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Seeing as we're up in Soho today, participating in the Virgin Social Marathon we thought we'd take the opportunity to pull together a round-up of our favourite bakeries in the area. No doubt we'll be popping out to satisfy our collective cravings during the day, especially around 4pm when we'll be having our official tea break, so even more reason to have a hit-list in our sights...
Konditor and Cook
Calling all cake connoisseurs: if Konditor & Cook isn't already part of your life, then you better hurry up and find out what you've been missing. This central London-based bakery with six sites across the city (Soho, Waterloo, Borough Market, Chancery Lane, South Bank, and the Gherkin) has something of an obsessive following - German born 'Konditormeister' Gerhard Jenne has a passion for contemporary cake decorating and stepping inside any of his Wonka-like emporiums will have you grinning from ear to ear like a four year old. The cakes are all made with organic free-range eggs and natural butter to boot. We suggest you take the time to have a quick drool over their Flickr photostream.
Curzon Soho cinema, Shaftesbury Ave, London
The Hummingbird Bakery
Probably one of the most well-known places to get a cupcake, Hummingbird Bakery originated in the US and came to our shores in 2004. Dream-like cupcakes, full-size cakes, brownies and whoopies topped with whipped cream, covered in glitter, chocolate sprinkles and pastel flowers; HB is girlie heaven. The Wardour Street branch is a vision in pink with breakfast bar-style seating and a modern feel - it's also wonderfully central, so you no longer have to trek to Portobello Road for a red velvet cupcake.
155a Wardour Street, London
Soho's oldest cake spot, Pâtisserie Valerie first opened in Frith Street in 1926, before moving to its current location in Old Compton St, following bombing during the Second World War. They now have branches across London (and beyond), most retaining the old-fashioned, continental café atmosphere of the original. Cake-wise, we're pretty mad about the boozy zabaglione and fresh fruit-filled Selva, though every kind of sweet tooth can be satisfied by the huge range of traditional handmade treats – eclairs, tarts, macaroons and much more. If the cakes and pastries aren't enough for you (they really should be) PV also make their our own gelato and truffles.
44 Old Compton Street, London
Cox Cookies and Cake
Is it a nightclub? A disco? No, it's Patrick Cox's (yes, he of the footwear) fabulously camp cake shop on Brewer Street. Swathed in black walls, the cupcakes in the window are framed by giant neon cubes. Everything here has a distinctive cheeky feel: the fun Easter cupcake range featuring bunny ears popping out of grass-green icing and ornate gold crosses made of sugar; the rock ‘n’ roll cupcake complete with skull and crossbones; pop art and retro popping candy cupcakes sat in brightly coloured metallic cupcake holders. If that's not tongue-in-cheek enough for you, try the 'CoXXX' range of cupcakes with hand-moulded white chocolate muscle-bound torsos and arms.
13 Brewer Street, London
If you like a little calm and coolness with your cake and coffee, Nordic Bakery will certainly put you at ease. Here delicious, no-nonsense Nordic fare such as Finnish cinnamon buns and Swedish Tosca cake (soft sponge with a crispy almond and caramel layer) come served amidst simple and perfectly balanced surroundings. The sublime Scandinavian design and attention to detail will have you so relaxed you'll probably want to stay for something more savoury too – the rye bread sandwiches are every bit as good as the sweet stuff.
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About the author: andrewAndrew Bowman
Andrew is an occasional contributor to the Virgin Atlantic blog. He lived in the Japanese countryside for two years until he could no longer resist the pull of London's galleries, pubs and clubs. He likes to pretend he can speak Japanese and also sometimes writes about music.