News and notes from Fredericksburg's entertainment scene
SPOTSY CAKERY IS A SWEET SUCCESS
Wow! Has it really been more than two years since Kolache House at Southpoint has been shuttered? It must be, because that’s how long Chambers Cakery has been holding down the fort in that strip-center slot, a stone’s throw from American Family Fitness.
I went solo one afternoon to the neat and tidy cakery, where the bakers work hours more befitting bankers. My first thought was that, with its limited selection of mostly cupcakes, Chambers is like the Carl’s of bakeries. And it turns out that—like that iconic ice cream stand—what they do, they do exceedingly well.
And I’m not much of a cupcake guy, or else I’d surely have taken advantage of their generous “Buy 5, get 1 free” offer. No, the fact is I’m a little mystified by the whole cupcake trend. Cupcakes can be kind of messy to eat, unless you don’t mind a face full of icing; plus, you’re apt to lose half the cake as soon as you start peeling away the paper cup.
The irony is, I’m more of a kolache guy. I guess I’m just partial to pastries, whether they happen to be Czech ones or French ones. But doughnuts, brownies, pies, cupcakes—today’s usual bakery fare—leave me kind of flat.
Trying to get past my dessert prejudices, I ordered a Chambers chocolate–peanut butter cupcake, from a selection that also included red velvet, carrot, Neapolitan and Black Forest ones, to go along with my cup of coffee.
And just for good measure I had the pleasant, helpful server toss in a cookie sandwich. Chambers’ sandwiches comprise creamy buttercream frosting tucked between two soft chocolate-chip cookies. I’m used to a stiffer filling for this sort of treat, but I wasn’t about to complain. You see, both desserts were incredibly satisfying: sweet, smooth, light and creamy.
The cakery was slow in the midafternoon, so I turned my focus to “Chopped,” the Food Network show displayed on their flatscreen. (Restaurants really ought to be watchful about what they televise: Most times the food on these programs easily eclipses that being served in the eatery.)
“Chopped” with host Ted Allen, a guy without much in the way of charisma or even cooking chops, features four chefs tasked with making an appetizer, entrée and dessert from four main ingredients.
My attention was diverted when other customers began trickling in for snacks or custom-ordered sheet cakes, including a bride-to-be with last-minute changes to her planned tiered wedding cake.
Then a soccer mom dashed in to grab a cake that had been made expressly for her son’s soccer team. The jaw-dropping confection was shaped like a hemisphere, with a soccer ball’s black and white panels erupting from a green “turf” surround. That mom was one satisfied customer; I halfway expected her to shout “Goal!”
Watching these interactions, it became clear how very service oriented the cakery is and just how closely its employees listen to the needs of their customers.
Meanwhile, back on “Chopped,” the contestants had wrapped up their work with the appetizer ingredients: dried morel mushrooms, dandelion greens, rice wrappers and chia seeds. They’d all managed to prepare dazzling dishes on the fly. But who would want to eat things made with only those four elements? That’s the $64,000 question.
Why not give them flour, sugar, eggs and butter, then see what they could come up with? Something tells me that, given that kind of level playing field, they’d have a tough time competing with the chefs at Chambers.
What: Chambers Cakery
Address: 10008 Southpoint Parkway, Spotsylvania
Info: 540/710-2253, go to chamberscakery.com or find them on Facebook.
Hours: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday
Prices: Cookies: 85 cents; cupcakes, brownies, cookie sandwiches: $2 each; coffee: $1.50
The Scoop: This Southpoint bakery makes stunning custom cakes, but their everyday fare can be pretty sweet, too.
Kurt Rabin: 540/374-5000 | firstname.lastname@example.org