Lets find a Cafe (or tearoom)

Lets find a Cafe (or tearoom)

Locations of reviewed cafes

For more information on the Cafes I have visited and the latest cafe cycle news go to http://www.cake-crusader.co.uk/

Cake Crusader Book

There is now a Cake Crusader book available where you can follow my journey from humble local trips to world record attempts and near-death experiences. How did a simple method of keeping track of decent cycling café pit stops turn my life upside down? Track my adventures into Europe, up mountains and right across Great Britain as I become a 'rising star' on social media. Will I prove my critics wrong? Should cheese scones be served hot or cold? Do I really have nothing better to do with his time? A must read for lovers of cycling and cake or anyone wanting to make it big in the virtual world

Available on Amazon

Sunday 12 August 2018

Norfolk cycle parkrun challenge stage 7. (Florence cafe, Kings Lynn)

Florence Cafe,
Kings Lynn,
Closed down
You may recall that my friend Mark was looking for someone to join him on an attempt to cycle to, then run, every parkrun in Norfolk over the year (there are now 13). So far we have done 6 but due to availability issues had had most of the summer off.

Yesterday we were both back on it as it was time to do the parkrun we had been dreading, Kings Lynn. Not that there is anything wrong with Kings Lynn but as the official Norfolk cycle parkrun challenge rules state; Each ride needs to start from your home parkrun, which means the bandstand at Eaton Park in Norwich. I had calculated that we needed to leave at 5.15 am to get to the start in time so got up very early. 
Looking surprisingly happy for 5:15 in the morning
We were very fortunate with the weather as there were clear blue skies and only a light wind blowing into us. As it was still early we risked going on some busier roads to help shorten the distance although felt that straight down the dual carriageway on the A47 was probably a step too far. 
Perfect cycling conditions with no traffic about
Despite it being nearly 50 miles we paced it rather well and got to the Walks in Kings Lynn just in time for the pre run briefing.

The parkrun is 3 laps of the park which include an out and back section where you have to turn 180 degrees around a lamp post. On the first lap I studied the slingshot technique used by the more experienced runners. On lap two my first attempt nearly ended in disaster as I hung on for more than the required angle flinging myself back across the path into the on coming runners before mastering the method on the final lap.
Mark entering the finishing funnel
You may remember that back in March I got an Achilles injury (not that I like to mention it) that has now eventually cleared up. However during this time Mark built up a substantial lead in the fastest average parkrun time comp (that he didn't know he had entered). Sadly Mark is now injured so I pulled back nearly 7 minutes on him yesterday thus halving the deficit on my spreadsheet and I'm back in the game.
At the end of the Kings Lynn parkrun
It was now time to check out the cafe but unfortunately the park's one didn't sell cake so after a quick search on google maps we found one that did. It was the Florence cafe just a 4 minute bike ride away.
Outside Florence cafe near the park
It was a bit dark inside, which had the counter in the backroom as one of  two indoor seating areas available. Here we found the cake selection which had some nice cakes but they had been baked as slices not a round sponge cake like I prefer. We ordered before returning to the front room.
A rather square cake selection
I had coffee and walnut square cake with my hot chocolate and felt they were both pretty good. Mark thought his ginger cake was good too but his latte was very disappointing as it had hardly any coffee in it. Mark now has several guest hot drink rating experiences under his belt so I trusted him when he said he could only give his drink a 4.3. 
Nice cakes but latte wasn't the best
Now fully refreshed it was time to head home and despite having wind behind it felt like a bit of a slog. We both admitted to being very tired at the end of the 95 mile round trip.

Today (Sunday) I will find out if getting up at 4.45am, riding 95 miles and doing Kings Lynn parkrun is good preparation for the Great Yarmouth half marathon which I have entered. (note: It isn't)

Hot Choc Quality
Guest Hot Drink Quality
Effective Cake Selection
Cake Quality
Ambiance and Atmosphere
Café Rating
route to be published shortly

Friday 10 August 2018

Soggy. (Angel Cake cafe, New Buckenham)

Angel Cake Cafe,
New Buckenham,
Mon-Sat 9:00-5,
Highly Recommended
I have cycled into South Norfolk a few times this year and noticed that the Angel Cake cafe had opened in New Buckenham. As it was time for this week's cafe cycle ride it looked like the chance to check it out.

Big George was to join me as my cycling guest. It was a lovely sunny, if slightly windy morning, so I wasn't too bothered that he was 10 minutes late for the start. I was still unbothered when Big George then had an early puncture delaying us further, but I should have been! 
Big George demonstrates how to change a puncture when you are not in a hurry
As I hadn't seen Big George for a while it was quite a leisurely ride as we caught up on urgent stuff by not listening to each other's latest news and time flew by until we found the Angel cake cafe in the High Street at New Buckenham.
Outside Angel Cafe in New Buckenham
The cafe has a downstairs and upstairs indoor seating area but we opted for downstairs so we could keep an eye on the bikes. 

