Eight years ago, Syrian native Dana Alfahham was studying cake decorating in Dubai and working as a baker at a British school, considering a move back to Damascus with her husband and children.
Syria was at war, however, and not the best place to return to.
An opportunity arose to move to the U.S. and Alfahham was soon baking and selling wedding cakes in Virginia, winning rave reviews in the D.C. area for her elaborately designed, perfectly balanced creations.
The Middle East’s loss is Loudoun’s gain – and not only in the waistlines.
“I’ve lived in Loudon for four years now and I love it,” she told Visit Loudoun. “Everyone has been so supportive, it’s the best place to raise children and my two older daughters help me in the shop.”
It’s not only cakes and gourmet pies on sale in the sweet-smelling space. Other delicacies baked on-site include macaroons, cheesecake, cookies, fruit tarts, eclairs, Napoleons, and both savory and sweet croissants.
“Everything I bake is from scratch,” said Alfahham. “I’ve developed my own recipes for the best texture, using high-end ingredients and European-style batter. As for decorations – you tell me what you want, and I will design it.”
The good news for people with a sweet tooth is that Dana’s is not the only gourmet cake shop making waves in Loudoun. In commemoration of National Dessert Day on October 14th, we selected 10 additional places to satisfy your sugar cravings in Loudoun.
Modeled on European-style dessert houses, this chic new ice cream, cake and cookie parlor in a historic building in downtown Leesburg is an instant classic. The ice cream portions are so large they should come with a warning.
World-renowned pastry chef Santosh Tiptur’s menu is inspired by the chocolate he ate as a kid growing up in India. Many of the savory dishes on the menu, including the rack of lamb, have cocoa in them, but the desserts made with artisanal craft chocolate – Manjari cakes, truffles, S’mores, and sculpted chocolate pieces – are the ultimate taste experience.
Custom cakes, pastries, and desserts made with farm-fresh, locally-sourced produce are the name of the game at this pint-sized café in downtown Leesburg. The cookie bag filled with peanut butter, chocolate chip, and homemade Oreos is a hit.
The lines outside this timeless pie temple are a testament to enduring popularity. The pecan, apple, cherry, peach, and blueberry pies are mind-blowing and they do a range of cookies and pastries too. If the wait is too long, visit the second Loudoun location at Hill High Market near Round Hill.
The sandwiches, quiches, and chicken pot pies at this cozy café in historic Aldie are superb but don’t miss the sweet goods: house-baked cinnamon rolls, lemon bars, brownies, croissants, and all manner of fresh fruit pies, from apple and peach to rhubarb and raspberry. Delicious.
Tiled floors, mirrored walls, rattan tables… you’ll feel like you’ve been transported to Paris when entering this chic Purcellville bistro. The owners do cookies, pastries, and coffee, but their specialties are the delicate savory and sweet crepes made right in front of you. Try the Sweet Nutella made with creamy chocolate hazelnut spread and sprinkled with powdered sugar. To die for.
This cleverly named bakery on Catoctin Circle does sublime hand-baked breads, cakes, cookies, croissants, eclairs, macarons, and pastries using old-world artisan techniques in a special stone-hearth German-engineered oven. Don’t miss the delicate fruit tarts and tartlets.
Try traditional Austrian pastry strudels and creative new takes on the flakily delicious European dessert at this Sterling-based outpost of Austrian transplant Helene Gallent. The strudels are made from scratch, with simple, local, and organic ingredients. What to try? The Cheese Blackberry Strudel.
Where to start? Pick up everything from hand-crafted gourmet chocolates to lava cakes, tiramisu, honey bun cakes, muffins, and blueberry crumb bars at this stylish family-owned favorite in Sterling. They do coffee and savory goods too and have a popular catering outfit.
For 30 years this homespun parlor on Middleburg’s bustling West Washington Street has been where horse country goes to cool down. Identified by the iconic ice cream cone sign on the street, the parlor serves scoops, malts, and shakes in a wide range of flavors (orange blossom anyone?), but also some delectable ice cream sandwiches. We like the home-made chocolate chip cookie sandwich, the cookie being the “bread”, your choice of ice cream the filling in between. Delicious.