Monday, 13 December 2010

Head over Heels for Love Bakery (and King's Road)

EC1 might be my patch of London's playground, from which adventures/diaries begin. And, it may influence my opinion or (at least, initial) feeling towards other London boroughs. That's not to say I'm constantly looking for a clone of Smithfield Market, Charterhouse Square, St John's Street, or Clerkenwell Green (where Fagin and the Artful Dodger initiated Oliver into pickpocketing!). But, if you're an EC1 fan, you'll know its magic. The architecture, the contrasts between old and new, and the illusion that you're experiencing a still-undiscovered London, which you can call your own. However, part of our city's appeal lies in its diversity. And, whilst my EC1 roots will never be in question, I love many other postcodes. I went to one of my beloved parts of SW recently: the King's Road, Chelsea. For me, the street known for Mary Quant and Viviane Westwood, exudes cool - in a very charming, smartly-dressed England kind of way.


Mary Quant's boutique, King's Road, Chelsea
Mary Quant's boutique, Bazaar, 1959

From breathtaking Edwardian and Georgian townhouses, to a fashionable past and stylish present of boutiques and restaurants; Chelsea has a magic of it's own. Shopping never seems uncomfortably hectic, unlike the tourist-trap of Oxford Street, W1. So, for a leisurely walk around town (or selective Christmas purchases), the King's Road is high on my list. Recently, I visited the famous street for a book launch. With cupcakes. I couldn't resist. Arriving at the expansive but homely branch of Anthropologie, I was greeted by the brand's lovely PR (and party hosts). Champagne, celebrities, fashion and foodie people present; it was an lively backdrop for the publicised book in question. And which book was it? Love Bakery: Cupcakes from the Heart. The wonderful recipes (perfect for a Christmas gift) celebrate Love Bakery, just a champagne-fuelled stumble further along the King's Road.

Cupcake tower, Love Bakery
Cupcake tower

Strawberry and cream cupcakes, Love Bakery
Strawberries & Cream

For a PR guru turned mother Samantha Blears, cupcake stardom came somewhat by surprise. Baking cupcakes for children's parties and school fairs, Samantha discovered that her very popular treats were not only straightforward to make, they could be infused with imagination and enraptured children and adults alike. Cooking into London's cupcake craze, Samantha decided to open Love Bakery in March 2009. And how has she crafted her unique identity, alongside the likes of nearby Hummingbird Bakery? Well, Samantha has worked incredibly hard to maintain the child-like magic with which her brand evolved. For anyone who  remembers childhood trips to the candy shop, Love Bakery will not disappoint. A 'kingdom' of all things sweet, it's quintessentially English, retro-Kings Road and nostalgic fantasy. A masterful seduction of children and adults alike.


Rhubarb and custard cupcakes, Love Bakery
Rhubarb & Custard

Vanilla, chocolate and red velvet cupcakes are unsurprisingly popular, but what's  Samantha's trademark? Her sugar-paste cupcake adornments: flowers, farmyard animals and, really, anything you can imagine. At the party, I sampled miniature cupcakes and 'love pops' (round, iced cupcakes on a lollypop stick) and would recommend you do the same.


Love Pops, Love Bakery
'Love Pops'

Love Bakery also offers spectacular occasion cakes, which cannot fail to enchant the child in all of us (and which take me back to the fairytale cakes of my early years - similarly the product of a mother's love and culinary flair). 


Mermaid cake, Love Bakery
Celebration cakes
Spaceship cake, Love Bakery

Toadstool cake, Love Bakery

The Anthropologie-held party was a delicious way to discover Love Bakery and widening eyes and pointing fingers were soon joined by the licking of lips and even wider smiles. A fun and fantastical twist on the cupcake, takes it to a theatrical new level; as you try your first cake adorned with a glittery blue car, you realise that Samantha has achieved something extraordinary with the ordinary (after all, despite being in-vogue, cupcakes are not difficult to make). As for the basics, The Love Bakery's sponge is faultlessly fluffy and soft. And, despite impressive embellishments, the overall taste is not overpoweringly sweet. 



Glitter car cupcake, Love Bakery
Glitter cupcakes

Chocolate Brownie cupcakes, Love Bakery

A covetable Christmas gift, Love Bakery: Cupcakes from the Heart is available at Anthropologie or via Amazon. Love Bakery itself, can be found at 319 King's Road, London SW1. 

Images: 1) Victoria & Albert Museum, the rest) my own.

4 comments:

  1. what a post! makes me wonder why we don't have cupcakes or cheesecakes where i live :(

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  2. I'm so jealous! I want to visit so bad.
    Thanks so much for your comment on my blog x

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  3. Oh goddd! Those cupcakes look delicious!

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  4. @Daria Hlazatova
    Thank you Daria! That is a shame, maybe it's something you should introduce? :) x

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