Growing up, Megan Watson ate a lot of great food at home. Her mother cooked delicious meals in the way of Julia Child. But she was also very health-conscious and “not a baker,” says Megan (i.e., not into sugar). The family enjoyed treats like cakes for celebrations only, and for Megan, every slice was its own special occasion.
“It didn’t matter what kind of cake it was, or where it was from,” she says, laughing. “If it was called ‘cake,’ I was going to eat it.”
When Megan married and had her own family, she baked cakes for birthdays and other special occasions. And her cakes were good. Really, really good, says her husband, Rock Watson, who, like his wife, didn’t eat a lot of homemade cake growing up (“because of my circumstances,” he says, he was more of a Little Debbie snacks kind of guy). But when his grandmother did make one, it was bliss.
Now the Watsons share their mutual love of cake with all of Charlottesville via their mobile bakery, Sliced. Cake Bar.
As its name suggests, Sliced. offers cake by the slice, in addition to whole cakes, and cake pops. And, because it’s based around a bar concept, cake flights (like a wine-tasting flight, but with multiple flavors of cake) and buttercream frosting shots are on the menu, too. And the flavors are endless: chocolate cake with chocolate buttercream, strawberry with vanilla, coconut, confetti, lemon, carrot cake…the list goes on.
The Watsons usually set up at the Key’s Corner Indoor City Market and tow their adorable bakery trailer to local vineyards like Grace Estate and King Family. Megan bakes for weddings, baby showers, graduations, retirement parties, and those “just because” orders, too. More than anything, the Watsons love hearing the stories behind why folks chose a certain flavor—and laugh when customers breathe a sigh of relief upon finding out there are no raisins in Sliced.’s carrot cake.
Sliced. began after Megan semi-retired from her social worker job with Region Ten. Word of her baking prowess had gotten around, and she was getting requests for custom cakes. Oftentimes, she’d do it just for the cost of supplies and the knowledge that she’d made someone’s day, but eventually Rock encouraged her to make a business out of it. The couple established Sliced. in summer 2017, and it began to pick up speed after the Watsons participated in the Charlottesville Investment Collaborative’s entrepreneurship workshop.
Like many local small business owners, the pair had big plans for 2020: Park their trailer at more spots and grow their social media presence (the photos of Watson family members in the quippy “Sliced, Sliced Baby” and “Cake Slayer” shirts are aces). They were also set to move the baking operation into a commercial kitchen. After a busy February, they seemed poised for success, but in March, it all screeched to a halt. Markets, wineries, and other spots closed, and Megan, who bakes every item from scratch, didn’t feel safe preparing food for others to eat until she knew more about the COVID-19 virus and how it was spread.
After sorting out safest baking and delivery practices, plus a few other things with the help of the CIC, Sliced. is once again open for curbside pickup as well as contactless delivery orders. It’s reopened not just for business reasons, but to bring a bit of sweetness to the city.
When life feels difficult and uncertain and terrifying, as it does during a global pandemic, it’s important to still “take a moment to think of the things that we’re grateful for, and what we can celebrate,” says Megan. Birthdays, holidays, anniversaries, and other milestones don’t just stop when times are tough, and continuing to mark them as we normally would—perhaps with a cake—can be a great comfort.
“When you’re facing adversity or crisis, finding that silver lining in things—that reason to celebrate, to raise your spirit—raises your hope,” adds Rock. “Hopefully with cake, we can be part of that encouragement. During this time, there’s still reason to celebrate.”