Tucked away in a little brick courtyard on Ezra Street, just off the hustle and bustle of Columbia Road, lies Lily Vanilli, one of the daintiest little bakery gems in town. This captivating little spot could easily go unnoticed if it wasn’t for the hundreds of recommendation lists it keeps on popping up on. This, of course, was more than enough to make me stop by after a busy Sunday morning battling the crowds on Columbia Road Flower Market in search of the perfect pot plant and seasonal blooms. Any excuse for a slice of cake and a cuppa…
I couldn’t help it – can you blame me, though? Known for always using fresh and natural ingredients in the most unusual recipe combinations, self-taught baker and graphic designer Lily Jones (aka Lily Vanilli) certainly follows an experimental approach to the baking scene. Nevertheless, she never fails to deliver the most creative and eye-catching designs in every creation. She has even made cakes for Elton John and 10 Downing Street!
Her dreamy bakery at 6 The Courtyard is where, during the week, she creates her floral and tiered bespoke cakes for every occasion. However, on Sundays from 8.30am to 3.30pm, the space doubles up as a café and opens to the public. It offers an insanely delicious seasonal selection of sweet and savoury treats, cakes and pastries.
Behind the bakery’s doors lies a charming pastel interior with beautiful design touches. Everything oozes cosiness and, funnily enough, reminds of marshmallows and candy floss. Hanging lights, dozens of cook books (including Lily’s #BakeForSyria and Sweet Tooth, a Zombie ate my Cupcake) and plants are dotted along the shelves. They instantly make you feel as if you were in your own kitchen. Meanwhile, a naked brick wall with a giant lighted Vanilli’s sign and a gift shop (!) gives the bakery its signature character. This is also present on the carefully arranged freshly baked goods on the wooden counters.
Lily Vanilli menu
With a changing sweet and savoury seasonal menu, Lily Vanilli offers cakes, pastries, brownies, soups, sausage rolls and weekly specials. Both vegan and gluten-free options are available every Sunday. On this occasion, and with Valentine’s Day being just a couple of days before we visited, Vanilli’s had prepared a handful of love inspired treats for us to choose from! I opted in for the Stout Bundt with custard and berry coulis. Sam (the chocolate lover he is) couldn’t resist the Miso Butterscotch with roasted peanut and chocolate tart.
On top of the cakes, a selection of juices, teas and locally roasted coffee make Lily Vanilli the perfect place to catch-up with a treat and a hot drink. However, being open only once a week (especially on a Sunday) means it gets really busy throughout the whole day. I’d recommend going early to avoid the multitude of people and guarantee getting your hands on a tasty treat before they sell out!
Lily Vanilli in Tbilisi
If one day per week isn’t enough and you’re after a daily cake from Lily Vanilli, you may need to go all the way to Tbilisi in Georgia, where a second bakery recently opened. Continuing with the tradition of serving freshly baked goods and local coffee, Lily Vanilli has indeed carried its success overseas. And there’s no doubt why – everything is absolutely delicious!
Silly question, I know, but – do you like cake as much as we do? Have you been to Lily Vanilli before? What other bakeries in London would you recommend visiting? If you loved our post, please leave us a comment and show us some love on social media using the buttons below
Lily Vanilli | 6 The Courtyard, Ezra Street, London E2 7HR. lilyvanilli.com
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This post really makes me want to travel! Love the content💜
This is just my kind of place! I love little hidden gems of the sort. What was your favourite recipe?
Oh I couldn’t just pick one, they are all incredible! Lily posts some recipes on her website and I am tempted to try making the blood orange ganache tarts, wish me luck! 🙂
Omg! My friend was telling me about this place in London! Great pics
Isn’t it gorgeous? I couldn’t recommend it enough! x
wow, I loved this – thankyou so much for visiting and for the wonderful photos you took. It was very nice to read this this morning, I’m so glad you liked my place XXX Lily
Thank you so much Lily! I am beyond happy that you liked our post – can’t wait to be back and try some more of your treats! x
Wow, this is an amazing place. I love those sweets, especially the cakes/tarts!
Let me know if you try them! x
This place looks so adorable, and all the cakes look delicious! I could go for one right about now😋
Sarah | getupgetaway.com
Your post has had me drooling the whole way through!! I’m definitely going to have to visit next time I’m down in London! I’ve never heard of it before but it certainly looks worth the visit!
Wow thank you so much! x
Oh my days! This looks bloody amazing 😍🤤
It’s so good isn’t it? x
This cafe looks absolutely amazing! I’m hungry after reading this post, those brownies look delicious 😍 I’ll definitely be visiting Lily Vanilli next time I’m in London. Thanks for sharing, I love finding out about new bakeries x
Shannen | https://bookmarksandink.com
Thank you so much Shannen, hope you like it when you visit! x
What an amazing little bakery! I love the name too. All of the cakes look so beautiful and yummy. 😍 I am deffo a cake fan like you…you can never have too much cake!
Thank you for sharing this. I will be on the lookout for this bakery if I am in London on a Sunday.
The name is so cute and fun, I love it! I agree, there is always room for cake 🙂 x
Oh my goodness, my mouth is watering. Everything looks so delicious! Excellent post with amazing photos! Thank you so much for sharing, and adding this bakery to my list of must-visits.
Wow, thank you so much for the lovely comment Savannah! x
Little bakeries in London are literally the best aren’t they? I haven’t been to this place yet, but everyting looks so delicious! It is good to see bloggers talking about bakeries other than Peggy’s or Elan’s! I think I would get something chocolatey! x
Lily Vanilli is such a gem, I honestly couldn’t recommend it enough. I would say it’s one of my favourite in London!
Wow! Everything looks amazing! Will have to visit next time I’m in London.
Definitely, you need to add it to your list 🙂
This looks like such a nice place!!
It is gorgeous! x
This place looks so lovely! What a shame I’m reading this a week after returning from London, but it’ll be added to my places to visit the next time I’m ’round 😉
Laura // afinnontheloose.com
Oh no! You need to come back, Lily Vanilli is a must! x
Mm those cakes look incredible! Your photography is gorgeous. I’m definitely adding this place to my list for next time I travel to London, I love a good bakery!
Wow, thank you so much for the lovely comment! x
Looks like a really lovely place to enjoy cakes & coffee
Nic | Nic’s Adventures & Bakes
I love it so much!
This place looks amazing – I love the hidden gems in London. The grapefruit and ginger tarts look really tempting. Your photos are incredible – almost feel like you can taste them just by looking at them! Pleased to see they have some vegan and gluten free options as well.
Thanks Jane – you have to visit now! x