The best cupcakes in London are...

Candied kumquat cupcakes, photo by Chris Osburn
Kumquat cupcakes by Bea’s of Bloomsbury. photo by Chris Osburn via Londonist

Londonist has announced their big winners of their Cupcake Throwdown: Fair Cake, Bea's of Bloomsbury and Sweet Things.

Here's some of what they wrote:

Coming in second was the pride of Theobald’s Road: Bea’s of Bloomsbury. Bea’s masterful chocolate Grand Marnier cupcake with candied kumquats presented in “one flavour - three cupcakes approach” wowed the judges with a choice of ├╝ber decadent Valrhona 66% caraibe buttermilk cake with Grand Marnier ganache and piped icing; the more considered gluten-free and lactose-free chocolate Grand Marnier cupcake with chocolate shavings; and a vegan version with gold dust...

Our totally informal and utterly unscientific throwdown did yield some sweet advice for our contestants and any potential cupcakers out there: Too much of a good thing can be a bad thing. The main complaints from our judges were “too much icing” and “too much sugar”. Yes, that formidable mega-dollop of icing topping a cupcake might look pretty, but a true foodie can see right past it. Food colouring is pretty much a no-no as well, unless used in the pursuit of the most noble of extreme artistic endeavours.

What seemed to impress the judges most was real flavour independent of sugar and the overall “cake-ness” of the entries. An effort to go gluten free was welcomed. As for butteriness, consensus could not be achieved. There were those that really really (really!) liked a buttery flavour and others that viewed it as a cheap crutch.