Sugar might be the latest dietary villain, but we’re not the only ones barracking for the bad guy in Spotswood’s sleepy neighbourhood shopping strip. Candied Bakery’s siren song pulls serious crowds to this Aussie bakery with an American twist. Marshmallow choc chip cookies, hot dogs and shakes are a salute to the red, white and blue; lamingtons and sausage rolls may as well be wearing a Southern Cross tattoo they’re so flamin’ Australian; and the croissants, and fresh pancetta and provolone-stuffed panini, are a gap year in Europe for your lunch hour.
Candied’s tasty version of the Philly cheesesteak roll consists of a pillow-soft long white roll (baked in-house), buttered and loaded with glistening caramelised onions, thin strips of hot, grilled beef and a handsome cap of molten cheese – it’s a worthy homage to Philadelphia's beloved street food. Considerably daintier, a slice of savoury tart that flirts with the salty-sweet divide sports fluffy pumpkin cubes, slices of tomato and dabs of goats cheese suspended in a creamy egg centre.
Save valuable belly space for the sugar course. Candied Bakery whip up their own soft serve from St David’s dairy products (a micro dairy in Fitzroy), and we clocked many a triumphant customer trotting out with a $5 matcha or vanilla cone in hand. Next time you visit it might be buttermilk caramel and banana or peaches and cream. A slice of apple pie with a properly short pastry is as big as a New York pizza, bulging with cinnamon-spiked stewed apples and crowned with a buttery crumble topping. If you love a classic lamington the bars of soft, chocolate-covered sponge here measure up, but the hyper-red, strawberry jam centre may be too sweet for some.
The bare bones of a high-street bakery – concrete floors, brick walls and communal table – get a personality injection via a neon-yellow sign and stools, and floury aprons have been traded in for hot dog print hoodies and t-shirts (for sale, if you fancy). It’s a somewhat incongruous, but welcome, addition to this sleepy strip.
For five glorious, carb-laden years, Candied Bakery has maintained perfect form while juggling the desires of purists stopping in for a classic beef pie in a shiny puff pastry shell and a latte (from Proud Mary roasters), with those chasing their next big sugar rush from vanilla slice doughnuts and apple pie shakes (the apple pie is blended straight in).