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Jan 24, 2011 02:48 PM

Where can I find a bridal shower cake in Northern VA area?

Hi all. I wish I could make it myself but I won't have any time- so where can I find a beautifully decorated, tasty tiered cake for a big bridal shower bash in Northern VA?

A friend is ordering some things from the whole foods bakery, are their cakes good enough? or should i definitely go with a specialty place?

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  1. I find the cakes at Whole Foods to be odd/bad. I can't quite describe it, but the icing is oily/thick and has an off flavor and the cake itself has a very large crumb and an odd texture. There are a number of very good bakeries in Northern Virginia. You don't say where in NOVA (big area) but there is a place in Sterling called Chantel's that is supposedly very good with good prices.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Just Visiting

      Well it will be near Falls Church, but cake places deliver don't they?
      Thanks for the tip re: Chantel's.

      1. re: Just Visiting

        I've been very disappointed in WF cakes. I agree with Just Visiting. You can do better!

      2. Getting my wedding cake from Fluffy Thoughts and the tasting - and customer service - was AMAZING. I cannot WAIT to eat it in just under 8 weeks - I am SO excited.

        I love them and can't recommend them enough - the flavors were great.

        4 Replies
        1. re: Jeserf

          I just went on the Fluffy Thoughts site and it looks perfect! Thanks so much everyone. :) I won't go with WF cake. :)

          1. re: eviemichael

            +1 for Fluffy Thoughts based on their cupcakes.

            1. re: Indy 67

              I just looked up reviews and some say their cake is dry...but you both have better experiences than this? I really want it to be scrumptious. I am thinking their signature white cake layered with alternating chocolate buttercream, raspberry filling and covered in white chocolate buttercream.

              1. re: eviemichael

                the cake I tasted at the tasting was wonderful. Also, I think wedding cake is dry when it has fondant on it - mine will not - since fondant seems to pull the moisture out as it sits.

                I'm not expert on baking, but my cake tasting was the single best part of wedding planning and I've LOVED working with them. I'm sworn off most sweets until the wedding (once in a while I have a bite) but told my fiance that when we go drop off the cake topper, I'm having a cupcake because I can't wait until the wedding :)

                I could have gotten an entire cake with the candy crunch and caramel...for what it's worth

        2. Heidelberg Pastry Shoppe also does absolutely wonderful cakes (though a bit pricey). I would agree with the folks who have steered you away from Whole Foods cakes - one of the few things that WF does not do well!

          Heidelberg Pastry Shop
          2150 N Culpeper St, Arlington, VA

          1. Amphora bakery - the one in Herndon is a delight, though it's in an industrial park.

            6 Replies
            1. re: Dennis S

              This is one of those times when a board like this or like Trip Advisor for hotels is problematic. Sometimes there's simply no consensus. You've already heard both good and bad things about Fluffy Thoughts. I -- and posters on similar threads -- have nothing nice to say about Amphora's baked goods. To be fair, my experience is with the original Vienna branch rather than Dennis' recommended Herndon branch, and I don't know if Amphora bakes all its products at a central location.

              Frankly, I think success often lies in clear communication. The last birthday of my mother's life, it was more convenient to have Balducci's cater and deliver everything even though I'm not crazy about their cakes. I ordered the Dolly Sin cake, but made it clear that I usually found the cake to be dry. I asked if there was anything they could do about this problem. They volunteered to bake the cake in the store kitchen rather than in the central kitchen and to enrich the standard recipe. (I think the tweak was extra pudding mix). The results were everything I hoped they would be: wonderfully moist and intensely flavored.

              I firmly believe that if you express your concerns, ask for the bakery's suggestions to deal with those, and generally communicate your interest in the best product, you'll get just that.

              1. re: Indy 67

                I wonder about quality control at some of these places because I've never had a great cake or baked goods from Amphora's (it's a go to place for my husband's family because of the price) yet I always hear it recommended here. And, most of the cakes are specially ordered, not off the shelf so should be fresh.

                I love Victoria's Cakery in Fairfax City--I do find their frosting a little too thick and sweet and usually don't eat it but love the cake itself. And, they don't do fancy decorating that I've seen but I haven't asked for anything more than a standard cake. I haven't heard of Fluffy Thoughts and should give them a try. I don't think most people are as picky about their baked goods as I am, though, and think that's what keeps most of these places in business.

                1. re: chowser

                  I think that price drives a lot decisions. When Heidleberg Bakery first opened -- and I'm going back decades when it was located where Patries by Randolph now sits -- their products were unmatched. Even before the move to the stand-alone location, I noticed a decline. I'm convinced that the recipes began to use alternatives to pure butter that introduced an articial taste. I also recall that the fruit flavorings, especially, didn't have quite the same fresh, intense taste. I'm sure owner/baker knew the difference, but couldn't afford to keep the quality high at a price point most people were willing to pay. I remember still being satisfied with a lot of their homier products, but the baked goods I'd serve to company simply weren't in the same league.

                  I suspect that many bakeries go through this same process over time. Marvelous Market went the same route, exaggerated by the fact that it became a chain, centralized all it's baking, and wrapped all its bread in plastic wrap, a great way to kill a good crust. I've been hearing rumblings about Firehook's quality recently. I'm always on the lookout for a new bakery so I can patronize it while the commitment to excellence hasn't been worn down by the realities of running a business.

                  1. re: chowser

                    I've got no specific experience w/ any of the places in question here, but in general QC w/ bakeries is more of an issue than w/ other food vendors; baking is far more science than art, and so even a little bit of variation in the process can have a big impact on the final product.

                  2. re: Indy 67

                    To be clear, I'm talking about the central bakery for Amphora, in Herndon. This is not the place you sit and eat at in Herndon; though they do have events there (which are great for kids b-day parties).


                    It's in a warehouse lot and is nothing to see from the outside, though the inside is pretty cool.

                    I also have yet to see anything in the diners that comes close to what they can produce for a party.

                    1. re: Dennis S

                      Now that you've tweaked my memory, I'm talking about an Amphora that no longer exits. At one time, the company owned the diner that fronted Maple Avenue in Vienna along with a bakery that was in a small strip mall perpendicular to the diner. (I think the Amphora folks were also the developers of this strip mall.) I'm reasonably confident that the Amphora mini-empire also included a third store, a Greek grocery store, next door to the bakery. Chances are this Vienna bakery was the precursor to the central Herndon one you're talking about.

                2. My go to is always Randolph Pattisserie in Arlington. I love their cakes. I also know that Bakeshop VA does cakes they are in Clarendon, their cupcakes are amazingly moist and delectable, I have them on my list for the next time I need a cake.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: ktmoomau

                    Whole Foods = bad bakery. It astounds me that people actually keep buying things from there. I second Randolph's and Heidleberg's....I've had both and they're quite good.