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Please Rec Bakery in DC or NOVA for Cake

In particular, I am searching for a bakery that makes an excellent chocolate cake for my mother's 60th birthday. I don't even know where to begin since I've rarely had the need to go to a bakery in this area. Any suggestions/recommendations would be helpful. I'm in Arlington, so anything in DC or NOVA is great.

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  1. Pastries by Randolph and Amphora both make great cakes.

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    Pastries By Randolph
    4500 Lee Hwy, Arlington, VA

    Amphora Restaurant
    377 Maple Avenue West, Vienna, VA

    1. After many tries, I have yet to find a good cake in NoVa. I have not tried some venues where you can spend an outrageous amount of money, but all the affordable places, including the two mentioned above, have let me down. Most places are just too sweet for me.

      8 Replies
      1. re: Steve

        Have you tried Victoria's cakery in Fairfax City? It's the only place I'll buy a cake (since I bake frequently and am very picky). I've tried Amphora's, Pastries by Randolph, Heidelburg, Swiss Bakery, Cenan's and the other ones mentioned here and haven't loved any of them. I love the cakes from Victoria's--they're not too sweet, dry, but are slightly dense cakes which I prefer. The problem is most cakes have to be preordered, although they do have a very limited by the slice selection. I can pass on the cookies there.

        http://www.victoriascakeryinc.com/

        1. re: chowser

          No, I haven't tried it yet, though another Chowhound used to recommend it often. I got so discouraged that I gave up ordering cakes for birthdays, etc. Maybe now I'll try it.

          1. re: Steve

            I'd make you one if I could. :-) But, barring that, I like Victoria's cakery. It is more than Amphoras and not as pretty but I like that the cakes aren't overly sweet or dry. They're made to order which probably makes a big difference. I rarely order cakes but it's the only place I'll use.

            1. re: Steve

              With this thread, I decided to go again today. It's not a bakery where you can just stop by and hope they have something. I've never seen a beautiful display of decorated cakes, like Amphora's or Cenan's. They're out straight with orders, completely booked right now so all there is is sliced cake, limited selection. I was hoping to get a whole cake but was out of luck. I bought three pieces (family)--white w/ raspberry, chocolate variation, lemon. The cakes are always excellent but the frosting is your typical American buttercream. Perfect with a bite of cake but I always find buttercream too sweet. I don't eat most of the frosting.

              1. re: chowser

                Do they use icing or buttercream? I personally hate buttercream the addition of fat, normally shortening and butter, make it not so much sweet but fatty and oily tasting, whereas normal icing is sweeter and less buttery. Especially the buttercream on store bought cakes... but I like your typical american icing devoid of both kinds of fat, but you probably don't like that because it is sweeter.

                1. re: ktmoomau

                  It tastes like American buttercream--butter, confectioners sugar, cream/milk, vanilla. I'm pretty sure it's not italian or swiss buttercream because it's heavier. I'm not sure what you mean by icing, you mean like a glaze of confectioners sugar and liquid, or a fat-free meringue frosting like a marshmallow frosting? I'm trying to think if any place I know has cakes like that but I don't look for it so could have missed it. VC's has a dense frosting, matches the cake, so I'm pretty sure it's not made w/ any type of beaten egg whites. Either way, if you don't like fatty tasting frosting, you might not like this one because it's very rich buttery.

                  1. re: chowser

                    For real buttercream I thought it was normally shortening, butter, confactioners sugar, milk and vanilla. Two types of fat. What you describe above is different (it's what I like more like what you buy in a can like betty crocker more like the type I like). I think it tastes very different with the extra fat.

                    1. re: ktmoomau

                      American buttercream is generally butter, conf. sugar, vanilla and milk/cream (just a little) but some people use shortening because it's heartier and holds up in hot weather. I find it coats my mouth in an unpleasant slickness, and maybe that's what you're tasting, too. I don't know for sure but would guess that VC uses only butter. And, then there are the meringue buttercreams, like Italian and Swiss, that use beaten egg whites, sugar syrup, etc.

        2. I like the cakes at Alexandria Pastry Shop, in Bradlee Center, on King, just east of 395. There are several chocolate cakes and really lovely fruit options.

          http://www.alexandriapastry.com/cakes...

          1 Reply
          1. re: tcamp

            I like Alexandria Pastry Shop, and I like Buzz Bakery on Slater's Lane as well (although I haven't ordered a whole cake from them, just had cupcakes and other small treats).

          2. I like Amphora Bakery in Vienna. Beautiful and very tasty.

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            Amphora Restaurant
            377 Maple Avenue West, Vienna, VA

            1 Reply
            1. re: HilkaryIC

              I second the motion on Amphora. Delicious!

            2. just yesterday ordered a cake from firehook bakery in farragut square — the dark chocolate mousse cake. it was REALLY good, especially the ganache strip between layers.