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This morning, I found myself doing what I often do: wandering the streets. It’s an occupational hazard, which can lead to some foul-tasting encounters. But today I ran across a place that I had somehow missed for years —- the Woodmoor Pastry Shop, which has only been around Silver Spring for, oh, 50 years.

The bakery has a modest store front off Colesville Road and an even more modest interior —- little more than a few glass display cases, a cash register, and some old faded Redskins pennants on the wall. You are literally surrounded by sweets on all sides, except for your escape route through the front door. There are cakes, cupcakes, cookies, tarts, breads, sticky buns, pizza breads, and a ton of other things I can’t now remember. I swear to God that they all looked great (well, save for the breads, which looked rather anemic, even from a distance.)

I was particularly struck by the coffee cakes. These weren’t some square cakes topped with an asphalt-like layer of sugar-heavy streusel. No, these were free-form masses, as gorgeous and confounding as abstract art, and I couldn’t stop staring at them. The streusel was buttery yellow and scattered discretely around the cake, which itself was drizzled with ivory streaks of frosting. The thing looked more like a giant danish than a coffee cake.

I knew I had to have one. I wasn’t sure, though, if I’d eat it or shellac it and turn it into a piece of sculpture.

I opted for the former. I bought a raspberry coffee cake and brought the sucker to work so that the vultures could pick it apart. I was quite smitten with Woodmoor’s offering. It was perhaps too sweet, and there wasn’t enough raspberry filling to balance the sugar, but I still devoured that spongy cake. The streusel was what put the thing over the top for me; it not only provided some buttery richness, but also gave the cake a small element of crunch.

I got to try the others now.