CakeSpy Note: You know what rules? Getting bakery tips from readers. Here's a great round-up of sweet spots that I know I'll be trying next time I'm in London, thanks to Cake Gumshoe Lauren H.!
I definitely do not purport to know all of the lovely bakeries in London – it is chock full of them, as one might imagine given Britain’s reputation for afternoon tea and all of the sweets that it entails. Still, my trips to the city have left me with a couple of favorites that I thought other Cakespy readers might enjoy exploring next time they’re in London!
First, Konditor and Cook, which has several locations throughout London, largely south of the Thames.
Konditor and Cook is very much a “drop in to grab a treat” type of place: while a couple of locations have tables, the majority are counters for tea, coffee, savories, and sweets.
I love Konditor and Cook because you can visit for everything from a breakfast treat to lunch to take-away pastries to cakes. A few highlights from many visits:
Traditional Millionaire Shortbread – Konditor and Cook is one of the only places that I’ve been able to find it in London, and it is more than delicious!
And, of course, it wouldn’t be a proper English bakery without a collection of cakes and tarts…(pictured top of post; clockwise from the top left: Coffee Walnut Cake, Bramley Apple Tart, Chocolate Raspberry Fudge Tart, and Almond Fruit Tart.)
Konditor and Cook is perhaps best-known for its “Magic Cakes,” which are small lemon sponge cakes that are, quite honestly, almost too adorable to eat.
If you’re looking for a more sit-down, proper-English-tea experience, Bea’s of Bloomsbury is likely to be a better fit. Bea’s has been open in Bloomsbury (relatively near The British Museum) since 2008 and recently opened a new location at One New Change, just across the street from St. Paul’s Cathedral. New Change is intended to be the “hip, younger sister” of the original location, and this intention is clear in the décor. Still, the sweets and service are the same at both locations.
Like Konditor and Cook, Bea’s does coffee, breakfast, and lunch, but afternoon tea is truly the best reason to visit Bea’s. The Bloomsbury location serves it from 2:30 to 5:30 p.m. Monday – Friday, and One New Change serves from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Monday – Friday. Both locations do weekend tea from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. Afternoon Tea at Bea’s takes on one of two forms. If you’re not too hungry or are looking to stay in the savory range, there’s the Cream Tea option, which consists of lovely, lovely scones and, of course, a pot of tea!
For the slightly more hungry (and cake lovers among us!), there’s the Sweet Afternoon Tea, featuring scones, cupcakes, brownies, blondies, meringues, homemade marshmallows, and other treats. I’m not entirely sure how it’s possible for one person to eat everything that comes on the tea tray (though I’ve seen people try!), but the Bea’s staff is wonderfully flexible in terms of allowing sharing and extra treats.
Here’s a peek of the Sweet Afternoon Tea at the Bloomsbury location (above)...
And one from One New Change...
And so ends my rather short cake walk – hopefully it will be helpful to the next Cakespy reader who has a bit of time to spare (and a sweet tooth!) in London!