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 of London’s very best cake shops and pâtisseries. You can thank us later….
Maison Bertaux is a cake-making institution to be found on Soho’s Greek Street. It can comfortably claim to be 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 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 serves up delightful afternoon tea from its two locations in St Paul’s and Marylebone. Satisfying the capital’s sweet tooth since 2009, they offer signature, gluten-free and vegetarian afternoon teas, all priced at £30, as well as fluffy pancakes for brunch and cream teas.
Bea’s of Bloomsbury, 83 Watling Street, London, EC4M 9BX
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 and Islington, but also now resplendently housed in Selfridges. 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
If you see people queuing on Columbia Road first thing on a Sunday, chances are they’re in line for some delicious baked goods from the Lily Vanilla cafe, open since 2010. Described by Evening Standard Magazine as “the Queen of baked goods”, Lily creates tarts, cookies and cakes as pleasing to the eye as they are to the palate, with a seasonal menu and plenty of vegan and gluten-free choices on offer.
Sundays only from 8.30 – 6 – The Courtyard, Ezra Street, London E2 7RH
The founders of Primrose Bakery have been icing cupcakes since 2004, and can be found on Gloucester Avenue in Primrose Hill. This bakery’s USP is definitely the ingenious Cocktail Cupcakes, a menu which includes Gin & Tonic, Espresso Martini and Aperol Spritz 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
The Little Bread Pedlar
Don’t be fooled by the name, The Little Bread Pedlar does far more than just sourdough (though the sourdough is world-beating). The pastries menu includes the most luxurious almond croissants you’re ever likely to eat, pain au chocolat, bakewell tarts, brownies, fruit danishes – hungry yet? You’ll find them at Spa Terminus near Bermondsey, and at a stall in Canopy Market, King’s Cross at the weekend.
Unit 4-6, Spa Business Park, Dockley Road, London, SE16 3FJ
Crumbs and Doilies
Once voted purveyors of the “best birthday cake” by the Financial Times, bakery Crumbs and Doilies likes to think of itself as London’s “spiritual home of the cupcake”. The team now boasts a central location at 1 Kingly Court in Covent Garden selling their freshly baked goods, made only with the finest ingredients – you will find 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, 1 Kingly Court, London W1B 5PW
Californian Claire Ptak started selling sweet treats in 2005 on Broadway Market, and famously had the honour of making Harry and Meghan’s wedding cake in 2018. 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 scroll through @violetcakeslondon on Instagram.
Violet Cakes, 47 Wilton Way, London, E8 3ED
The capital’s most recognizable cupcake chain, American-style bakers Hummingbird’s goods were once famously praised by Gwyneth Paltrow, who called their creations “legendary”. Four cookbooks and many 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