11. Hummingbird Bakery (Notting Hill branch)
It’s hard to believe that the Hummingbird Bakery opened as long ago as 2004: its genuinely American-style looks and baking are still as fresh, sweet and appealing as ever, and the London market is showing no signs of cupcake fatigue.
The original branch in Notting Hill is still the real McCoy. Tiny, hectic, and often with a long queue outside, it’s a little haven of truly American pies of cartoonish proportions, tall and pretty layer cakes, and rows and rows of sprinkled, pastel cupcakes. These legendary cupcakes come in classic flavours (vanilla, chocolate, red velvety, carrot etc) with soft sponge and sufficient sugary buttercream topping to give you a severe sugar rush. There are also highly photogenic seasonal specials (mostly vanilla and chocolate but with different decorations), plus a new range to coincide with the recent book Cake Days including a date-filled sticky toffee version (above). Pies are the ones we know of from reading classic children’s books and watching old cartoons, and prove to be just as good in real life as imagined: Mississippi Mud Pie, Key Lime Pie, Pumpkin Pecan Pie, and Banana Cream Pie.
The bakery will also fulfil all sorts of special orders. There’s a big business in ordering on-line for delivery within London - the maximum of 312 cupcakes per order gives an idea of how many cupcakes are now being consumed by Londoners. It’s all very flexible with options on icing colours, flavours, various size whole cakes (sold by the diameter), and a range of commissioned celebration and wedding cakes that look like the sort of thing customers might wear on their heads to Ascot.
The Hummingbird is now well established as part of London’s cake history and a must-see on the cake trail, and as long as you remember that they are the epitome of the sweet, high-bicarbonate and high-frosting style, they won’t disappoint.
[Good news: there is now a branch on Old Brompton Road near the major museums in what has been for so long a cake wasteland.]
133 Portobello Road
London W11 2DY
Tel: 020 7851 1795
Open: Mon to Fri 10 – 6, Sat 9 – 6, Sun 11 – 5
The Bakery also has a wide selection of cake in its ‘without’ ranges which are all gluten-free.
And a slice of culture: Portobello Market, Portobello Road antiques shops, Electric Cinema (most comfy seats ever), legendary Books for Cooks, Piers Gough's 'Turquoise Island' which houses public toilets/Wild at Heart flowers, colourful Notting Hill terraced houses, various classic NH film locations.