. . . tried the jelly cake from Shuman's Bakery in Alexandria. Or maybe you're just too young. Thin, round layers of buttery poundcake separated by slathers of red-currant jelly, cut into tidy diamond shapes, jelly cake has been a mainstay of Shuman's in Old Town for a century. In December, nearly 4,000 sailed off the shop's racks -- at $18 for a whole cake, $6.50 a pound -- and about 900 were bound for out-of-town connoisseurs. In the early 1950s, Shuman's jelly cake got a dusting of royal repute along with its customary powdered sugar when Queen (then Princess) Elizabeth II's private plane was provisioned with one for a flight back to England. No one knows if she had even a bite, but fans have bragged ever since that the jelly cake is so famous, even Queen Elizabeth has sampled it.
Shuman's Bakery, 430 S. Washington St., Alexandria. 703-549-0128.
Hours: 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday.