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Bites Nearby: Cupcakes and Mac n' Cheese at Silver Spring's Sweet & Cheesy

CakeLove and CapMac test customer reaction at downtown Silver Spring event.

Anyone with a hunger for something sweet or savory got a chance to satisfy both cravings at CakeLove on Saturday, Feb. 16 in downtown Silver Spring. The owner of the bakery and the owner of CapMac food truck teamed up for the Sweet & Cheesy event. Customers tried out pasta dishes and taste cake icing samples.

"What we want to do is sell our cream cheese icings to people, not just on our cupcakes, but in pint size containers and 4-oz. mini-tubs," said Warren Brown, the owner and founder of CakeLove.

The "from scratch" bakery moved from its Ellsworth Drive address to 8512 Fenton St. about two years ago. There is seating at the new location where people can stay and enjoy their treats. The customers who stopped by for the taste test provided feedback Brown will use to decide what cream cheese icings will sell best.

"It's exciting because people love the way they taste. They love the way they look, and that's just cool," said Brown.

Patrons sampled cream cheese icing in six different flavors: vanilla, chocolate, coffee, lemon, Nutella and peanut butter. The velvety icing, made with cream cheese, butter and other natural ingredients, makes the bakery's Red Velvet and Carrot Cakes among the most popular.

"They put a lot of frosting on, and I'm really a big fan of that," said Rachael Travis, a District of Columbia resident. She considers CakeLove her favorite and worth the trip to Silver Spring because of the moistness of the cupcakes.

There are now six CakeLove locations in the District, Maryland and Virginia. Brown, who left a law career to open his first bakery a decade ago, started tinkering with some of the recipes last year in response to the comments of some customers.

"We stripped down recipes for the Red Velvet, Vanilla and Banana cupcakes so that they are not as dense," Brown explained. "They are light and fluffy, and have a texture that is soft all of the way through."

CakeLove's owner plans to begin selling flavors of the cream cheese icing soon to people who want to use them on baked goods they make at home.

While some people tasted the icing samples, others watched the chefs making macaroni and cheese at the CapMac table. Chef and owner Brian Arnoff launched his food truck business in November of 2010. His concept of unique mac and cheese recipes started with a desire to serve handcrafted food at affordable prices.

"We like to make food that's really soul satisfying and comforting for people," said Arnoff, CapMac's owner. "It's going to bring back a childhood memory for them or make them feel good when they're not feeling 100%, or brighten their day."

CapMac's menu features classic macaroni and cheese made with aged cheddar and topped with a crumble of Cheez-It crackers. The MarcoBolo is ground beef brisket simmered with red wine, tomatoes and fresh herbs. You can also get Chicken Parm, which are meatballs infused with fresh herbs, shallots and parmesan. The offerings served at the Sweet & Cheesy event were a hit with Tom Gagliardo.

"Perfect for a cold day. It's good, tasty. I can't stop eating while you are talking to me," said Gagliardo, a Takoma Park resident.

CapMac's owner has worked in the kitchens of some award-winning chefs. Arnoff prepares menu items with his staff at a commercial kitchen in Silver Spring. That location now makes it possible to offer nearby residents a new option. They can have their favorite CapMac dish delivered for dinner seven days a week.

"I've come to just love CapMac. My favorite is MarcoBolo," said Max Eisenman, a Silver Spring resident. "We're ordering it for dinner tonight."

Eisenman and Alice Massie have traveled to D.C. to catch up with the food truck. "It is actually the best mac and cheese I've ever tasted," said Massie, a CapMac fan.

Chef Victoria Harris is Arnoff's business partner. She runs the food truck that operates mostly in the District. However, they are working on options for making the truck available to Silver Spring residents. The CapMac truck will be in the Giant Foods parking lot March 16 for the Blair Residents Appreciation Week.

CapMac's Classic recipe is featured in the Washington, DC Chef's Table Cookbook. It also includes Brown's Pink Lady Layer Cake.

Check out the websites of CakeLove and CapMac for more information.

Note: This is a bakery and a food truck profile, not a review. Opinions expressed do not represent the ideas of the writer or Patch.

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