London's best bakeries and cakeries
A cup of tea and a slice of cake is one of those classically British treats that can cure just about anything. Bad mood? Tea and cake. Feeling a bit poorly? Tea and cake. Don’t fancy your packed lunch? TEA AND CAKE.
Living in London means access to some of the best bakeries and cakeries in the world, but the size of the city can make hunting them down pretty tricky. Which is why we’ve done the “hard” work for you and sampled our way around the city – to bring you our round-up of the ultimate hot spots for a sweet treat.
Ottolenghi, Islington & various other locations
The food at Ottolenghi is always spectacular (especially their delicious brunch), but it’s a great place to go for pastries and cakes too – they’re usually piled high in the windows to tempt passers by. Expect cheesecakes, meringues, croissants, brioche and muffins all done to perfection, alongside fresh teas, smoothies and juices. Everything’s made fresh and the menu changes daily.
Doughnut Time, Islington & various other locations
If you’ve not tasted one of these doughnuts, you’ve probably seen them on Instagram… Doughnut Time is the home of outrageous yet amazing creations. Doughnuts come topped and loaded with chocolate, sweets and sprinkles in epic combinations – things like the Snicki Minaj (caramel chocolate glazed doughnut, topped with chocolate swirls, peanuts and Snickers), Bueno Mars (hazelnut creme filled doughnut, topped with Kinder Bueno pieces and wafer), and more make up this inventive menu. There’s even a big range of vegan treats on offer too...
Cookies and Scream, Holloway Road
“Fully vegan” and “gluten free” aren’t usually phrases you’d associate with your dream bakery, but Cookies and Scream’s cookies, brownies and doughnuts are so good you won’t even notice the missing dairy and wheat. Sample all kinds of bakes from choc chip cookies to banoffee pie and gooey brownies. And if you’ve got room left after that, tuck into a ‘Scream Shake’ – essentially brownies or cookies blended up with sauce for a super thick, indulgent milkshake.
Crosstown, Spitalfields Market & various other locations
Sourdough doughnuts. Again, not an obvious combination but try it and you’ll probably be pleasantly surprised – they’re delicious without the heavy feeling you get after a normal doughnut. Amongst the best flavours are classic vanilla bean glaze, peanut butter and blackcurrant compote, and dark chocolate truffle. Doughnut miss out on trying one (sorry).
Rinkoff Bakery, Whitechapel & Stepney Green
Rinkoff Bakery is an east London legend, that first opened its doors in 1911 and has been serving cakes, pastries, rolls and bread ever since. Whatever your sweet tooth is craving will likely appear on this menu – there are slab cakes, fruit pies, scones, cinnamon buns, cheesecake, cupcakes and more. But the “crodough” in one to try – a croissant/doughnut hybrid in flavours like salted caramel, Oreo cheesecake and toffee apple.
Lily Vanilli, Columbia Road
Sunday is the only day Lily Vanilli’s café doors open, and they stay open until sell out (3.30pm at the latest). The bakery’s menu changes constantly, but features cakes, brownies and epic sausage rolls (amongst others) with locally roasted coffees to accompany. Rumour has it this place also features on London’s Top Cupcake list… expect to queue, but it’s well worth the wait.
Palm Vaults, Hackney
Most known for its breakfast menu and amazing plant-filled interior, Palm Vaults do a pretty decent bake too. You’ll spot some beautiful cakes on stands on the café’s counter, including a bright pink creation emblazoned with their very own logo, but you can also order banana bread and pastries from the menu. Accompanied, of course, by one of their inventive and Instagrammable coffees – like the purple lavender latte.
Konditor, Goodge Street & various other locations
A personal favourite of mine, Konditor are often behind the birthday cakes we treat each other too at SpareRoom HQ! This cakery is the ultimate place for a show-stopping occasion cakes in incredible flavours – I recommend the Curly Whirly, Red Velvet and Chocolate Noisette especially. Luckily in their London cafés you can enjoy these by the slice, or tuck into one of their epic brownies. The salted caramel brownie is probably the best thing I’ve ever tasted...
Cutter & Squidge, Soho
Cutter & Squidge pride themselves on using 100% natural ingredients without compromising on taste, and the result is pretty amazing. Cakes come in inventive flavour combinations like yuzu mango and banana peanut, and you can also treat yourself to brownies, macarons, cookies or a “biskie” – a cake/cookie combination that’s filled with cream and other treats, like jam and salted caramel. Anyone else dribbling a little?
Nordic Bakery, Soho
Nordic Bakery aims to bring a taste of Scandinavia to Soho, in the form of rye bread, coffee and cinnamon buns. And it’s the buns you should try before anything else – a rustic, authentic treat with flaky pastry and firey cinnamon flavour. They’re so good they get a whole week dedicated to them every September, when Cinnamon Bun Week lands in the café.
Dominique Ansel, Victoria
This upmarket bakery is definitely not cheap, but well worth the splurge. At least half the café’s menu is dedicated to cakes, tarts and sweet treats, which is always a good sign – expect to find classics like apple tarte tatin, Victoria sponge and chocolate eclairs, as well as more creative dishes like frozen s’mores, and rhubarb and custard soft serve ice cream. The pudding theme even continues into the coffee menu… sticky toffee pudding latte, anyone?
Peggy Porschen, Chelsea & various other locations
Fairytale pink exteriors and adorable cupcakes are the vibe at Peggy Porschen. This ultra cute café has “girls day out” written all over it, and it’s probably the best place in London to treat yourself to pastel-hued bakes in a picture-perfect setting. We love the cupcakes best of all, with flavours including red velvet, salted caramel, and Eton mess.
Hummingbird Bakery, Notting Hill & various other locations
The team behind Hummingbird Bakery are responsible mostly for making Red Velvet cupcakes famous in London, but they’re pretty damn good at other cupcakes too. They also serve Snickers, Maltesers and Red Velvet cheesecakes, brownies, Whoopie pies and actual pies too – with an American theme throughout. Think: buttery, creamy toppings and melt-in-the-mouth sponge… perfection.
Gail’s, Chiswick & various other locations
There’s a Gail’s almost everywhere in London, and that kind of popularity speaks volumes to us… Whether you’re swinging in for a morning pastry and coffee on the way to work, or stopping in for a slice of pistachio, lemon and rose cake, this dreamy bakery will have something to tempt you. A personal favourite: the cheesecake. Creamy, indulgent and the most buttery base ever = cheesecake perfection.