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« Sweet Factory: Behind the Scenes at Little Rae's Bakery in Seattle | Main | 2.5.09: Baked Good of the Day: Birthday Cake from North Hill Bakery »
Saturday
Feb072009

Cakewalk Special: Seeking Sweetness in London with Cake Gumshoe Kirsten

London Cakewalk
(Blondies in the top right, c/o Outsider Tart)

There are so many reasons to love London. The museums. Those charming palace guards. Not to mention English accents--everywhere! And while it's not generally thought of as a baked good mecca, that seems to be changing--as Cake Gumshoe Kirsten (a London resident in the know) reports, there are plenty of sweet places to be found in London, ranging from fancy chocolate shops to arbiters of East-meets-West sweets to--yes--even a few Southern USA-style bakeries. Read on for Kirsten's suggestions for the best places to get a sugary fix in London: 

Hummingbird Bakery, LondonHummingbird interior 
Hummingbird Bakery: Classic American cupcakes have only recently become popular in London, but boy, have they gone done well. The most renowned is Hummingbird Bakery. They’re a short walk from the famous Portobello Rd markets, and make a great spot to recharge your batteries after a serious vintage clothes shopping session. Their red velvet cupcakes are divine. There’s just enough perfectly creamy cream cheese icing and they will kindly give you a fork to eat with if you get a sudden rush of British manners at the sight of these monsters.

They also do cakes (New York style cheesecakes and Chocolate Devil’s food cake are displayed on pretty pastel cake stands) as well as cookies and pies. And no, most Brits still can’t get their heads around eating pumpkin as a dessert.

 

47 Old Brompton Rd (South Kensington Tube)
SW7 3JP
Open 10.30am-7pm daily

133 Portobello Rd (Notting Hill Gate Tube)
W11 2DY
10am-5.30pm Tues-Sat
11am-5pm Sunday
Closed Monday

Yuatcha Dragon
Yuatcha: This is an extremely flash Chinese restaurant in the midst of Soho. Being near my office, one of my favourite lunchtime pastimes is to gaze in at their spectacular patisserie section as I meander past. Their rainbow of macarons are as amazing as the Parisian café Laduree’s, but here you’ll find them in slightly more exotic flavours. Coffee milk chocolate anise, coconut pistachio cinnamon, hibiscus, lychee raspberry and chocolate jasmine are just a few. If you wish to take a box away, expect an artfully wrapped box to be handed over.

Whereas the basement is where you’ll star spot in the evenings, the ground floor of the restaurant has more of a teahouse vibe, making it the perfect place for a fabulous afternoon tea (which comes with dim sum as well as pastries), or just for their spectacular desserts. Along with hand-painted chocolates and truffles, you will spend 10 minutes simply gazing at their intricate works of art.

For me it was a tough choice…would it be the passionella, with milk chocolate biscuit and mousse topped with passionfruit cream and coulis? Perhaps the asian citrus yuzu? Yuzu Kura has a dark chocolate mousse, yuzu jelly, yuzu and a dark chocolate biscuit. Apricot Millefeuille with caramelized puff pastry, lemongrass almond biscuit, apricot compote and coconut cream?

No, for my fellow gum shoe and I, it was the dragon. A diamond angled dark chocolate case with dark chocolate brownie as a base, topped with a spicy dark chocolate ganaches, raspberries and little cubes od raspberry and red pepper coulis. Delicious!

15-17 Broadwick Street
Soho, London W1F 0DL
Tel: 020 7494 8888

Mon-Thurs: 11am-11.30pm
Fri-Sat: 11am-11.45pm
Sun: 11am-10.30pm
(dim sum served from midday)


Paul A YoungYoung Hot Chocolate
Paul A Young: London in winter can be a cold dark place. Which is a perfect reason to indulge in some warming rich real hot chocolate. Paul A Young is a chocolatier who has 2 boutiques in London. His truffles are spectacular, particularly if you are keen to challenge your tastebuds. Marmite is a brown yeasty spread that people on this side of the world spread on their toast for breakfast. You either love it or you hate it…and I couldn’t love Paul’s marmite chocolate truffle more.
But on the day I squelched into Paul’s warm inviting purple store (it was raining cats and dogs outside), it was his hot chocolate and brownies that called. Paul’s hot chocolate is dark, rich, creamy and spiced to your liking. The Mayans used to add spices such as chilli, cinnamon, ginger and pepper to their drinking chocolates, and at Paul’s, you’re able to choose what you’d like to spice up your cup of liquid heaven.
His delightfully sinful brownies have been named ‘the gooiest in Britain’. The moment you take a bite, it all makes sense. They’re available in classic chocolate fudge, stem ginger, simnel (with spiced fruits and marzipan) or my favourite…Pecan.

 

Keep in mind that a lot of shops in the City aren’t open during the weekends, so if you’re after a wonderfully wicked weekend fix, you should head to his Islington store instead. (Angel tube station)

33 Camden Passage,
Islington, London
N1 8EA
(Angel Tube)

Closed Monday-Tuesday
11am-6pm Wed, Thurs, Saturday
11am-7pm Friday
12-5pm Sunday

20 Royal Exchange,
Threadneedle St, London
EC3V 3LP
(Bank tube)

10am-6.30pm Monday-Wednesday, Friday
10am-7pm Thursday
Closed weekends
Also shut for lunch between 2-2.30pm daily.

