Wednesday, September 20, 2023
Cakes, cookies, cupcakes, blondies, cake pops, shortbread and brownies – Liberty Baking Co. in Fairfax City does them all. And the women responsible for these tasty treats are chef and owner Alison Friedman and sous chef Kim Schaeffer.
Both are classically trained pastry chefs who create natural, preservative-free baked goods made from premium ingredients such as high-fat European butter, sour cream, cream cheese and Dutch-processed cocoa. It’s no wonder then that their artisanal bakery opened to rave reviews.
“I love their chocolate chip cookies with the [Maldon] salt on top,” said customer Kelly Sharolli. “And I really like their chocolate pound cake cupcake with cream-cheese/marshmallow frosting and mini chocolate chips. I’d absolutely recommend Liberty to others because everything’s so good. And the shop has really cute décor, too.”
Liberty Baking Co. is at 10782 Fairfax Blvd., in the same shopping center as 99 Ranch market, but close to the road in a green-trimmed storefront that says, “Cake Shop.” And it shares the space with two other small businesses, Bisnonna Bake Shop and Jisoo Cake Design.
It works well because people mainly order online via https://libertybaking.com/. Liberty is open for pickup Tuesday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. And on various weekends, it holds pop-ups that are so popular that customers happily line up outside to purchase whatever Liberty and Bisnonna are offering that day.
During the recent ribbon cutting, Schaeffer told attendees, “This is a big deal. Alison has been waiting six years for this day. We started our bakery in her Fairfax City kitchen and opened elsewhere, but now we’re home. The love you’ve brought here today is incredible, and we can’t wait to feed you.”
“I met Alison knocking on her door when I was campaigning for mayor and she was thinking of moving her bakery from Herndon to Fairfax,” said Fairfax Mayor Catherine Read. “And then, when she actually came here to open her business, it was a journey. We reconnected over the adventure of opening a business in Fairfax City, and this is really a culmination of resilience, grit, determination and persistence – which every business owner needs.”
“We’re thrilled to have a small business like this in the City,” added Revenue Commissioner Page Johnson. “They’re the backbone of our City economy. This is a niche business that’s exactly what we should focus on – and their chocolate-chip cookies are wonderful.”
Friedman and Schaeffer both went to The Art Institutes of Washington for its culinary arts program – but 10 years apart. “Alison was an instructor there, but wasn’t my teacher,” said Schaeffer. “We met in our neighborhood in Fairfax City.” Both are also local high-school graduates – Friedman from Robinson Secondary School and Schaeffer from Fairfax High – so they have deep roots in the community and are thrilled to have their bakery in the City.
The pair specializes in beautifully designed cakes with a Southern flair. And although they have their own cake menu, they’ll make whatever flavors their customers desire. For example, said Schaeffer, “A bride asked us to make her favorite cake – her grandmother’s blueberry-spice cake – and it turned out delicious and she loved it.”
Liberty will also cater a dessert bar for any celebration, including weddings, graduations, birthdays and anniversaries. “We like about a week’s advance notice for a cake, or six months for a wedding,” said Friedman.
Cakes come in flavors such as hummingbird (made with cinnamon, pineapple, bananas and pecans), red velvet and Funfetti, plus pound-cake flavors such as maple, coconut, strawberry, lemon, ube (purple sweet potato) and almond. The wide variety of fillings includes Swiss buttercreams in flavors of brown sugar cinnamon, salted caramel, raspberry, Key lime and espresso bourbon.
“Alison also does great floral designs on cakes with fresh flowers from her garden,” said Schaeffer. “And we use her edible flowers on our blooming shortbread cookies, too.”
Most satisfying, she said, is “Seeing a bride’s excited reaction to the wedding cake we made for her and hearing her say, ‘OMG, that’s the cake I wanted!’ We get to see her dream come true.”
All in all, said Schaeffer, “We care a lot about the quality of our food. That comes first, and then the design – which just happens to be really good as well. We both love making people happy with food – it’s our love language.”
For more about the bakery and its offerings, or to place an order, go to https://libertybaking.com/.