The 5 Best cupcakes in London
I’m not going to lie and say that this “research” is for the good of anyone who reads this. This is pretty much purely for my own greedy overindulgent benefit! I love cupcakes. They are probably one my my favourite things ever, and luckily for me, they have become somewhat of a craze in London over the past few years. I believe the trend was started in New York, with some thanks going to the girls of Sex and the City and their visit to the Magnolia Bakery on Bleecker Street (I was lucky enough to visit New York three years ago and tried one of these famous cupcakes) And now, London is full of small one off bakeries selling their in-store handmade cupcakes, as well as chain concessions popping up in all of the top London department stores, such as Harrods and Selfridges. With so much choice of where to buy these small beautiful frosted treats, I’ve taken it upon myself (and my friend Ellie) to find out which cup cakes are the best that London has to offer.
I first discovered Lola’s Kitchen Cupcakes in the Selfridges food hall. I opted for the Coconut flavoured cupcake, while my friend chose their famous Red Velvet (both £2.50 each). Sweet Lord. As we all know, it’s not the cupcake itself that can be sickly and make you feel like your insides are about to burst open from sugar erosion, it’s the beautiful creamy frosting which they so delicately swirl onto the top, making them look like little parcels of spongy colourful delight! But this cupcake wasn’t sickly at all. Maybe it’s because coconut isn’t in itself a sickly flavour (I can tell you now that the Key Lime Pie flavoured cupcake was a struggle for me – far too sickly sweet!) or maybe it’s because my tastebuds were craving that intense sweetness that day, but i managed to devour the entire cupcake without feeling like I was about to have a type 2 diabetes attack! We soon discovered that these cupcakes are available for purchase in several stores around central London – the most convenient for me being Topshop at Oxford Circus, right next to the handbags and accessories! We worked out the best thing to do at Lola’s is purchase a few of their miniature cupcakes (all priced at £1.25 in a selection of their classic flavours) Through this method we have discovered that we like the Banana, Oreo & Lemon flavours, and will steer clear of the Rocky Road and Carrot Cake. Lola’s also offer flavours of the month (£3-£3.50) and are currently promoting flavours from around the world – This month’s being Mango, Pimms, Tiramisu and Sticky Toffee. I tried the Pimms flavour (pictured) and for a sunny day it was lovely, and the wedge of lime on top actually made for a nice flavour to take away any overly sweet tones of the frosting. The best of their special flavours is by far the Passionfruit – topped with real passionfruit and filled with a light custard, I could eat these tangy treats everyday.
This is the cute little cupcake boutique in Kingly Court I spoke about in my last post. Luckily for us, the store was open this time, and after a few minutes of staring through the window at the beautiful boquets and talking Ellie through my plan to incorporate these beauties into my wedding, we went into the minimalistic little shop and went to the counter. At the moment, these cakes aren’t baked in store, but I overheard the pretty woman behind the counter telling another customer that they are looking into having a kitchen installed so that they could bake onsite. Considering this little shop only opened early June, this is a good sign. Anyway, at the counter there weren’t many cupcakes to choose from. They were selling out fast (they seem to only get a certain amount of cakes made every day hence the need for a kitchen) We opted to try an attractive little £2.50 Salted Caramel cupcake, adorned with a chunk of homemade fudge (they also sell small homemade treats like that, too) Of all the cupcakes we have tried, this was the best sponge base of the lot. Light and fluffy with a delicate vanilla flavour. The size of the cupcake is a little smaller than the average, but we found this to be an advantage towards the enjoyment of it as it didn’t get too sickly; any more and the icing might have been a bit too much. The small piece of fudge on the top was lovely, and I would definitely recommend the little packs of this they sell in store. I’m not sure on the price. Overall this was a wonderful cupcake. It didn’t taste very much like salted caramel, however, but the gorgeous vanilla sponge made up for this.
This cupcake chain has several shops dotted around Central London, including one below Mulberry Cupcake in Kingly Court and the lower ground of Covent Garden Market. We however bought our £2.35 Coffee & Walnut cupcake from the shop in Seven Dials Covent Garden. This is the cheapest of the cupcakes we tried. The frosting was really good, with a mild coffee taste and small chunks of walnut interspersed throughout, but the sponge was a little dry. It would have been nice if the coffee and walnut flavour had been incorporated into the sponge – maybe coffee frosting and walnut sponge? That would have worked nicely, instead of all the flavour being within the frosting. But it was still good, and definitely enjoyable. It is the cheapest cupcake of it’s size that we have found in London, so that definitely gives it some points too. There’s something about the branding that I’m not overly keen on, but that’s a case of personal taste, and doesn’t really detract from the taste, or the good choice of cupcakes they have to offer.
Selfridges Food Hall Bakery
I’ve always loved the Selfridges food hall. I’m a sucker for a good food hall in general. I could spend hours in Harrods, for example, just planning out my weekly food shop with the lottery win i’m expecting any day now. As with any food hall, Selfridges has a huge selection of different foods you can buy – and luckily for us, this includes cupcakes. Next to a Lola’s concession is the Selfridges bakery, serving a multitude of stunning deserts, macaroons, chocolates and cupcakes. We were immediately drawn to the pretty blueberry cheesecake cupcake priced at £2.49. This was a cupcake like no other. When they gave it the name ‘blueberry cheesecake’ they weren’t kidding. The frosting was indeed the fluffy, creamy, cheesy filling of a cheesecake – light, refreshing and topped with fresh blueberries which burst in your mouth, oozing with flavour, but it was the base which was some weird work of genius – it was sponge, no doubt about it, and yet somehow it tasted just like the buttery biscuit base of a cheesecake. I don’t know how to describe it, but it was bizarre. This cupcake needs to be tried – I don’t think even my creative writing skills can describe these cupcakes with any justice.
This cute shop with big windows can be found on the corner of Covent Garden market and Piazza. It hosts a few tables outside with red polka dot table covers and sweet little flower pots, as well as some stools at a breakfast bar inside; one of the only cupcake shops we visited that actually provided seating. The glass cabinet inside holds a large selection of cupcakes flavours to chose from. We opted for the Red Velvet at £2.50 to take away and went to enjoy it on the steps of the opera house. It’s a word I hate to use, but the sponge was so beautifully ‘moist’ and delicious, however, it was the frosting that made this cupcake like none i’ve ever tasted before. Unlike the traditional butter icing that you find on most cupcakes (in fact, all of the cupcakes I have reviewed thus far) this frosting was creamy, and had an almost whipped texture, a bit like the consistency of italian meringue. It was so light that there seemed little danger of beginning to feel sick from eating it – a bit dangerous as we seriously considered getting another. It’s a slippery slope from there. Without a doubt this was the best Red Velvet cupcake I have ever tasted. While the cream cheese flavouring of the Lola’s Red Velvet does add another element to the cupcake experience, this frosting is such a different texture to any other I have ever tried, so it just surpasses the rest. Delicious.
It was a tough Friday going around Central London trying a multitude of different cupcakes. We did try more, but decided that these five were the best of a very good bunch. There are still plenty more that we need to try, maybe there will have to be a Part 2 at some point in the future, but we may need to diet a little bit before we carry on with this wonderful over indulgence.
Check out how NYC cupcakes compares with our London treats here!
I love this blog writing lark.