Flour Power: Coastal Virginia’s Best Bakeries Part I
Local Bakeries Rise to the Occasion with Perfect Pastries, Delightful Doughnuts, Creative Cupcakes, Lovable Loaves and More
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There’s a certain fondness of baked goods that extends far beyond the palate or penchant for gluten. It’s the special occasion cake your family has been buying from the same beloved bakery year after year. It’s the first bite of that light-as-a-feather pastry that provides comfort after a bad day. It’s the sacred family recipe for yeast rolls that’s too good not to share with the world. Many memories are tied to baked goods, making them more than just an indulgence but an act of love, made to be shared among the sweetest people in our lives.
Below, we’ve whipped up a list of some of our favorite bakeries in Coastal Virginia: a baker’s dozen of all-around classic confectioneries, cupcakes and doughnuts galore, out-of-this-world international treats, bread that’s totally worth the carb intake, spots to grab a confection plus a cup of joe, iconic locations we love and specialties like cookies, macarons and nothing but the best bundt cakes—all worth sinking your sweet teeth into.
Don’t worry, gluten-intolerant guys and gals—we’ve got you covered, too. Visit here for some great gluten-free options that won’t have you asking, Where’s the grain?
A Baker's Dozen of Our Favorite Sweet Shops
This dollop of a shop tucked away a few steps off of Colonial Williamsburg’s bustling Merchants Square is a picture book bakery sprung to life. It belongs to David Everett’s empire, so don’t be surprised by slices of Death by Chocolate (Blackbird adjoins The Trellis, and you can order a whole DbC from an array of special occasion cakes) plus supersized sticky buns, hot milk cake (WASPy tres leches), croissants, tarts and daily breads (batards, boules, brioche—half price after 5 p.m.). Buttery rich chocolate chip cookies are anything but cookie-cutter; they have a hand-hewn charm, and the kindly clerk will let you pick the one you want along the chewy-crispy spectrum. Grab a cup of illy coffee to sip at the small windowsill counter, but it’s the cinder toffee (a puffed honeycomb of butter toffee dipped in dark chocolate; a better Butterfinger if you will) you’ll really crow about. 407 W. Duke of Gloucester St., Williamsburg. 757-903-4888. BlackBirdBakeryWilliamsburgVa.com
Photo by Ilsy Serrano
When Pat Marshall and Lee Anne Horan moved their bakery-cafe across the street three years ago, the larger, brighter space offered more picture windows for observing the cityscape while enjoying a light breakfast or lunch at a quaint wrought iron table, picking up a special occasion cake or choosing from a panoply of nostalgia-laced bar cookies—lemon, rocky road, SKOR, peanut butter and raspberry. But the best view is through an interior arched window looking into the baking bastion where the mother-daughter team and their crew create these sweets as well as decadent peanut butter bombs (chocolate mousse enveloping peanut butter mousse atop a brownie, all coated in ganache), muffins, cream cheese brownies, cupcakes, Hello Dollies, Ho Hos (an improved take on Hostess’), and more edible Americana. They hint at the fact that Pat raised a half dozen children, so it’s no wonder that an old-fashioned, homey goodness pervades Chocollage. 200 College Pl., Norfolk. 757-533-5335. Facebook.com/ChocollageBakery
Need a cake? Make it from Scratch. Known for its custom-made cakes, jumbo cookies, cupcakes and homemade desserts, Scratch Bakery started as a home-based business, run by Lashonda Sanford, that eventually opened shop in Port Warwick in 2011. Word spread quickly about the quality of her baked goods, and she expanded operations by moving into a larger space and adding a cupcake food truck. More recently, she opened a second location in Phoebus. Both shops offer a selection of mouthwatering favorites such as chocolate mousse cups, cheesecakes, cobblers, decorated short bread, cake pops, lemon bars and gooey bars, as well as chicken pot pies, chicken salad sandwiches and soups. 36 Mellen St., Hampton. 757-224-8430. 4181 William Styron Square, Newport News. 757-833-0965. ItsMadeFromScratch.com
