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London's best cupcakes

The cupcake is back and more tempting than ever. Start the countdown on London's ten best cupcakes whipped up in masterful bakeries, cafés and shops around town

© Rob Greig

The combination of sweet icing and fluffy sponge in an irresistibly cute package means cupcakes are our tea-time treat of choice. Delve into our delectable countdown of London's ten best cupcakes found in shops, bakeries and cafés going one step beyond the rest.

London's best cupcakes

10

Persian Love Cake at Lily Vanilli

£5

In the ultra-competitive world of cupcake-making, you need to keep upping your game, and that’s exactly what bakery goddess Lily Vanilli has done. Her Persian Love Cakes are the perfect consistency: not too heavy, not too light – and they come with micro-nuggets of pecan. As for the towering rose, balanced precariously on top… before you dismiss it as style over substance, know this: it holds your destiny. That’s right, there’s a teeny-tiny fortune cookie note tucked inside. How cute is that?

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Bethnal Green
9

Carrot cake at 108 Pantry

£3

At this boutique hotel in Marylebone you’ll find one of the best carrot cakes in London. Topped with a dollop of tart cream-cheese icing, it has the sort of homemade quality that would make Mary Berry proud. It’s served with a slice of carrot to remind you that it’s okay, there’s some of nature’s goodness in there too.

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Marylebone
8

The Ambassador at Ms Cupcake

£2.60

Intolerant, vegan or just plain fussy, you’ll be fine here. This Brixton indie cake shop has all the bases covered with its dairy-free range. The Ambassador is a kick-ass chocolate sponge covered in nuts, like a Ferrero Rocher on steroids.

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Brixton
7

Salted Caramel Cupcake at Hummingbird Bakery

£2.50

Billed as ‘authentic American cakes’, Hummingbird’s offerings are big on what our Stateside pals call ‘frosting’ but thankfully what’s beneath is just as good too. The salted caramel has enough sweetness to get you through a dull Monday morning meeting.

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South Kensington
6

Coconut at Violet Cakes

£3

Think back to a time before freakshakes, bacon jam and ‘Man vs Food’. Claire Ptak may be Californian but she’s acing old-school English baking; fluffy, crumbly cake comes balanced with just the right amount of silky, snow-white coconut buttercream. Generous sprinklings of desiccated coconut add bite to this WI-standard indulgence, which would go dreamily with a strong brew. A worthy gold-star-winner at the village fete bake-off, this is simple baking at its best. 

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Dalston
5

Jaffa Cake at Primrose Bakery

£3.50

Points to Primrose Bakery for imagination – they’ve basically recreated the humble Jaffa Cake in cupcake form. Glossy, gloopy chocolate frosting is cut through by a light lemony sponge and an orange jam layer, near identical to the McVitie recipe. Get your hands on this bad boy when you want a nostalgia hit – without the dizzying sugar high.  

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Primrose Hill
4

Banana & chocolate cupcake at Crumbs & Doilies

£2.85

This cupcake is completely amazing IF you eat it the right way. Which is to start at the bottom, then – slowly – work your way up. This means you'll fully appreciate the subtle banana flavour of the moist, not-too-sweet cake, before one of the chocolate chips melts in your mouth and you finally reach the creamy chocolate icing. You can also get it in a mini version (£1.45), which is so adorable we could cry.

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Soho
3

Red Velvet at Fairy Pan Bakery

£1 each, £16 for 25

After baking her first cake aged six, Silvia Stocchino (aka FairyPan) now magics up these bitesize beauties in her Homerton kitchen. Teensy enough to pop in your mouth but too good to gulp in one go, the moist red velvet bottom comes topped with a delicate blob of cream cheese frosting and a dusting of sugar pralines. Sod the restraint, have five – they’re too cute not to.

