in the capital, you will find quiches, traditional French bread and delicious light lunches alongside the array of sugary creations. Relax and enjoy the Parisian café surroundings and scrumptious coffee.
Belle Epoque Patisserie, 37 Newington Green, London, N16 9PR
Artisan bakers Cocomaya (also a fine chocolatier) was founded by Joel Bernstein and Walid al Damirji, both with backgrounds in fashion and a passionate creative eye. The bakery opened in 2009 and offers more than 70 different kinds of bread and pastry, from Vienna-style treats to Pain Rustique and French Brioche. Pick up something to take away, or eat in and enjoy the elegant surroundings of bleached wood and white marble.
Cocomaya, 12 Connaught Street, London, W2 2AF
The founders of Primrose Bakery have been icing cupcakes since 2004, and have now expanded on their original shop in Primrose Hill by adding a location in Covent Garden. Don’t be surprised to find people queuing out the door for these sugary delights on a Saturday. This bakery’s USP is definitely the ingenious Cocktail Cupcakes, a menu which includes Mojito, Peach Bellini and Strawberry Daiquiri treats. As well as selling delicious baked goods, you can also learn how to make your own with the selection of master classes on offer.
Primrose Bakery, 69 Gloucester Avenue, London, NW1 8LD
If you suffer from allergies to wheat, gluten or dairy, West Hampstead bakers Bake-a-Boo is the place for you. Open to passersby Friday to Sunday, and for private functions Monday to Thursday, you can also book for Afternoon Tea or attend a ‘create and do’ workshop for adults or children. Our mouths are watering for the classic vanilla fairy cakes and the Oreo cupcakes topped with, you guessed it, Oreo buttercream.
Bake-a-Boo, 86 Mill Lane, West Hampstead, London NW6 1NL
Crumbs and Doilies
Voted purveyors of the “best birthday cake” by the Financial Times, Wandsworth-based roving bakery Crumbs and Doilies likes to think of itself as London’s “spiritual home of the cupcake”. The team host weekly stalls at Covent Garden piazza and Partridges Fine Foods Market on the Kings Road selling their freshly baked goods, made only with the finest ingredients – you will fine no additives or preservatives here. Bespoke cupcakes can be made to order for any occasion – whether it be a hen do to an office party.
Crumbs and Doilies, 5 Morie Studios, Morie Street, London, SW18 1SL
You might recognize East London bakery Violet from its stall on Broadway Market, where Californian Claire Ptak has been selling out of her American-style sweet treats since 2005. The buttercream icings on her cupcakes are folded with fruit purees that change with the seasons – expect Kentish strawberries and Dorset blueberries in summer, Fragola grapes from Italy in Autumn. If you need any more persuasion to visit, may we suggest a flick through Ptak’s mouth-wateringly photo-illustrated blog.
Violet Cakes, 47 Wilton Way, London, E8 3ED
The capital’s most rapidly expanding cupcake chain, American-style bakers Hummingbird’s goods are adored by Gwyneth Paltrow, who famously called their creations “legendary”. Three cookbooks and six locations later and the signature red velvet cupcakes are just as fresh and mouth-wateringly good as ever. We love the delightful cake box-bags that you’re given when you take away.
Hummingbird Bakery, 133 Portobello Road, Notting Hill, London W11 2DY
A peek in the window of Ottolenghi is enough to give you a sugar rush. From lemon and polenta cake to passionfruit meringue tart, half the pleasure of these sweet treats is in the irresistible presentation. Everything is freshly made and free from preservatives and colouring, and wherever possible made using goods sourced within Britain and Europe. You can find these delis in Islington, Notting Hill, Kensington and Belgravia.
Ottolenghi, 287 Upper Street, London N1 2TZ