Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Continuing with my cake reflections from the past few months, I thought I'd share my findings from The Love Bakery, Peyton and Byrne and The Euphorium Bakery.

I'll start with one of my favourites, The Love Bakery on the Kings Road in Chelsea. Having passed this lovely little shop several times on the bus, and seen beautiful photographs, I couldn't wait to try out their cakes and I certainly wasn't disappointed upon first taste! Behold the prettiness:

I chose a selection of 4 cupcakes- Chocolate, Banana, Vanilla and Red Velvet, although there are many more flavours and varieties to try...

My banana cupcake had a nicely spiced sponge with a slightly wholemeal taste about it, giving the potential illusion of healthiness, especially with the inclusion of fruit (1 of my 5 of a day!?). The banana flavouring blended nicely with the sponge and didn't cause it to go dry, as I have tasted with banana cakes before, and was less chunky than some comparable recipes. I liked this about the texture, and with a smooth creamy buttercream on top with a sculpted bunch of bananas to complete the look, it was very nice too. Love's buttercream on a cake like this proves very sweet and as the decorations are made of it too, it's not one if you find icing overpowering. But now onto the even sweeter stuff....

Red Velvet had to be tried, knowing it's one of the bakery's most popular varieties and a general classic of the cupcake world. This was a nice change to what can sometimes be a rather indifferent flavour in my opinion, and the sponge had just the right balance of colour, taste and texture. Cream cheese icing wasn't too heavy on top of the cake, and dusted off with a few pretty heart-shaped sprinkles that added a bit of crunch, this is one red velvet I'll be coming back for.

 The delicate Vanilla cupcake in my box was simple and effective with its pretty gold rose with soft green leaves made of icing resting on a bed of smooth vanilla buttercream. This had a good amount of vanilla flavouring so the cake didn't taste too bland, and
this is a nice one to go for if you want a classic with not too much of a sugar rush!

For a lovely combination of rich, sweetness and delicate sponge, look no further than Love's chocolate cupcake...

Beneath its cutesy, glittery demeanour this cupcake packs a full-on chocolatey punch, and is definitely one to be enjoyed again and again, particularly when it looks so pretty. That carefully created delicate springy sponge is to be found, only this time with a rich chocolate taste to add a bit more interest. Combined with the soft chocolate buttercream and firmer icing decorations of flowers and butterflies, this variety is much more satisfying than a chocolate bar and looks better too...

 Love Bakery definitely do make some fantastic cupcakes that taste and look amazing- their shop is worth visiting for picking up tiny bits of cake-paraphenalia as well as getting inspired by their seasonal decorations and of course, their edible concoctions. Get off at Sloane Square, have a leisurely wander, and keep going...the walk is definitely worth the wait!

Also, a quick plug while I remember, for their deliciously pink book filled with mouth-watering pictures and recipes so you can create your own versions at home- this has not yet reached my shelves, but I've already reserved a space for it- even their book looks good enough to eat...

Now to Peyton and Byrne...beloved of many a St Pancras Station traveller, and potentially many an avid-baker thanks to their recent recipe book contributionm British Baking- sticking with the pastel coloured theme, look out for a lovely lilac looking hard-back.

Now the book looks good, and I'm a fan of their savoury offerings- many a piece of beautiful warm salmon quiche has been devoured on my train journeys home from St Pancras..however, despite willing myself to be wowed by their cupcakes, I'm simply not taken with them, despite repeat purchases to try and prove me otherwise. They obviously have a prime spot amid the glass-paned shops of the station, cleverly situated below the escalator on which you can eye up your chosen sugar-fix, and their cupcakes' allure is unavoidable. Their stiffly piped icing is distinctive, and piled high in an assortment of colours, and when it looks that good, how can you resist?
Peyton and Byrne must have selected the finest of fine ingredients for all of their products, as even considering inflated station prices for such things, their desserts are a little indigestible for the must be their presentation and hand-crafted style that rationalises it in the end. So onto my blackcurrant cupcake...
More of a muffin-style cake, the sponge is not as moist as I'd hope, and I can't help but wonder if the open displays of food get a little past their best while sitting all day amid the hustle and bustle. After a rather dense sponge comes the colossal pile of buttercream- in this case, a blend of fresh blackcurrant lifts it from being too heavy. A dusting of icing sugar adds to the sweetness, and with this quantity of icing the cake does become hard to eat without a fork and sadly often ends up a half-finished cake instead of a satisfying scattering of crumbs. I'm sure there are fans of their cakes, else why would they be there, but personally I'll stick to Love Bakery or Primrose Bakery for a little lighter elegance.

And finally....The Euphorium Bakery on Upper Street in Islington was a lovely location to warm up after a heavy day of Christmas shopping way back in December. Amid a vast array of breads, pastries, cakes and coffees, I selected a piece of cream-filled swiss roll to enjoy and am looking forward to widening my options next time I visit. Famed for its onsite bakery, this branch of Euphorium prides itself on freshly made on premises products every day, everything mixed with "a large dash of sweet love and affection".

