Taste Test: Cambridge Cafe Cake

Image credit: Izzy Ryan

Don’t get me wrong: Fitzbillies is nice, but it can't be the only great cake place around. It might be the most famous tearoom in Cambridge, but surely there are other places in this huge tourist-oriented town to score some sugary goodness. Over Christmas the only thing that kept me wanting to come back was the quest I had with my favourite excitable Romanian, Doris Cozma, to find the best cake in Cambridge (that hopefully didn't cost £5 a slice) and here are the two places we've tried so far: Afternoon Tease and Bene'ts.

Firstly, Afternoon Tease. Tucked away behind Sidney Sussex and Stickybeaks, this cute little tearoom specialises in cakes and I should start by saying (even if it does ruin the suspense) that it's some of the best cake we've ever had. There were about ten cakes going - we went for carrot cake and chocolate Guinness cake. Doris thought the second one looked “weird” and was reluctant to try it, but after the first mouthful let out an almost obscene moan. They were both ridiculously rich and fresh with amazing icing. Honestly, these cakes were flawless. It was a little pricey (about £3.50 a slice) but by Cambridge standards, that’s average. Without sounding like I work for them, I really don't understand why this place isn't better known. It's the ultimate feel-good little cafe, Doris called it a “great homely vibe”, with lovely staff and, most importantly, some bad-ass cake.

Sadly, at this point my cake buddy dropped out due to illness, so for Bene'ts I was accompanied by Micha Frazer-Carroll and Ben Mackworth. Bene'ts is pretty expensive (more like £4 a slice), but that's what you expect for Kings Parade. For consistency's sake we went for carrot cake again, paired with a salted caramel tart. Okay, it’s not really a cake, but it looked good. The Bene'ts carrot cake was a bit more showy, about five inches tall with nuts in the icing. But it's not all about size, and to be honest although it was fancier looking and pricier, it didn't have anything on Afternoon Tease. Great cake, but not as varied a texture and flavour. It was just a bit plain in comparison. The salted caramel slice was a bit disappointing; the filling was great but there was a lot of base which made it heavy without the sweetness to compensate. On a side note, the family next to us left an unacceptable amount of untouched brownie when they left and we all agreed it would be rude and even cruel to leave it there all sad and unattended. It turned out to be nice.

Although Bene'ts was good, maybe I was already spoilt by Afternoon Tease. To be fair Bene'ts sells other amazing things whereas Afternoon Tease is pretty much just cake and drinks. So, to conclude, I'm giving Bene'ts a 7/10 for cake, and Afternoon Tease 10/10.

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