bake-a-boo is as quaint as its name implies. A sea of pink and pastels highlight an array of beautifully iced cakes and pretty trinkets. It’s worth seeking out.
West Hampstead is the home of all things middle class - and beyond. And so bake-a-boo fits in with this type of scene. The front is so deliciously quaint it’s almost painful, awash with pink in a large period window that allows a glimpse of what awaits inside. That will be more pink then. Baby pink – and lots of it – lots of floral accents including real flowers, an old fireplace with an ornate mirror hanging above it and a few simple pine tables and chairs alongside a comfortable sinking sofa. This is highlighted with more pastel and ‘art’ in the form of colourful letters spelling out ‘CAKES’ on the walls. However, rather than being a nightmare from Katie Price’s mansion, it’s actually utterly charming. Even the most hard-nosed, cynical Londoner will struggle not to smile at the intricate serving plates piled high with – yes, you guessed it – cake.
The well to do locals of West Hampstead and, of course, yummy mummies from further afield, inundate this little store. The few chairs are often taken with more customers dropping by for a spot of cake on their way home because ‘it’s to die for dahling’. And it’s easy to see why they’ve grabbed the concept so readily. The staff here are so friendly it makes you want to live there. Well, it would if you were a ten-year-old girl obsessed with the colour pink. It’s a refreshing friendliness that is so absent from eateries across the capital.
Cake. Lots and lots of cake. Every kind of cake you can fathom. Even vegan cakes and dairy free cakes. You get it, cake. And this is why bake-a-boo has earned itself a London-wide reputation for greatness. Although they do an array of types of cake, with apparently a carrot cake that will make your mouth explode (not literally, no), it’s the cupcakes that inspire the most ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’. If you’re a chocolate lover then the chocolate sponge topped with chocolate butter cream is a delight. The sponge is light and airy and the cream rich and buttery, coating the mouth and lingering long after you’ve wolfed it down – which you will in two bites. For a twist on the standard cupcake, however, try the Bailey's cupcake. The vanilla sponge is perfectly done and contains a hint of Bailey's that just comes through in the aftertaste, complemented by the rich, creamy Bailey's buttercream. Just be prepared to diet for about two weeks after a visit. The cakes are priced from just under £2 each, rising closer to the £5 mark but you’ll be hard pushed not to return to the counter for a sneaky second helping.
Does buttercream count as a drink? No. So you’ll have to make do with tea and coffee. Nothing too exciting on this front although they do a nice line of herbal options. To be honest, after you’ve eaten seven cakes you’ll be hard pushed to fit anything else in, even if it is just a cup of tea.
The Last Word
Never has gluttony been so beautifully presented. bake-a-boo hits all the right notes.