The Great Cupcake Parade

…well almost.

There was an article in the paper this week that struck my fancy. They ranked all the cupcakes in London and gave a list of the top 8 establishments. With this in mind, I proposed that G and I fast so that we could venture out for a Cupcake Parade Saturday in order to give the best a ranking of our own.

With this in mind, we constructed a map and an itinerary for our day. First up, Primrose Bakery in Chalk Farm. Next, Peyton & Byrne at Euston Square. Then, Outsider’s Tart in Leicester Square to be followed by Konditor & Cook on Shafesbury and finally over for a couple others in Kensington before heading up to Kilburn for the final sample. And the eighth, called Treacle in Tower Hamlets, would have to wait until our next trip out to Columbia Road Flower Market to pick up orchids (a usual haunt).

21032So at 1pm this afternoon, we set out. We walked to Primrose Bakery from our flat–it’s right by a restaurant where we met our friend Krista and her boyfriend when they visited this year so it was easy to find. the cute logo imprinted on the shop’s window had a bird atop a cupcake saying ‘sweet sweet’–so inviting. And those of you who know me welll know that I LOVE mosaic tile. Hence, their mosaic tile welcome mat made a favourable impression. Upon stepping inside, I was transported back in time. The glowing laminate table tops, and sunshine coloured vinyl chairs harkened back to days gone by…to cupcakes in grandmothers’ kitchens around the world. And the smell…heaven!. Not to mention the fresh flowers on the tables. And the drawers. Not trays…but DRAWERS of cupcakes also make an impression.

21020So. G and I ordered a couple of the recommended vanilla cupcakes and were immediately struck by the vibrant colours. They were decorated with beautifully formed contrasting icing flowers, as well. But how would the cupcakes rate on our flavour, texture and overall ranks?

21027The vanilla cupcake didn’t have much flavour 🙁 And while the cupcakes were GORGEOUS, the cake texture was a bit crumbly and the frosting was just a tad too sweet by G’s palette (though I liked the frosting myself). But overall, I would have to say that the cupcakes would probably rank 2.5/5 on my scale with the aesthetics of the cake as well as the cafe allowing them the most points.

21042Next up? Peyton & Byrne at Euston Square. Unfortunately, this shop didn’t have the street presence that Primrose did. Tucked within a Museum Square (ironically housed inside a local Medical Museum), the big stone facade threw us. But finally once we were inside, the cupcakes were in plain sight.

21037Though there were lots of varieties, we opted for the recommended Coconut/Raspberry cupcakes. There was clearly as much frosting as cake. And tucked between the two layers was a bit of raspberry jam. While the ambience wouldn’t fare well against the Primrose Bakery, the cupcake was much better. The aesthetic of the cakes was more mature and perhaps less appealing. But, the cake was moist and solid and pleasantly flavoured with vanilla. And the touch of raspberry was a nice compliment to the coconut and vanilla flavours. Our only complaint was the sugar rush that followed thanks to all that frosting. But, overall we’d have to give the cupcake a 4/5 rank. It was very good.

Next, we moved South to Leicester Square and the name of our next haunt became more understandable once we realized it was in the gay club district. The Outsider Tart is run by two Americans, but is tucked in the basement of a gay bar. Upon entering the bar to ask where we could find the cupcakes, the bartender delivered the bad news that there was no one in to take us to see the cakes. Imagine our surprise. So….we moved on to the next shop on the list.

Konditor and Cook has heavenly things in the window within the location by my (K) office at London Bridge/Borough Market. So, we were excited to check out their Shaftesbury Avenue location. But unfortunately, it closed! But by this time, the sugar from the first two shops had kicked in and we were both feeling a bit ill. That’s right. We hit our limit after 1.5 cupcakes for K and 2.5 cupcakes for G. Who would have thought? Serious sugar shock.

So, since our Cupcake Parade derailed mid-course, we’ve decided that once our aversion to cupcakes subsides, we’ll resurrect the parade one location at a time.

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