Long before there was a Tiffany blue storefront or shiny awards, Yummaries served a heartfelt array of sweets to Smithfield residents. The mother-daughter team, Kelly and Marie Payne, expanded their business last year from a sprawling stand at the farmers’ market to a sunny, high-ceilinged shop on historic Main Street. Since 2005, Yummaries has endeared itself to visitors with a host of carefully made baked goods. Quirky specialties like “cranberry hootycreek cookies” and bright pink, pig-shaped sugar cookies fill the case, while an honor guard of decadent layer cakes lines the long countertop. Aromas of butter, sugar, flour and spice wafts from the open kitchen to the wooden tables where customers are encouraged to sit and enjoy both their dessert and the peace of a space where the cares of life can wait—at least ’til you’ve finished your muffin. 213 Main St., Smithfield. 757-371-5421. Yummaries.com
Flour Child Bakery
“It’s her fault I’m doing this,” cracks the presciently named Cathy Baker, setting out small batches of scratch-made mini pies (coconut cream, key lime), cookies (loaded oatmeal, red velvet) and jumbo cupcakes (Italian cream, chocolate salted caramel) while referencing her daughter/partner Cassie Walker, lover of the tie-dye era that inspired Flour Child. “She’s the main baker. I do the frosting.” Mom may be icing on the cake, but she nurtured Cassie’s entrepreneurial streak, toting her along at an early age to county fairs to help in the family’s mobile festival-food business (think corn dogs). Since 2010 the pair have been dealing in sugar highs via everything from custom wedding cakes to cake pops (“psychedelic-ious” flavors like piña colada, mint and fresh strawberry), from fudge brownies and fresh fruit pies to bubblegum-flavored meringues (plus other gluten-free goodies). With a hippie-dippie theme and groovy soundtrack, this place is a peace of cake. 1716 Pleasure House Rd., #104, Virginia Beach. 757-464-1455. ILoveFlourChildBakery.com
Heritage Amish Bake Shoppe
Short of driving to rural Pennsylvania or possessing an Amish grandmother of your own, Heritage Bake Shoppe is the choicest option when craving a dessert that is, in the best way, undeniably homemade. Built into a spacious log cabin beside the Virginia Beach Farmers Market, Heritage houses a cafe, deli, bulk food store and a capacious bakery. Giant molasses, peanut butter and chocolate chip cookies can be bought by the dozen and half-dozen. Pies—regular sized and miniature—are handed over, often still warm, to the lucky customer who times their visit correctly. But the real stand-outs here are the colossal cinnamon rolls that Heritage offers at an alarmingly low price: angel-soft dough caught in a cinnamon-sugar spiral, smeared lavishly with vanilla frosting. Buy a single roll if you’re self-controlled or a pan of six if you’re the rest of us. 3600 Dam Neck Rd., Virginia Beach. 757-716-3772.
A freewheeling drive down Chesapeake’s backcountry roads leads you to the homegrown and homestyle fixings at Bergey’s Breadbasket. The family-owned farmstead has handed over long-lived heirloom recipes spanning generations. With humble roots when it was established as Bergey’s Dairy Farm during the Great Depression, the Bergeys delivered bottles from door-to-door as milkmen before eventually settling down, preserving the family farm and opening the Breadbasket on the plot in 2006. It’s lauded by locals as a nook for freshly baked goods (biscuits, breads, cookies, pies); creamery with milkshakes and ice cream; deli dishing out barbecue, sandwiches and chicken potpie; and petting zoo with goats, pigs and cows. Try tasty tidbits and made-from-scratch batches of glazed cinnamon rolls coated with pecans and raisins or their angel biscuits that are warm, fluffy and heavenly divine. 2207 Mt. Pleasant Rd., Chesapeake. 757-546-9225. BergeysBreadbasket.com
Silver Spoon Bakery
Silver Spoon Bakery has remained a beloved confectionery destination since its founding in 2005 and has been recognized with numerous accolades for its stylishly designed cakes and assortment of tasty desserts. Portsmouth native C.C. Martinez, owner and head baker, offers an extensive list of customizable creations to her clients, including an array of cake flavors from the classic marble frosted with traditional buttercream to the indulgent German Chocolate and tropical Pineapple Upside Down. These delectable cakes can also be infused with a variety of fruity and creamy fillings or draped in sugary fondant. In house, the bakery’s display cases are brimming with cupcakes, pies, cannolis, cookies, chocolate eclairs, scones, cinnamon buns and Silver Spoon’s signature Cake Shakes that are sure to satisfy even the most serious sweet tooth. 4715 Portsmouth Blvd., Portsmouth. 757-673-8431. SilverSpoonVA.com
