Local and Delicious: Tom’s Cakes

LEAF ARBUTHNOT tucks into some of Cambridge’s tasty hidden secrets…

baking biscuits cake cookies cream Fitzbillies food jam leaf local produce scones Tom Victoria sponge

If you happen to be in Cambridge this Sabbath, for cripes’ sake stop by the market to give Tom’s Cakes a visit. The stall is only there on Sundays (thank jay, because much as I love spending my loan on brownies, I shouldn’t) and really is worth discovering. Tom is a babe, his wife is also one, the cakes they make are baked Edens.

The project began in a garage ten years ago, with the idea of bringing home-made cakes, composed of local ingredients, to the Cambridgeshire masses. This premise remains intact – all the eggs used are free-range and local, as is the milk. While it’s obviously old hat to make a song and a dance about ethical ingredients, knowing that what you’re tucking into probably doesn’t contain the sweat of a serf or the petrol of a machine is quite nice. It enhances the flavour of the food. There’s also something innately satisfying about shopping at the market – it’s retro, the real deal, how it used to be done before Reverend Globalisation bolshily introduced himself and demanded that we worship at his big tramply feet.

So – why Tom’s Cakes in particular, more than, say, the Jamaican stall?

1. Variety. There are muffins, banana loaves, brownies, cheese scones, cookies. An armoury of sugar bullets that want to nuzzle in your flesh. Let them.
2. It’s cheap(ish). Half a vicky sponge will set you back two quid. Muffins are one pound, scones less. Value for your benjamins.
3. There are free samples.
4. The service is fantastic. Tom is a nice guy – diffident, polite, a life enhancer.
5. The goods are, er, good. The best is the apple and cinnamon cake. I had it for tea, then had a bit with dinner, then had the remainder for breakfast.

It is still on my mind.