By Nikki Griffiths
With the Great British Bake Off back on our screens, we’re all once again experiencing a higher-than-usual amount of cake cravings. Luckily, there’s an answer to those sugar-coated prayers lurking in a corner of Brixton Village. Sponge & Cream is owned by Paulina, who quit her job in IT to pursue a career in baking. She worked her way to the impressive position of Head Baker at the Hummingbird Bakery and, following that, opened up her own bakery in the heart of Brixton. And I for one am glad she did.
It’s a cosy premises, with just enough space for the team to mix, bake and decorate. There are a couple of small tables and chairs just outside the doorstep for those who want to sit down and have their cake with a tea or coffee, but Sponge & Cream’s main trade seems to be take-out slices of cake (probably to enjoy whilst watching GBBO). They also do whole cakes to order including naked wedding cakes (apparently all the rage these days), cupcakes and cute kiddies themed cakes.
On my latest visit of many, I tasted the carrot cake and the somewhat-famous red velvet. First up was the carrot cake, which comes topped with the creamiest of cream cheese frostings. The cake itself was delicious – and the texture was perfect. I don’t tend to like carrot cakes which are too crumbly and irregularly textured, but this one feels just right and holds it’s integrity well. Flavour-wise, the subtle cinnamon and ginger lacings bring the sponge to life whilst the sweet frosting soothes the heat. It’s really yummy.
But, oh my, the red velvet. If there’s one thing I’d urge you to try, this is it. I’ve had the bright red, cocoa based cake from Sponge & Cream a couple of times before and I’m never anything less than ecstatic with my choice. It’s perfectly sweetened, and not to the point where you’ve had enough after a few mouthfuls and it feels like it’s going to rot your teeth. This cake makes me smile – so much so that I ordered a whole one for my boyfriend’s birthday. It went down a storm and everyone fought over the leftovers.
There’s one thing in particular which really impresses me with Paulina’s red velvet, and that is the gluten free version she offers which is just as good as the original. Having tried and failed many times at gluten free baking, I know it’s a real skill and it’s one she’s perfected. What’s more, there are a number of other gluten free and sugar free options including butternut squash and courgette cake mixes.
All the cake mixes are Paulina’s own secret recipes which she says she has been perfecting for years. And I think she’s right to keep them to herself. Sponge & Cream is the perfect stop off whether it be mid-morning, afternoon-tea-time or for an after dinner treat.
Opening hours are:
Paulina did very kindly contribute a gluten free cake recipe to Recipes From Brixton Village by Miss South which is available to buy in 20 Storey in Market Row or via a certain online retailer you’ve all heard of.