My strawberry and cream slice of swiss roll was a decadent serving, framed by a firm sponge with a nicely manageable soft cream filling, scattered with strawberries. In between the sponge and cream was a surprisingly fruity addition of blueberry compote that added a moist quality to the sponge, which prevented dryness and added a nice blend of summery fruits to the cake. This generous portion was just the right size to take time over and left me ever so slightly craving more from their mouth-watering cabinet, or maybe a beautifully decorated birthday cake delivered to my door...take a look at their website for the full story and numerous edible options in their 'Cake Portfolio'...Mmmm

Next time I'm giving you a quick flashback to festive times so you can see my Great Festive Tea Party...hopefully then there will be time for a Valentine's Tea Party newsflash before my highly anticipated Royal Wedding Tea Party- the guests are already waving their union jacks in excitement! Until then....

Saturday, 9 April 2011

Cupcake Catch-up

As I write, I realise it's been an excessive 5 months since my last blog post, so it's time to make up for my absence and show you all the cakes I've been devouring and making- this may take a few posts, but will hopefully be worth it!

After making my Halloween cupcakes, I decided to follow them with more using Bonfire Night as my inspiration. One of my favourite cake books, 'Eat Me: The Stupendous, Self-Raising World of Cupcakes & Bakes According to Cookie Girl', has beautiful recipes in, including Bonfire Cupcakes in the Autumn chapter which I had to try.
  The cakes themselves are chocolate sponge, and once baked, taken out of their cases and turned upside down. Cream cheese butter icing with strong red colouring (I used a powder after my shops had run out of liquid/paste colouring, and this was much easier to get the shade of red/orange I wanted- luckily) is then spread over the whole cupcake to create the fire. To finish off the look- orange matchmakers are placed all around each cake to make logs and create a bonfire. These cakes were quite messy to ice, and amount of colour and icing used did make them very sweet- not always to everyone's taste, but great for a treat!

Not long after I had devoured my bonfires (with a little assistance!) I decided to try The Primrose Bakery's Coffee and Walnut Cake after not having ventured beyond their cupcakes. I'm not actually a fan of walnuts, and so decided to alter the winning combination by adding chocolate chips instead- which was just as nice.

This sponge was marbled and made extra moist with a coffee sugar syrup and a soft coffee buttercream. Next time I might try honeycomb pieces to give a crunchy texture in the cake as an alternative to walnuts, as the chocolate was still quite soft alongside the sponge. This is a lovely cake to make if you have afternoon guests or want something a little more rustic than a pretty cupcake!

So after these offerings of my own, my next few posts will tell you all about various bakeries' offerings. Still to come: Euphorium Bakery, Love Bakery, Peyton and Byrne and Cakes by Laura-Jane, plus my Festive Tea Party and Post-Valentine's Boston Tea Party- lots of delights to look forward to!

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Trinity Stores, Des Lys Patisserie and Halloween

Well, October has been and gone, and I've had quite a cake-filled month- here's hoping November will be the same or better!

To start off, I've been exploring the lovely cake treats Balham has to offer. First stop- Trinity Stores on Balham Station Road. This deli and cafe is bustling with customers, and as well as getting a coffee, cake or light lunch you can stock up on nice homemade bits and bobs to fill your cupboards- chutneys, coffee, chocolates etc.

Although distracted by the vast array of sandwiches, salad and quiches, I restrained myself to just having chocolate cupcakes that were beautifully displayed on a cake-stand by the till. 
 These mini cupcakes have a rich chocolate ganache style icing, which really compliments a very chocolatey sponge- all nicely balanced with flavour. The crunch of the hundreds and thousands is a nice addition, and any other decorations could make the combination over-complicated. For a fully chocolatey taste, these mini cupcakes hit the spot, though any bigger and it might be too much. I really like the homemade look of these cakes, which fits in with Trinity Stores and its style, and hope to sample more of their cakes soon- I'll be branching away from cupcakes next time!

Take a look at Trinty Stores on their website, or go and have a visit- it's right by the station, so there's no excuse!

Next up- staying in Balham- the delightful Des Lys Patisserie Boulangerie on Bedford Hill. This French patisserie and cafe is small and welcoming, with three tables where you can sit and enjoy delicate cakes in a quiet, peaceful atmosphere. The selection on offer includes homemade pastries, artisanal bread, croissants and cakes (whole or pieces). Also on the counter are fun French sweets to give it that 'out-of-London' feel!

When choosing my cake, I couldn't resist a piece of beautiful pink and white Genoise cake, which didn't disappoint when tasting!

The delicate layers of thin sponge and strawberry flavoured mousse make this cake decadent but not too rich- light and easy to eat. The cake is topped with a thin layer of  mousse and glaze, then piped white chocolate with a sprinkling of coconut. The taste is delicious, and its lightness makes this cake a delight to eat. I'm already looking forward to my next piece of cake from Des Lys!

