THE BLACK DOUGLAS
83 Beach Street
If you’re looking for an alternative to the Victoria sponge, head to The Black Douglas in Deal (near the harbour town of Dover, county Kent), where the smell of freshly baked cake greets you at the door. It’s a splendid little shop, in a murky sort of way, with books and newspapers strewn around—as comfortable as an elderly relative’s sitting room. It oozes good vibes and is filled with colourful local characters and their pedigreed pooches, making it nothing less than an institution. The Black Douglas combines traditionalist principles, passion for good wholesome food, and root vegetables, which all go into creating, arguably, the healthiest gluten- and wheat-free cake you’re likely to find in England. The most popular cakes are created by combining parsnips, pear, and pomegranate; beetroot, apple, fig, and black currant; and stem ginger with cardamom seed. For perfection on a plate, have yourself a wedge of chocolate amaretto and fig brandy cake (with heaps of clotted cream) and a pot of Ugandan tea. The Black Douglas has reinvented afternoon tea, which is exactly why it’s such a success. Get there early to secure a seafront window seat.