If you ever needed a reason to toss all that ‘no-carbs-eating’ malarky in the bin-of-baloney, then the delicious new bakery Pearl & Groove is it. Run by three utterly delightful and grounded women, the Portobello Road based bakery offers an edited collection of mini loaf cakes that are good to look at, even better to eat and nod sensibly to the reduced-sugar trend. It’s about delicious flavours, unusual combinations and breaking out of traditional cake-tin-predictablity.
Also, news of the bakery came at me from a number of well informed sources, which always gets my hot-new-thing antennae twitching.
Co owner Serena Whitefield is the daughter of a chocolatier and knows her stuff, the company has been running as a successful wholesale business from rented kitchens since 2014 and has done a few pop-up collaborations, but opening her own shop was always the dream. She has sweetly named the company after her mum and dad, Pearl and ‘The Groover’, as her dad is known, although I found myself humming that Pearl & Dean cinema advert all day after my visit last week.
The cakes are all gluten free, some are even dairy and refined sugar free too (the Pearl range, after her health-obsessed mother) which nods to the girls’ desire to offer a more naturally sweetened range of unusual flavours (they use honey) that offers a more interesting selection of beautiful cakes from the norm. ‘We wanted to do cakes that are delicious and a bit different first, with the gluten free and refined sugar free just being an added benefit’ says Serena. She uses ground almonds rather than gluten free flour, in fact there’s no flour used anywhere in the bakery, which keeps the cakes moist and means they keep for ages, up to 10 days, although it’s a tough one for nut allergy people, obvs.
In fact if you do have a nut allergy, don’t go near the shop in Portobello Road, head straight on down to the market, because it’s so lovely to look at it’ll only make you sad. The mini loaves are extremely photogenic, covered in fresh nasturtium flowers, apricot slices and pistachios. Some of the best selling flavours include white chocolate and cracked black pepper, pomegranate and banana, chocolate and blueberry and earl grey tea. I tried a selection – apricot and pistachio being my fav – and the flavours sing through, they are utterly delicious.
Serena’s team include her new partner in the venture Flo Sadler, as well as baking assistant Meg, all of whom seem to be a picture perfect team of entrepreneurial women doing fabulous things. They work hard, often seven days a week, due to growing demand, but we can’t help feel this is definitely going to pay off. Cakes can be pre ordered, not a bad idea as favourites sell out fast, large cakes can be made for birthdays and there’s now breakfast available from the cafe.
After visiting last week, we popped down the road to another well known bakery renowned for its cupcakes and were almost knocked out by the smell of sugar. This healthier way with cakes that Pearl & Groove are championing has got to be the way to go, don’t you think? More details on prices and opening hours from the Pearl & Groove website