Located within walking distance from the new E-Commerce Center of Hampton, Williams O’Delicious is easy to miss—identified only with a sign that says “Bakery.” Featuring Japanese-style baking from owner Naoko Sugiyama-Williams, the shop is small but packed with lots of delicious options. There is only one table for customers, so it’s more of a carry-out kind of place, but don’t let that stop you from boxing up their exceptional confections. The idea for the bakery came when Sugiyama-Williams heard from Japanese and European friends that they really missed the taste of pastries and baked good they were accustomed to. After offering cakes and other hand-held desserts at gatherings, people started asking her to make more. Demand got so great, she decided to open a shop and make it a full-time labor of love. Todd Center, 1814 Todds Lane, Suite E, Hampton. 757-262-1013 or 757-814-5179. LDomatt.WixSite.com/Williams-ODelicious
Indulge Bakery and Bistro
What do you do when you’re in the mood for something sweet, but you’re also really hungry and need to stock up on something more substantial? Easy. Head to Historic Hilton Village and drop by Indulge Bakery and Bistro. Featuring a European-style atmosphere, you can literally have your (carrot) cake and eat it, too. Breakfast is served until 11 a.m. and features their famous AM Kickstarter—a split buttermilk biscuit stuffed with sautéed spinach, an over-easy egg, Swiss cheese and topped with Sriracha. Brunch is served all day, which is awesome if you’re looking for a variety of quiches or bagels with lox. Lunch offers sandwiches, salads and soup. Then of course, there’s the countertop treats ranging from cake rolls and croissants to chocolate espresso clouds. 10359 Warwick Blvd., Newport News. 757-594-1399. IndulgeBakeryAndBistro.com
Sugar Plum Bakery
As if a sugary selection of scrumptious confections—cupcakes, pastries and pies, oh my!—wasn't sweet enough, what's even more luscious is this well-known bakery's purpose. Sugar Plum serves the needs of people with disabilities through employment and education. Stop here for satisfaction in helping a good cause, and you will become a repeat customer addicted to both their mission and a vast assortment of feel-good treats, particularly signature cakes like Bananarama, Lemon Zip Razzamatazz and our favorite—Mozart, skillfully composed of three layers of yellow cake split with raspberry filling and Bavarian cream, iced with vanilla butter cream and finished with melted chocolate fudge. It is truly music to your mouth. 1353 Laskin Road, Virginia Beach. 757-422-3919. SugarPlumBakery.org
If you confess to never meeting a baked good you can pass up, Bliss is your place. This full-service bakery's always-hot ovens rise to the challenge, producing an impressive variety of traditional scratch items—everything from cream horns to crumb cake, whoopie pies to bow ties—and bonus bakery delights like bagels and specialty sammies cradled by fresh-baked breads. Order The Hokie—roasted turkey, cranberry pecan sauce, bacon, lettuce and tomato—and eat at welcoming café tables while considering one of their incredible custom cakes for your next occasion. If you imagine it, they can create it ... and it will taste good too. 1401 Lynnhaven Parkway A, Virginia Beach. 757-368-2253. TheBlissBakery.com
Carrot Tree Kitchens
It’s true that carrots don’t grow on trees, but you’ll wish that carrot cake did after one bite of the famous confection found at this Peninsula-based bakery. Three luscious layers of moist carrot cake with rich cream cheese frosting piped between each layer—who would have ever thought that a cake created with vegetables could be so darn decadent? But that’s not the only sweet they’ve got up their sleeve. You’ll also find an assortment of cupcakes, petit fours, tarts, mousse cakes, brownies and more, all beaming from behind a glass case. 1367 Colonial Parkway Dr., Jamestown. 757-229-1170. 1303 Jamestown Rd., Williamsburg. 757-229-0957. 323 Water St., Yorktown. 757-988-1999. CarrotTreeKitchens.com