In my quest for the perfect cake I’ve visited a lot of bakeries. I’ve munched red velvet cupcakes from Hummingbird in South Kensington, I’ve nearly wept with joy at the brownies from Outsider Tart in Turnham Green and I’ve even nibbled on Cinnamon Puffs from Magnolia Bakery in New York. London is really spoilt for choice when it comes to good cakes and with supermarkets upping their game as well the pressure is really on.
When a respected colleague suggested I make a visit to Peggy Porschen’s boutique in Belgravia I have to admit I was sceptical. Living just around the corner it was too close to ignore, so on a lazy Sunday afternoon I strolled up the road to see what the fuss was about.
Located in a pretty pink corner shop, Peggy Porschen is hard to miss. The boutique is immaculately turned out and the array of cupcakes can be a little bewildering. Determined to give them a fair chance I bought a healthy selection (sometimes this hobby is really, really tough.)
Strawberry and Champagne – A lovely light sponge with a strawberry jam filling, the icing is superb with delicate champagne notes. A big fresh strawberry dipped in syrup sits on top –perfect afternoon tea territory.
Chocolate Heaven Cupcake – Dense, moist but not at all sickly. Balancing the bitterness of the chocolate is real challenge but they’ve done a great job. Again the icing is the real star, silky smooth.
Lemon Chiffon – I wasn’t sure about the lemon and raspberry combination but it works really well. The cake is slightly heavier than a traditional chiffon, but it works well regardless.
Red Velvet Cupcake – The chocolate flavour is a lot more subdued that some of the other bakeries I’ve tried, if you’re not a big cocoa fan, this would be an excellent cake – I like mine a little more potent!
Peggy Porschen also serve a variety of sliced cakes – I hadn’t intended to pick any up, but I couldn’t resist.
Chocolate Truffle Cake – The texture is really wonderful. Somehow it captures that buttery, thick truffle texture in a sponge, without being too sickly. The icing has a lovely ‘melt in the mouth’ quality and leaves you with a sticky fingers and a great big grin.
Luxury Fruit Cake – This stopped me in my tracks. I like fruit cake. A lot. There’s something about an enormous slab of it at Christmas, with marzipan and painfully sweet icing – it evokes some really strong food memories. Peggy Porschen’s is hands down the best I’ve ever tried. Time Out are quoted as saying that it’s “Good enough to cross town for”. I’d argue it’s good enough to cross continents for. The cake is packed with fruit, so moist that it almost oozes and there’s a lovely gentle alcoholic hit to it. In need of a second opinion – my flatmate tried it as well and was equally blown away.
So how does it all stack up against the likes of Hummingbird and Magnolia? Very well – the cupcakes are strong contenders and if you’re looking for something light and sophisticated for afternoon tea, I’d highly recommend it. For me, the stars of the show were their larger offerings. That fruit cake – wow. You need to try that. Go to Peggy Porschen – get a slab of the fruit cake, take a big bite and thank me. You’re welcome.