The London Chocolate Cake Power Rankings
photo credit: Aleksandra Boruch
We like to rate chocolate cakes on a number of different qualities. Firstly, the sponge. Secondly, the icing, and thirdly its ability to make us want to nap immediately after. Because there are few things in this world more comforting than a fudgey, intense chocolate cake. We’ve spent months doing the hard work of tirelessly researching, tasting, comparing, and most of all, refusing to share even a bite of London’s richest chocolate cakes. And we’ve found the six best.
Despite our love for chocolate cake, finding one that doesn’t disappoint can be a challenge. So much so that since we came across L’eto and its Old Fashioned Chocolate Cake on a late-night sugar search in Soho, we’ve struggled to find one better. It’s a four-tier cake with chocolate cream and raspberry between each chocolate cake layer, covered with chocolate glazing, raspberry crumble, and major Matilda energy. It’s moist, even more so thanks to the berry compote, plus the fresh raspberry makes the richness less overwhelming and adds a nice fruity tang. Perfect for chocolate lovers, cake lovers, and Roald Dahl fans who have been dreaming of that cake since they were six years-old.
Konditor is a nostalgic cake shop that’s been around since 1993 and is still a go-to for homemade-tasting bakes. Their signature cake is the Curly Whirly—a dark chocolate sponge with vanilla frosting—but our favourite is the vegan chocolate raspberry velvet cake. An unbelievably moist chocolate sponge with layers of tangy raspberry compote to counteract the richness of the cake—this tastes like a Mini Roll for grown-ups. You can usually find it sold by the slice in their shops (Waterloo, Farringdon, and the City) or you can get a whole cake delivered to your door.
Our go-to bakery for a red velvet cake, Flavourtown has got the chocolate X cream cheese combination all figured out. But something very important to note is that they also make an excellent chocolate salted caramel truffle cake, that you can get by the slice. It’s got perfectly moist sponge, layers of *actually salted* salted caramel, and it’s incredibly tall. If you’re intimidated by a big slice (grow up), then you should know that their ‘death by chocolate’ cupcake is gluten-free, vegan, and might be even better than the slice.
This is a chocolate cake with such a formidable reputation that it has its own merch and has been on the River Cafe’s menu since 1989. The star of the Hammersmith institution’s dessert menu, this is a slice of cake that will stick in your mind, and on your teeth, for a while after you’re finished eating it. It’s a cake that turns into a mousse as you eat it. Sure, it’s £15 for a slice—hello overdraft—but what else would you expect from London’s richest chocolate cake at this pricey Italian spot? As much as we love this cake, the River Cafe isn’t the easiest restaurant to pop into for a cheeky slice. So it helps that you can order a seven-inch whole cake off their website for £35.
We could confess how many Crumbs & Doilies cookies we ordered during the pandemic but our dentists might be reading this. This little bakery in Kingly Court not only produces some seriously sugary New York-style cookies, it also makes some colourful, OTT cupcakes. The smores cupcake is our favourite when it’s available—a light chocolate sponge, topped with soft gooey marshmallows and crushed Biscoff biscuits for crunch. It’s the kind of comforting dessert that you won’t want to share. Plus, they have a six-inch, whole cake version with four hefty layers that you can order online.
So nice they named it twice, the Chocolate Chocolate Cupcake from Hackney bakery Violet might not have the grandeur of a tiered slice but we couldn’t not include it. The sponge manages to be both moist and light and airy, with a dark chocolate edge. The slight bitterness balances out the mousse-like, creamy chocolate buttercream and sprinkling of crystallised violet petals. The fact that it’s not always on the counter and we wish it was in slice form means that, although one of the best in London, it ranks last. Know that we found the chocolate cupcake with salted caramel buttercream overly sweet too.