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Richmond Nostalgia: Thalhimers Six-Layer Chocolate Cake

Richmond is becoming a foodie paradise. I would bet a great deal of you frequented a food festival this weekend given the Richmond Greek Festival and Broad Appétit were in full swing. But there is one special cake in Richmond’s history that you may not be aware of-it’s the Six-Layer Chocolate Cake and it used to be the belle of the ball at Richmond’s Thalhimers Bakery Shop once upon a time.

Speaking of balls, several years back I was invited to attend The Children’s Hospital Foundation Ball where I received a book titled “Finding Thalhimers” written by Elizabeth Thalhimer Smartt. In hindsight, there was some definite foreshadowing at play given that we are now renovating the old Thalhimers department store on Hull Street. I recently picked up the book hoping to read more about Thalhimers history. It was chock full of information that not only mentioned the Hull Street store as I hoped, but it also talked about the bakery. Their signature baked goods included honey buns, eclairs, lemon chess pies, rainbow cookies, and the one and only six-layer chocolate cake with a caramelized cherry on top. These sweet delights were wrapped up and placed in the iconic Thalhimers black and white checkered box. One look at the box and anyone back in the day would know where it came from. It was their signature look and many remember all too well the fond memories of the shop.

Being one that loves chocolate, I had to find out more about this cake and where I could get one. One search on the internet and I came across Michaela’s Quality Bake Shop. Michael Hatcher is the baker and the owner of the shop. Unbeknownst to me at the time, we briefly exchanged hellos in the parking lot while visiting the shop.

Back in 1975, he was a teen working at Thalhimers Bakery Shop learning all there was to know about baking. When Thalhimers closed, he opened his very own bakery in his old Northside neighborhood. Michael kept baking the six-layer chocolate cake and I can say I’m so happy he did. The cake is simple, yet elegant. It’s the all around perfect cake for any occasion. The pastry paper in the box is also a nod to the old Thalhimers black and white checkered design. But this isn’t the only baked good at Michaela’s. Michael also bakes many more fantastic treats at his shop. Believe me, it was hard to walk away with only the cake. I will be back, and maybe this time around I will get a chance to formally meet Michael.

If you want to taste some true Richmond nostalgia, I recommend heading over to Michaela’s and picking up the Six-Layer Chocolate Cake! You won’t be disappointed!

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