For weekend travelers braving traffic on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, there's a sweet reward on the other side. A quick detour off Route 50 leads to Peace of Cake bakery in the historic district of Stevensville on Kent Island, where the aroma of freshly baked cakes greets you before you step inside. The four-year-old bakery specializes in celebration cakes -- weddings, anniversaries, birthdays -- but the case is always filled with ready-to-go dense and delicious cheesecakes, glistening fresh fruit tarts and other treats.
The large open kitchen looks like an artist's studio. Brushes stand in containers of brightly colored icing on the large table where co-owner and baker Kirsten Cate works. A cake covered in white icing is a blank canvas on which co-owner Lang King will paint a portrait of animated movie character Buzz Lightyear. And in another corner of the kitchen, Cate's older sister and fellow baker, Kimmy, decorates spongecake castles for a local school's history class.
Planning a party for your Eastern Shore weekend? Call 48 hours ahead for special orders and phone consultations. "Any cake for any occasion," King says is the bakery's motto.
But if that occasion is simply a much-needed respite from the highway, don't miss the vanilla custard tart loaded with juicy blueberries ($3.50 for individual tarts; $22 for a nine-inch tart) or the coconut and pineapple pina colada cheesecake ($3.50 per piece; $24 for an eight-inch cake). A square of the moist, subtly spiced carrot cake ($3.50; $24 for an eight-inch cake) is big enough to feed a small family. And if you feel the need for something healthy to offset your indulgence, grab a bag of Kimmy Cate's homemade granola, a lightly sweetened mix of toasted oats, almonds and walnuts with chewy dried cranberries and apricots ($4 for a three-cup bag).
There's no seating in the bakery. For those not quite ready to get back on the road, cross the street to Love Point Cafe, which always carries a selection of Peace of Cake's pastries.
-- Matt McMillen (May, 2006)