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Brick Lane
2

Posh Peanut Butter Cup at Flavourtown Bakery

£2.75

Purists, look away now – there’s as much frosting on this as there is cake. Grotesque as that may be, we love it. Just one word of warning: don’t tackle this on your own – go halves with a sweet-toothed companion. PB mousse buttercream quivers like a giant blancmange when it’s cut open and a smooth Skippy core oozes from the choc-chip studded cake. The whole damn thing is dipped in chocolate, before being sprayed gold. Bonkers, but brilliant.

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North Acton
1

Banoffee at Peggy Porschen Cakes

£3.80

Peggy’s banana bread-banoffee mashup made us lose our shit. In a good way. This celeb baker spares no expense on ingredients; dense sponge is flecked with black (proof there’s a fair bit of real banana in there), frosting is oh-so-velvety and chewy dark-choc chips grab you when you least expect them. Eat with caution: the perfectly sweetened toffee centre will get everywhere. But for a cupcake as wondrous as this, it’s worth getting your trousers dry-cleaned. 

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Belgravia

Find more beautiful cakes in London

The best cakes in London

We Londoners like a little sweetness in our lives. And it's not all iced buns and victoria sponges – we have baked goods from across the globe right here on our doorstep. As proof, we've picked ten of the most beautiful and delicious cakes we could find to show that a spoonful of sugar really does help everything go down.

Read more
By: Ashleigh Arnott

Comments

118 comments
James G
James G

I see the annual Cupcake article has re-surfaced with predictable drudgery.  Time Out has sold out, filling innocent minds with poorly researched advice with clearly no actual interest in the products they are selecting. Some of these are cakes offered by top quality hotels with dedicated pastry chefs. The type of chefs that have been trained from 4yrs old and only allowed outside when it snows to take inspiration how to ice a Victoria sponge, or a dry red velvet. I'm also stunned that an entirely Vegan company is here. Vegan cupcakes are totally fine but they are like electric cars, if you made a list of the top 10 cars available Tesla wouldn't be on it.


For me Crumbs and Doilies are the best cupcakes. There are imitators (behave, Flavourtown) but little come close. Each to their own, but to not feature in this list again is wrong. I like them because of the way the icing marries with the soft sponge. Baking the sponge closely to the time of icing is crucial, as well as the icing mixture itself to make this happen, and that's why I like them. This also translates to the bigger cakes as well, which are meticulously designed and so much care goes into each one.


If I have to walk past that empty Lola's cart in Blackfriars station again, I may report them for unsuitable working conditions for their staff.

Katarzyna A
Katarzyna A

James G Could you mention the companies you are talking about? would appreciate. @James G 

James G
James G

This is surely one of the most inaccurate and poorly researched articles I have seen in Time Out. There are companies that are working incredibly hard to create a genuinely brilliant product, and to have some half baked (yup I did it) PR backed stunt knock them back in favor of mass produced, dull and fault filled cakes, is very disappointing.  I know that companies mentioned here have questionable practices when producing cakes that compromise their quality. Recent buy-outs have led to falls in standards and corner cutting is very obvious when making such a delicate product. Other companies, not featured here, produce cakes without freezing the sponges after mass production runs, use very high quality ingredients and have an excellent brand to boot. Also,  this is clearly just a re-print (again lazy) as comments left are from 2013 when the article above says printed in 2015...

mariam o
mariam o

Do you mind giving some suggestions, I'm looking for somewhere 2-3 friends and could seat and enjoy some cakes and a cuppa. Somewhere not too busy prefebly not a chain (:

James G
James G

@mariam o It depends on the atmosphere/decore/style you're after. There is no small list of venue to suggest in London and they are spread all over so have a proper think about where you might be in town and research that area. Any 5* hotel will be good but will pay a lot for them, if you just want a cake and a cuppa then there are many places available.

Kimberly S
Kimberly S

Crumbs & Doilies cupcakes, coffee, and cakes are wonderful and not too sweet.  Jemma, the owner, has 250,000 following her on YouTube, where she makes it look easy to make different flavours and seasonal cupcakes with great artistry, such as ghosts and bandaged mummies for Halloween.  Their lovely new shop is near Carnaby Street: 1 Kingley Court, W1B 5PW.