After the first cronut crawl, @beckyhong and I learned of a few more bakeries in London dishing up some different takes on this delicious dessert. We made it back to Wild & Coffee, got up far too early for Ayres the Bakers, and dashed across town to tag Astons Bread, Kooky Bakes, and Cocomaya in the same morning.
So, can any of these contenders knock Rinkoff Bakery’s raspberry cro-dough from it’s throne? Keep reading to find out!
Wild & Coffee (@wildandcoffee)
As you may have seen on the Cronut Crawl post a week or so ago, we tried to go to Wild & Coffee only to find out that they weren’t selling any on Sunday. That sucked, but luckily Becky managed to get there the following Tuesday at 11am and get her hands on three of them. One for her, one for me, and one for my delighted cousin who happened to be meeting me later that day.
It turns out that Wild & Coffee’s cronuts are actually made by Cocomaya and shipped over Mon-Sat at 11am. You can call ahead and reserve your cronut if you want (quite a useful thing that) but I’d recommend trying to get there as close to 11am as possible as the cronuts start to lose some of that lightness as the day goes on.
This cronut was massive and required a bit of jaw unhinging to get in a full bite, but damn it was good. It’s an airy flaky pastry with defined layers and a doughnut-y softness inside moistened just a bit by drops of cream. A potent sicilian lemon glaze on the top gives it most of its flavour and it’s dressed with scattered flower petals. All in all, it gives you a strong impression of spring backed up by it’s fresh and clean flavours.
For £3.70, it’s a bit pricey and the most expensive cronut we’ve come across so far. Taste-wise, it’s on par with Rinkoff, but loses points for the much worse value for money proposition.
Ayres the Bakers (@ayres_the_baker)
The next morning, buoyed by the Sicilian delight provided by Wild & Coffee, I woke up just before 6am to cycle down into Peckham and visit Ayres the Bakers. I’d heard rumours that this bakery sells out of their cronuts by 8am and I thought I better not take any chances. My sleep deprived brain was on autopilot as I made my way down south, and for a few minutes I wondered just how I was going to find this place. No worries there – you can smell the delicious baking going on about half a mile away so all you need to do is follow you nose.
In order to avoid repeating myself, check out my write up on Ayres the Bakers here. The important things to know is that they do a simple custard cronut that looks like a standard doughnut but is a bit more dense and lacking the crispiness I’d expect from an ideal cronut. The custard is very tasty though – I kinda wish I could get some of that to serve up with desserts.
For £1.30, it’s a solid value for money offer and the cheapest cronut available on either side of the pond. But in the end, it’s more breakfast pastry than decadent treat so keep that in mind.
Astons Bread (@astonsbread)
Just when we thought we were coming to the end of the crawl, but then we heard about Astons Bread down in Brockley Market thanks to @wethefoodsnobs. Well that meant we just had to go down and try it out! Brockley Market has grown up since the last time I made my way down there and it’s a pretty sweet place to go eat on a Saturday morning. MotherFlipper, Van Dough Pizza, Ruby Violets – they were all in residence and just waiting to be eaten. But first, it was cronut time!
We stopped by Astons Bread’s stall and the very friendly lady guessed we were the ones tweeting constantly about visiting. She gave us the rundown on the two cronuts they had to offer, both fairly sizeable beasts sliced in half and then cemented back together. We got one of each: a chocolate cream with a rose water icing, and a homemade lemon curd drizzled with a coffee icing.
The base cronut is crispy but the taste and texture is a little more cornish pasty than flaky breakfast treat. I’d guess that the dough mix is super absorbent which soaks up oil like a sponge. While you do get the crispiness, you also are flooded with oil with each bite. The chocolate cream filling is a bit light and could benefit from a richer, darker chocolate to give it a bolder flavour. The rose water icing is delicious with a light floral taste that dances on the tongue. On the other side, the homemade lemon curd is fantastic and by far one of best I’ve ever tasted. If I could combine the lemon curd with the rosewater icing and knock down the oil a peg or two, I think we’d have a winner here.
Kooky Bakes, round 2 (@kookybakes)
Since we were down at the market, it only made sense to drop by Kooky Bakes and have a chat with the Kooky Baker himself. After a bit of banter about burgers and some gossip about markets, we picked up a blueberry cream cronut to add to our collection. Now we’d tried the salted caramel on the first cronut crawl so it was only fitting we added another KB special to the second round.
As with the salted caramel, the base cronut is very airy with a great fluffy structure. The blueberry cream was delicious and hid some of the slight greasiness that plagues the salted caramel. For £3 a pop, its a tad pricey but a good all around option.
Finally, to round up a busy Saturday morning and our cronut crawl, we zipped across town to the Cocomaya bakery near Marble Arch. Now we had tried out Cocomaya via Wild & Coffee, but we wanted to see how it was from the source. I had tweeted a few days earlier and reserved 4 of their Sicilian Lemon cronuts for our group to try.
After a little bit of confusion, they brought out a large box of chilled cronuts and a hefty bill to match. At £4.50 a pop, this is by far the most expensive cronut I’ve seen. I’m not quite sure how they charge more at their own shop than through Wild & Coffee, but maybe it’s justified by being in a posher and pricier area.
The cronut is largely the same although they lose presentation points for replacing the flowers with a haphazard scattering of sprinkles. By chilling the cronuts they also ruined the lemon glaze which cracked and fell off the pastry after the first bite, removing most of the flavour.
Well, we’ve come to the end of the crawl and tasted a considerable number of pastries. Every one we tried had at least one good element and after much deliberation, Becky and I reached our winners. We judged them on a range of factors from taste, presentation, price, and structure. Becky’s favourite was the first Cocomaya cronut from Wild & Coffee whereas I prefer Rinkoff Bakery’s Raspberry cro-dough.
They were are two favourites and we’ve decided that it would be exceptional if we could combine the two and use the Cocomaya cronut, give it Rinkoff’s delicate crispy crust, and over it drizzle Rinkoff’s raspberry glaze. To finish off, a few artfully placed raspberries and a handful of flower petals. Now doesn’t that sound good?
Our thanks to all of the bakeries that furnished the supplies for us to pull of this crawl and in particular to the bakers and sales people themselves for taking the time to chat with us about their product. I would say that’s all folks, but I hear Mother Flipper is doing a cronut burger for #NationalBurgerDay so stay tuned for that!