Toms Cakes – Ely (also: St Ives)

Toms Cakes will always have a special place in my heart. The St Ives branch was responsible for the cupcakes we had at my wedding and they were simply marvellous! With that said, I had never actually set foot in one of their cafes until recently.

My wife is also a big fan, visiting three times within the past week alone! This is a big deal for me as her standards are high (except when picking a husband 😂) and she won’t usually entertain a place again if it offers a bad experience. Not only that but Toms Cakes are very popular in the Cambridge Foodies group, who talk about them very fondly on a frequent basis. With all this in mind, this made me very excited to finally visit.

The first thing to say is that the shop is quite small but it never feels like it during your visit. They have done well with the space and the tables aren’t crammed in to fit as many people as possible. There are also a lot of things that you may not expect from a small shop in a historic part of the city, such as a disabled toilet and a flat entrance. This makes it ideal for wheelchair users and parents with push chairs alike.

What a view!

The interior isn’t exactly homely with a minimalist design. Everything is grey and white. It all feels very new and sterile. Yet, at the same time it didn’t feel unpleasant, especially since there is a lot of glass letting in light and great views of the historic buildings outside and High Street Passage.

As you would expect, there is a great selection of cakes and desserts available. Everything here is hand made in small batches in a local bakery. Toms Cakes really pays attention to the little detail, whether it be the local flour milled in Essex, in-season fruit from local producers, or the fact that they only cook things from scratch without mixes. It is these little details which on their own are unlikely to make a huge difference that build up to a noticeable quality which jumps out above it’s competition.

After a disappointing coffee at Grain Culture the other day, I was delighted to find that the coffee at Tom’s Cakes is great. It was not very bitter and quite mellow.

My wife ordered the raspberry and white chocolate blondie which is a dessert bar similar to a brownie. I picked out a choux bun, a cream filled salted caramel pasty.

My wife described her blondie as “bloody lovely”. The raspberry was also tart and fresh. It had a rich taste and a soft moist texture, with a white chocolate that was nice and crunchy.

My choux bun was absolutely immense. It was filled to the brim in the middle with a sweet thick cream. Unfortunately it was very VERY messy to eat. My wife had a good laugh watching me trying to devour it while getting it around my face and on the floor. I can only apologise to the poor staff who had to clean up after me but I can’t help but hold them slightly responsible for giving me a single tissue with it. 😂 The entire thing was a complete delight and great fun to eat. I will certainly be having it again! Just make sure to ask for more tissues when ordering.

Toms Cakes is a great little cafe. Its focus on the small details is what makes it stand out, whether that be in preparing their desserts and cakes or what they do with the limited space available. It has some really stiff competition in Ely which is becoming a real bakery hot spot but it easily stands up there with the best of them.

Thanks for reading.

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