Temperance Puffer might sound like a character straight from a Charles Dickens novel, but she is a real person, currently alive, and baking a giant cake that will be served at the dessert bar at the center of Beeliner Diner in Alexandria. The entire cake weighs between 25 and 35 pounds, says co-owner Markos Panas, and a single slice feeds three to four people.
We politely beg to differ. With seven chunky layers, the dessert is essentially three cake slices stuck together—six people could share it and still ride a sugar high. Funfetti and carrot cake slices are already gone for the day, sold out on a busy Sunday, but gooey chocolate cake, surrounded on all sides by sticky chocolate icing, is fresh and ready for diners to attempt to conquer it. “Tower Cakes is its own phenomenon,” says Panas of the business that sprang from Puffer’s mind even before Beeliner Diner opened in March.
The team behind Beeliner, which includes co-owners Noelie Rickey and Dagmawi Abedje, also owns bakery Bread & Water Company, with locations in both Arlington and Alexandria. That means that the Bun Papa burgers and sandwiches are served on shiny house-baked brioche buns. The bread flattens like a whoopee cushion when a diner picks it up but springs back, full of air, as soon as they put it back down. Inside, they might find a house-blended beef patty or a Creole-fried chicken thigh with pickles and aioli more flavorful than the sandwich at Popeyes.
It doesn’t stop there, though. Americana enthusiasts will get their cravings satisfied with Salisbury steak, while folks in search of something different can stretch with stuffed waffles (fillings include everything from spinach to feta to kielbasa) or pizza that can be made vegan-friendly. But it might not be a bad idea to start with cake. 3648 King St., Alexandria