With my palaeography exam completed (that’s right, Alemannic minuscule, I don’t have to look at you no more!), I thought a cake-related “Treat Yo Self” day was in order (for those who do not watch “Parks and Recreation,” please click here and enlighten yourselves). I brought something to read (dissertation related, of course) and wheeled over to Afternoon Tease (13 King Street, City Centre CB1 1LH).
Unlike in the previous entry, where I reviewed a place I’d never been to before, this was the third time I’d been to Afternoon Tease. I sadly do not have any photographic evidence of my previous visits, but that’s okay. I figured I could just go again and take pictures, and then eat more cake. Everybody wins.
The café is just a block away from the back entrance to Sidney Sussex (an entrance I am familiar with because it’s the only way I can get into the college). You know when you’ve found it when you see the chalkboard:
The entrance is flat, with some bricks in front (not really bumpy at all). The door is a bit heavy, and I had to rely on someone inside the café, who watched me struggle for a few seconds trying to barrel through the door, to open it.
At last! Inside! The interior of the café is adorable. I was annoyed with myself for not taking a panoramic picture, but you can view the entire interior of Afternoon Tease on Google Maps (I can’t seem to post the link here, but if you google “Afternoon Tease Cambridge” you’ll find it). They also play awesome music. At one point when I was working, I heard Buddy Holly’s “Peggy Sue.” At another point, Fleetwood Mac’s “Landslide.” The counter is at just the right height where I can see all of the cakes and fantasize about having the stomach room for everything.
I told one of my friends that I was going to be there at 3pm-ish, but I ended up getting there a bit earlier (around 2pm-ish). I ordered a masala chai latte (2.60) and, because I hadn’t eaten lunch yet, a Mexican toastie (avocado, black bean and tomato salsa, jalapenos, monterey jack cheese – 4.90). I know this is a dessert blog, but I thought I’d post a picture of the toastie anyway, because it was delicious and really satisfied my avocado craving (although who am I kidding, it’s not a craving, I always want to put avocado on everything).
A member of the staff brings your order to your table, so you don’t have to balance tea cups on top of saucers or anything like that from the counter to the table (which is great in my case – I can just imagine me accidentally destroying a tea cup and screaming, “Nooooo!” in that slow motion way as an adorable cup crashes onto the ground). Weird mental image aside, time for the drinks and desserts. The masala chai was glorious.
One of the staff members recommended it, and I’m so glad I ordered it. This has to be the best chai latte I have ever had. Ever. I’m not exaggerating. As much as I like the chai lattes I’ve had in Brooklyn and Manhattan, they’ve all been kind of on the sweet side, with the sweetness overpowering the cardamom, cloves, and other chai spices. Not in this case. There’s just a hint of sweetness, and lots of chai spices. Perfect balance. Be still my heart. As a side note, I’ve also had their hot chocolate. Unfortunately, I do not have a picture, but it’s milky, chocolatey, and utterly delightful.
Around 3-ish, my friend showed up and got a cappuccino, so of course I had to take a picture of it.
She really liked it, by the way.
We then started to be productive. About half an hour into working, my friend and I could both smell cakes baking in the oven. We were sitting near the door and as far as you could be from the kitchen without going outside, but boy did that cake aroma carry. Yeah, I was going to need some cake.
So many options! The carrot cake and chocolate guinness cake are two of the most popular cakes, and other cakes rotate. Today there was a blueberry sour cream cake, a brown sugar pear bundt cake, a chocolate earl grey torte (gluten-free), and a lemon almond drizzle loaf (gluten-free).
I ordered a pot of chamomile rose tea and a slice of the brown sugar pear bundt cake (combined 5.00, not sure what separate prices are). They carry Kandula tea, a brand that makes my favorite blend of chamomile in England.
I was still kind of full from lunch, but I wanted cake. In retrospect, for review purposes, I probably should’ve gotten one of the cakes that they don’t rotate, like the carrot cake or the chocolate guinness cake, but this bundt was delicious and I regret nothing. I don’t remember what the icing was flavored with, but it tasted like coffee. The pear made the bundt cake moist, but not too moist (and yes, there were pieces of pear throughout the cake – YUM). I’m also a fan of using brown sugar, and I think it went really well with the pear. Random food fact: Brown sugar is basically white sugar with molasses added to it. It adds an extra flavor to baked goods, and I love using it when baking with apples. Can’t say I’d ever had it with pear until today.
The bathroom is wheelchair-accessible, and the wallpaper is covered in adorable-looking recipes. The only issue with the bathroom is that you have to go through two doors to get there, and the first door has a handle that’s just within my reach, but is kind of high. Other than that, totally accessible.
My friend and I left a bit before 6pm, which is when they close. It’s safe to say that this is my favorite place to go when I need to get some reading done and want a hot beverage (and a slice of cake once I get through enough reading). It’s fairly busy during lunch hours (12-3pm), but you can usually find a place to sit. There are so many things I want to try (hello, chocolate guinness cake), so I have multiple reasons to go back. They also have stamp cards for drinks (buy eight, get one free!), but I’d go even without the loyalty card. Don’t get me wrong though, I’m still getting that thing stamped.
Afternoon Tease is open everyday, except Monday, and every Thursday is cheese scone day. Mmm…cheese scone.
Entrance: Flat! Some bricks, but they’re hardly bumpy. Somewhat heavy door. Maybe just wave so someone will open it for you.
Bathroom: Accessible, though the handle on the first door may be a tricky grab.
Lighting: Excellent, especially when it’s sunny outside.
Counter: Perfect height, which means you will stare at all of the cakes longingly.
Coffee: delicious, unsure of brand; Tea: Kandula; Hot chocolate: delightful; Chai latte: magnificent
Pastries: Really liked the brown sugar pear bundt cake. Chocolate guinness cake and carrot cake are the most popular items. Gluten-free options available (and look amazing).
Other: If you stay past 3pm, you will smell cake baking in the oven, and you will feel like happiness is giving you a hug. Or at least that’s how I feel when I smell delicious cakes baking.
For more information: http://afternoontease.co.uk/
Thanks for reading! If you like what you read, please follow or subscribe to get reviews of accessible deliciousness in your inbox! Next week, I’m going to try something different and post a recipe that’s easy to make and super delicious, because what could be more accessible than the treats you bake yourself?