Take a look at their website for more information:

And finally....

For Halloween, I decided to have some fun with cupcakes of my own, and tried out Red Velvet for the first time. As well as enjoying the fun chemical reaction when you add the white wine vinegar and baking soda, the slightly more time consuming recipe ended up being worthwhile, and I enjoyed making weird and wonderful designs.

Enjoying these only slightly consoled me and my disappointment at missing Cupcake Camp, which I have been reading lots about on year I hope to be there in force, but will be perfecting my own baking efforts so I can contribute too!
Until next time....

Saturday, 16 October 2010

Cupcake Blog Backlog!

Well, it's been a bit too long since my last blog, but I have been busy eating cake..and will gradually be adding some delicious pictures and reviews bit by bit! I'm sure that a few non-cakes, macaroons etc, will enter the mix, but be reassured that they'll still be as sumptuously sweet!

Now onto my latest cakes- brought to me courtesy of a friend of mine, who knows the very talented owner of Sweetie Pies Boutique Bakery in Twickenham. These gorgeous cakes were from their stall at Camden Market (every Friday, Saturday and Sunday), and very nice they are too...

The mini chocolate cake was the first I tried, and the richness of the chocolate flavour is great- not too full-on, but a fuller chocolatey taste than a lot of sponges. The butter icing is beautifully smooth, with lovely pastel colours to contrast with the sponge- almost looking like colourful meringues on top!  The decorations on the cakes are simple and delicate, and the little penny sweets on top give them a lovely kitsch look.

So onto the white chocolate with the chocolate, the icing and sponge balance is just right and the lightness of the sponge is great, particularly with the addition of white chocolate chips this time. Every bite is rich with the white chocolate alongside the sponge, and the buttercream icing is smooth and creamy- topped off with a sugared raspberry sweet and sugar confetti, it's a pleasure to eat. 

I hope to make a proper visit to Sweetie Pies at the shop in Twickenham very soon, and will have a few more cakes to sample, but in the mean time, I definitely recommend looking them up or heading to Camden to their stall.

You can find out more at:
Coming soon- cakes from Love Bakery on the Kings Road, Assorted Macaroons and Konditor and Cook!

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Tea Party Delights

  While deciding which cake destinations to re-visit and review their latest offerings, I recently took part in a baking marathon preparing for my first ever tea party! I was lucky enough to find a lovely collection of vintage cups and saucers, tea pots and cake plates at recent village fetes, stumbled-upon antique shops and dusty drawers at home, which encouraged me to strive to create the perfect tea party...Suddenly the stock of 3 cake-stands I have doesn't seem quite so ridiculous, as I begin to worry if we will have enough plates to store my planned delicacies! I needn't have worried, thanks to Talking Tables' current vintage-inspired tea party paraphenalia, which provided me with a floral and lace patterned paper tablecloth, floral cake toppers and patterned platters to add to the genuine articles. Paper floral garlands and paper chains adorned the house, and my collection of flowers, corsages and brooches were dotted around to add extra prettiness...but now to the cakes...

I decided on 4 varieties of cupcake- Peaches and Cream, Rose, Vanilla and White Chocolate and Raspberry- icing with various pastel colours and decorating every single one individually with different sprinkles, flowers and glitter- just under 70 were made in the end!

I also made lavender meringues with home-grown lavender and a purple tint, petit fours and orange, vanilla and rose macaroons. These last two were the most challenging- fondant icing being the most frustrating to spread on each side of my sponge sandwich cubes, and macaroons due to trying a new recipe and having a more biscuit-like consistency. They looked how I had hoped, and next time I intend to create the perfect specimens! Adding to the collection, friends made the perfect two-tone brown and white cucumber sandwiches, Victoria Sponge, Lemon Drizzle, chocolate brownies, peanut butter fudge, rocky road and chocolate fudge as well as a few ready-made classics. After a lot of colour-coordinated cake arranging, the tea-table looked resplendent in its sparkly, sugary, floral beauty! Champagne and Bucks Fizz out of tea cups, with tea as an alternative, made all the guests feel even more decadent, and with the sun shining on our garden, it was the perfect combination.

Enjoy the pictures and I'll be planning Mark II as soon as my oven recovers...meanwhile, let the cake-eating commence!


Wednesday, 1 September 2010


This is my opening blog to introduce 'Have Your Cake and Tweet It'- a new way to enthuse about cake! I will be posting reviews and recommendations for cafes, restaurants and bars that have delectable cakes on sale and encouraging people to do the same. Using my twitter page: I will enable people to have their cake and tweet it!
Suggestions will always be welcome for anywhere to explore around London and other regions if they're worth it- no promises on travelling far and wide just yet, but I'll see what i can do!
Bear with me while I get this started, but I hope I'll be able to sample some mouthwatering morsels and make some along the way too. Watch this space!
                                                                                                 The London Cake Queen