The cake selection was a good one with 3 sponge cakes as well as many tempting tray bakes. I was pleased to see brownie available so I could try it out as part of my continuing search for Brownie of the year (#BOTY).
Brownie and drinks
Big George went for a cappuccino and egg sandwich. As an egg sandwich is not cake he played no further part in any cake based reviewing. I had finished my brownie before it arrived as eggs need cooking rather than being pre prepared like cake.
Big Georges egg sandwich
The staff were very friendly and our drinks were good ones. I liked the brownie although it was more like a chocolate cake so I gave it a high cake taste quality mark but it missed out on getting to the end of the year brownie off. 

Once Big George had finished his sandwich we both agreed that the Angel cafe was a very good stop and I highly recommend a visit.

As we got ready to leave I noticed that the sky was no longer blue and sunny but black and rainy. Big George smugly passed on his Cycling guest cycling top tip.

Cycling guest cycling top tip No 67. To avoid a soaking then don't be fooled by sunny skys at the start of your cycle ride but check the weather forecast and if required take a water proof.

I foolishly hadn't followed cycling guest cycling top tip no 67 like Big George.

But as I got ready for the downpour I suddenly realised what had been going on. The late start, the puncture, the leisurely ride down and the egg sandwich were all ways to slow the ride down and make sure the rain would arrive on our way home.

As the first drops of rain started Big George asked if we could stop as he smugly put on his waterproof jacket. 
Big George smugly putting on his waterproof jacket
Despite riding as fast as I could Big George's tactics had paid off as I was very wet by the time I got home. As we parted at the end of the ride I had to congratulate Big George on the successful execution of his plan (although he looked pretty soggy too).

Tomorrow I am doing the next leg of my Norfolk cycle parkrun challenge which means leaving Norwich at 5:15 to cycle the 45 miles to Kings Lynn for their parkrun. Hopefully by then I would have dried out.

Scores based on 2 visits
Hot Choc Quality
Guest Hot Drink Quality
Effective Cake Selection
Cake Quality
Ambiance and Atmosphere
Café Rating


Click here to download 38 mile Norwich Old Buckenham loop GPX file to your GPS

Wednesday 1 August 2018

Good read (Garden Kitchen cafe, Hoveton)

Garden Kitchen Cafe,
Sun-Friday 9:30-4 (Easter- October),
New cycle cafes have been a bit thin on the ground this summer so it was good to be able to clock up another one yesterday. For this ride my cycling guests were Mrs Crusader plus Barry and Helen and their Summer Tandem.

We were heading out North of Norwich so met up with Barry and Helen and their Summer Tandem near the new North Norwich bypass at Spixworth. 

As we set off Helen said that she had finally started to read my book (even though it's been available since Christmas) and had to admit that it was probably the best book about cycling to cafes, mainly in the Norfolk area, she had ever read.

Barry and Helen and their Summer Tandem had just got back from a cycling holiday in Holland (where coincidentally some of my book is based) so they were in fine form keeping up an excellent pace all the way to Hoveton Hall where we found today's cafe stop the Garden Kitchen Cafe.
Outside the Garden Kitchen cafe by the entrance of Hoveton Hall
The waitress greeted us with some news. Firstly a number of today's tables were reserved and, secondly, as it was only 11:30 we could look at the menu but nothing gets cooked until lunch time starts at 12. It reminded me of the rather amusing story when Andrew (who is notoriously hard to please) tried to order a Hummus sandwich before 12:00 at Wiveton Hall. If you want to know what happened it's covered in detail in my book.

The cake selection glass display cabinet had a number of gaps (including brownie) keeping the effective cake selection score down. 
Half empty glass cake display cabinet
I opted for Ginger cake, while Chris and Helen went for lemon polenta cake and Barry a sausage roll (which isn't a cake and sooo last year). Between my cycling guests they covered americano, mocha and cappuccino coffee options. 
Some of the drinks and cakes on offer
The drinks all scored well and the cakes were well liked too but some of the most expensive I have had. It was a nice stop and I recommend a visit.

The courtyard area was beginning to fill up with punters from the Hoveton Hall gardens so we decided it was time to get back on the road.
Outdoor courtyard seating area before the crowds arrived
Helen was keen to get home so she could get back to my book as she said it was the sort of book that once you put it down you couldn't pick it up. Remember the Cake Crusader book is available on Amazon (paperback or Kindle)  and all good bookshops (as long as it's Jarrold of Norwich). 

Hot Choc Quality
Guest Hot Drink Quality
Effective Cake Selection
Cake Quality
Ambiance and Atmosphere
Café Rating

Click here to down load 26 mile Norwich Tunstead loop GPX file for your GPS