London especially seems to have gone cupcake crazy in the last few years with lots of cutesy little bakeries popping up everywhere, just selling... cupcakes.
But stuck on where to go for the best Red Velvet Cupcake or Banoffee Pie Cupcake? Then read on...
The Hummingbird Bakery make amazing cupcakes that are so fluffy you don't come away with that sickly sweet feeling, even though they look like they couldn't have any more sugar in them. One of the best for ultimate US-style cupcakes. Some do tend to err on the sweet side, but the range of flavours is a big plus. Strawberry cheesecake, for example, is vanilla sponge with strawberries, cream cheese frosting and a sprinkling of crushed digestive biscuits. It also has an excellent 'Made Without' range where you can get all sorts of cupcakes without gluten, and quite frankly I couldn't tell via taste which was which - always a bonus. This place is also renowned for its Red Velvet cupcake, a cupcake made of deep red vanilla sponge with a light taste of chocolate and yummy cream cheese frosting.
Five different stores all over London and they even deliver for quite a high price. But they are perfect for parties, birthday pressies or just a little treat for yourself.
Lola's Cupcakes are such a treat. They are all baked fresh on the day and only use natural ingredients. The strawberry cupcake is one to try, it contains real strawberries mixed with melted white chocolate.
Absolutely amazing, and the best thing is, they come in tiny little mini cupcakes that are bite size and enough to fill that craving but also perfect if you can't decide on flavours and want to try a couple. I personally recommend the cookies and cream. A little mouthful of heaven.
They also have a new treat for you in the shape of their Lactofree Strawberry Delight cupcakes. Following on from the success of their gluten-free cupcakes Lola's have teamed up with Lactofree, the UK's only lactose-free dairy range, to literally put the icing on the cake.
The Lactofree Strawberry Delight cupcake has a strawberry and vanilla sponge base, a whip of strawberry butter cream and is topped off with a fresh strawberry. But for those of you that are intolerant there'll be no uncomfortable side effects as all the ingredients are lactose-free.
They have four stores across London, so plenty to choose from.
I was wandering along Clapham High Street the other week when I ran into Peggy's Cupcakes. Peggy's have to be some of the prettiest cupcakes ever and absolutely delicious too.
They can be found every Saturday at the Partridges Fine food market near Sloane Square and Venn Street market, which is opposite Clapham Common Tube.
Brilliantly, Peggy's also have cupcake making classes or wedding cake classes using all of the ingredients they use in the ones they sell. The best part of it is that you get 12 to take away with you afterwards.
The cakes they make are just stunning to look at. Recently, owner Rosalind Miller made these fantastic Bollywood style cakes.
Orders can also be taken online through their website or over the phone but definitely worth a trip to Clapham or Sloane Square for a taste.
Bake a boo
Tucked up all the way in West Hampstead, hidden away from the main streets of that area, is this gorgeous petite place Bake-A-Boo.
What makes it even more special is that it isn't your usual bake shop, tea room. It serves a scrumptious range of 'speciality cakes' which are made so that those with allergies such as gluten and wheat intolerance can, like everyone else, fully indulge in something that they should not be deprived of.
A lovely place to drop by on a Sunday afternoon for a cup of afternoon tea and indulge yourself in a cupcake (or two). It is a very feminine quaint little place, and is also perfect for families to take their kids along for the ride.
Crumbs and Dollies
This market favourite Crumbs and Dollies is still going strong, trading in crowd-pleasing cupcake flavours from salted caramel (made with proper Maldon sea salt) to raspberry and white chocolate.
They feature in many markets over London on various days of the week and are definitely worth the visit. There are vegan cupcakes, too.
Pastry chef Clare Ptak brought her beautifully made cupcakes to Broadway Market in 2005, and finally opened her own café Violet in trendy Wilton Way, Hackney, in 2010. The signature cupcake here is a candied violet cupcake although the coconut milk creations are amazing. The mini bite-sized cupcakes are perfect for a spontaneous treat
Buttercup Cake Shop
The Buttercup Cake Shop is filled with US favourites such as red velvet and banana split but there are some British concessions, too, such as Bounty bar. The main shop is in Kensington but a kiosk at Westfield London provides sweet respite in between shopping sprees. Truly delicious and so many flavours to choose from, plus each cupcake is very carefully hand made. Definitely don't miss this one.
Cakeadoodledo is a gorgeous bakery producing top-quality cup cakes, made from natural ingredients (including Green & Blacks chocolate and their own free-range eggs).
Their cakes range from beautifully-decorated traditional-style cakes to elaborate versions too.
They are ideal for weddings and other special occasions, and special stands can be hired if necessary. Sadly at the moment they aren't in markets in London but can be ordered online here.
Bea's of Bloombury
Bea's of Bloomsbury is best known for its light buttercream frostings, such as a deliciously tart raspberry number with rich chocolate cake. The little cafe has dark decor, but the lighting is good so it doesn't feel oppressive. The flock design on one wall is echoed in the black and blue upholstered dining chairs, and there's mellow background music.
Bea's cupcakes use fresh produce and the finest ingredients in an attempt to "redefine the concept of takeout as quality, indulgence and style," which they are doing a pretty good job of. Staff are welcoming and there's a very relaxed atmosphere and the whole place is just so pretty.
Bea's of Bloomsbury has branches on the King's Road in Chelsea and at One New Change in the City. But the original in Bloomsbury is just the best. Best of all, they also run classes so you can learn to make the yummy cupcakes that they sell.
I came to the Primrose Bakery in Primrose Hill specifically to try the cupcakes after a friend used the Primrose Hill bakery cookbook to make some incredible caramel icing. As soon as you enter you realise you are in for a treat - it is bustling with happy people, smells utterly amazing and has a very homely feel.
My personal favourite was the lemon meringue cupcake, just delicious but not too sickly.