Mrs. Marengo, LondonMrs. Marengo Cheesecake 

Mrs Marengos: In the heart of London’s media region (Soho), you’ll find a number of vegetarian restaurants. Mrs Marengo’s is a wonderful place for a quick bite- I’m a daily visitor for their wonderful vege soups. But it’s not just the vege delights that make this place a must visit…their front window is always filled with a huge variety of cakes, slices, biscuits, tarts and cupcakes.
The Lemon Meringue pie seems to get bigger every time I pass, and the white chocolate pistachio cheesecake gets me every time!
There’s almost always a couple of gluten free, vegan or wheat free options, including rich dark brownies and chocolate raspberry truffle cake…just perfect with a side of their homemade honey frozen yoghurt. It’s a great little place to pop into when you want to get away from the chaos of Oxford St or the tourist prices of Piccadilly Circus!

 

Open Monday-Friday 8am-6pm (Breakfast 8am-11.30am)
Saturday 12pm-6pm (breakfast 12pm-4pm..for those who like a sleep in!)
0207 287 2544

53 Lexington Street, Soho, London W1F 9AN
Nearest tube:
Oxford Circus Tube Station (0.4 km)
Piccadilly Circus Tube Station (0.4 km)
Tottenham Court Road Tube Station (0.5 km)
Leicester Square Tube Station (0.6 km)

Peanut butter chocolate chip cupcakes from Outsider Tart, LondonOutsider Tart "Pup"Cakes 

Outsider Tart: Run by two business and life partners (both handily called David), this place specializes in classic American sweeties. Mega sweet chunky brownies the size of New York, mega cupcakes in dozens of exotic flavours with loads of whipped buttercream (mmm, chai anyone?) and pies galore!

 

The guys also do a fabulous cake and pie selection (lemon meringue, peach, pecan…and they’re even trying to convert us to sweet potato and pumpkin!)

One of the Davids was raised in the Deep South so has brought his passion for biscuits and scones to Outsider Tart. Here in the UK, we’re used to petite sweet scones with a smattering of jam and clotted cream….but these guys do good ‘ol American ones in every flavour from Chocolate to Chestnut to Cheddar and Dill.

My favourite part of their selection is their ‘Barkery’. That way you can buy a cupcake for yourself, and a ‘Pupcake’ specifically for your dog!

The boys bake their goods from the downstairs area of Profile, a gay bar in Soho. They used to sell their wares at the bar, but due to some issues with the bar’s hours, you usually find them at their stalls in different farmers markets in London.
The markets are a little further afield, but definitely worth checking out!

Every Saturday at Richmond Farmers Market
Heron Square, London TW9
Time: 11am - 3pm

Also, every Sunday at Chiswick Farmers Market
Dukes Meadows, Chiswick W4
Time: 10am - 2pm

 

Reader Comments (16)

I have a truly long layover in London coming up, I can't wait to visit Yuatcha! Joy.

February 7 | Unregistered Commenterchou

wow I ll have to visit these next time I go :)

February 7 | Unregistered CommenterSnooky doodle

Hmmm good! Can you eat cheesecake for breakfast? I am going to find out. ~Kelly

http://www.deniablydomestic.blogspot.com" REL="nofollow">unDeniably Domestic

February 8 | Unregistered CommenterKelly

Makes me want to hop across the pond right now! Those meringue "crowns" on the cupcakes look fantastic!

I can vouch for both Hummingbird and Outsider Tart - they are GREAT! Never had a bad cupcake from either and OT's meringue topped cupcakes are one of the nicest things I've ever eaten!

February 9 | Unregistered CommenterI heart cupcakes

Oh my goodness what a culinary treat of a trip! I'm now seriously craving hot chocolate and scones.

February 9 | Unregistered CommenterDiana

..making red velvet cupcakes today...have to. Love London and their great restaurants--especially the British Museum's bakery--their scones and clotted cream are hands-down the very best!

February 9 | Unregistered CommenterMomza

yum. I'll just add this to the list of reasons why I should be sponsored for a vacation to London.

Hum! I've only heard of Hummingbird bakery and I live here! Must eat more cake!

February 10 | Unregistered Commenterflurogoddess

Thank you for this post! I'm an American expat living in London - Hummingbird's red devil is my special treat when I'm feeling homesick. yautcha is lovely too - dim sum downstairs and jewel box pastries upstairs.

Paul A Young and Outsider Tart are new to me so I'm excited to check them out!

Your http://online-free-recipe.blogspot.com/" REL="nofollow">Recipes site is really great.

Thanks
Mithun
http://online-free-recipe.blogspot.com/" REL="nofollow">Free Online Recipes

February 10 | Unregistered CommenterMithun

Great idea and lots of incredible puns.

February 10 | Unregistered CommenterLeslie F. Miller

Ooh, I love London! I had some great vegan sweets when I went last year!

I love the Outsider Tart name

February 10 | Unregistered CommenterJeanna

I miss living in London!
Those cupcakes look fantastic.

http://cookwithfire.blogspot.com/

February 12 | Unregistered CommenterFlame Thrower

just got back from mrs marengo's and the chocolate raspberry truffle cake was divine!!! simply delicious :))

May 11 | Unregistered Commenterashiebee
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