I like to pretend as much of the time as I can that I am a health conscious person but that’s just a facade I put up to hide the fact that I am a huge foodie and have a massive sweet tooth. I’m normally in London once or twice a week and while I don’t like to pig out every time I am a huge fan of popping to a bakery or cake shop and picking up something sweet enough to pop me into a slight sugar coma. Below are some of my top picks of bakeries you need to visit when you’re in London.
Cookies and Scream
I’ve spoken about Camden Market based Cookies and Scream quite a bit but I just had to mention them again. Absolutely everything they do is dairy free and thus vegan which means whatever your dietary requirements are chances are you can eat here. Their cookies which are baked fresh every day are soft and squidgy and one of the best cookies I’ve had and their milkshakes and ice creams do not taste like they’re void of dairy. The great thing is their cakes change daily so you’ll encounter different things each time, personal favourites of mine include their brownies (especially the peanut butter ones), their lemon drizzle cake and their scream sandwich (a scoop of ice cream between two cookies).
Crosstown is a very new discovery of mine and one which I am so glad to have made. Crosstown sell some of the scrummiest donuts I have tasted and they aren’t your boring traditional glazed rings or jam filled ones they’ve gone a step beyond and created something special. The first time I went I opted for the truffle donut which was incredibly sweet with truffle injected into the ring and then covered in truffle chocolate. The next time I decided to sample the Lamnut which is a donut with jam and covered in chocolate and rolled around in coconut shavings which was amazing. Everything in baked fresh so arrive early to not be disappointed.
Everyone raves about Hummingbird, so for this reason I put off going there for a while because I didn’t want to have high expectations and be let down but recently I had a bit of time to kill so I decided to head along to their store just off Oxford Street. Firstly their choice of cakes is insane there are a huge number of massive layered cakes (rainbow cakes/ red velvet/ salted caramel and more) and then whoopies and so many cupcakes alongside quite a few free from (gluten/ dairy free) which is always nice to see. In order to get a good idea of their choices I opted for a slab of Red Velvet Cake to eat in alongside two cupcakes to take home (Salted Caramel and Nutella). Firstly the Red Velvet was probably the best I have ever tasted, thick creamy frosting which wasn’t sickly and a sweet soft cake which you could tell was fresh. The cupcakes were similarly amazing with frosting to die for. I am so annoyed I waited this long to check out Hummingbird but it was well worth the wait.
Crumbs and Doilies
Crumbs and Doilies is definitely one of my favourite places for cupcakes in all of London, actually scrap that, in general, and they have a shop by Carnaby Street which is an area of London I love. I love the fact that they do a good selection of mini cupcakes which mean I can try multiple flavours without feeling sick/ over-indulgent/ fat etc. These cupcakes are everything a great cupcake should be; soft moist cake, soft creamy icing, great flavours and nothing too sickly. Their ‘classic’ flavours tend to be easier to find although I’ve still not had the Mint Chocolate Chip or Cinnamon toast and I need them in my life, but the Malteser is light and airy and the salted caramel is sweet and sticky. Their ‘special’ flavours tend to be just luck of draw but range from Mojito and Lemon Mess to Chocolate Orange and Chocolate Guinness. The great thing is you can keep going back and always have new flavours to try, result.
Left- Ms Cupcake Right- Primrose Bakery
Ms Cupcake was London’s first ever fully vegan bakery (I believe) but sits a little out of the way in Brixton. I made a trip down the Victoria Line to check out the store and it is severely underrated for its quality. You know somewhere is good when you have to queue for cake at 11am in the morning. Everything within the shop is handmade within the premises (usually, you can see people piping icing or decorating cakes from the window), and everything is entirely vegan-friendly/ dairy free which is fantastic. More places are coming out with vegan options but having an entire store is amazing as there’s so much choice. I opted for a chocolate peanut butter cupcake and if I hadn’t known I would not have said it was vegan-friendly as it tasted just like any other cake (something a lot of people fail to believe). The icing didn’t smoosh against the box but was still soft and the cake itself was light, fluffy and perfect for a cupcake. I’ll definitely be making the trip back to the store when ever I’m in the area.
Primrose have a few locations across London but I headed to the little boutique store in Kensington which was about a 7-minute walk from High Street Kensington Tube Station (although it’s just off the high street so I did walk past first time). The store I went to didn’t have a huge amount of choice in regards to cakes but they had an assortment of biscuits, cookies and other sweet treats but I went for the Cookie Dough cupcake. It wasn’t quite as light and airy as some of the others but it was really tasty and had a nice solid feeling cake to it. I’d definitely be intrigued to see if any of the other branches have a large choice of flavours though.
One day I happened to find myself at the Southbank Market ready to have lunch and I stumbled across Gelata and their stacks of cookies. I have never seen so many cookies it’s unreal (the image above isn’t them all!) They had normal, oat, gluten free, salted caramel, red velvet and more. Of course a red velvet and a chocolate chip cookie just happened to jump from the stall into my hands (after an exchange of money happened). For me it takes a lot to be a great cookie, you want it soft enough that it melts in your mouth and doesn’t take too much effort to chew, but not so soft that it falls apart in your hands. Fortunately, Gelata have this spot on and despite being 4pm they still tasted unreal. I’ll definitely be making another trip there soon.
Lola’s Cupcakes sit in a large number of train stations and shopping centres with their pretty iced cupcakes trying to entice you in. I’d seen their stands quite a few times before but never caved until I found myself coming through Victoria Place after a long coach journey. The do large cupcakes at around £3 and small ones at about £1.30ish and their choice of flavours is extensive. All of the cupcakes have quite a lot of icing on so probably not the ideal choice if you’re not an icing fan (although how can you not be?!) I opted for a lemon cupcake which is always a favourite of mine, and a cookies and cream one as the Oreo sitting on top was screaming my name. Even by 11pm that evening the cakes were still soft and beautiful, the icing isn’t too heavy/ sickly but also isn’t too light to feel worthless. Definitely worth a visit if you happen to pass them at a train station/ in a shopping centre.