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Diabetics and the eating-disordered got a little more to love and worry about earlier this year when Patti Schmidt expanded her after-dinner overstatement to the Church Street Station concourse. The Dessert Lady's original location on South Kirkman Road had already garnered Schmidt a reputation for over-the-top confections in portions larger than most tummies will allow, but her foray into the downtown renaissance brings the frosted slabs of gluttony closer to Mayor Dyer's shrinking waistline. No doubt she is here to make trouble.

Tucked into the I-4 side of the neverending construction symphony, the Dessert Lady benefits from the general bordello ornamentation associated with the rip-roaring high times of Church Street. Red-and-gold patterned velvet couches line the front of the restaurant, while high-top tables dot the wood-paneled wall opposite the wine bar.

But the real comfort comes from the food. On one visit, both I and my dining partner sampled — from Schmidt's "secret stash," no less — the caramel apple cake ($10), a surreal explosion of near-orgasmic delight that left my companion's brow dotted with sweat and left my own rumored inability to enjoy food for dead.

On another visit, a different friend and I opted for a light lunch — a hearty cup of "loaded potato soup" ($5), and a "Super Chick" sandwich ($8), which was a formidable chicken salad hopped up with cranberries, scallions and bacon — before diving into the inevitable. Schmidt's signature carrot cake ($10) was sweet ecstasy with none of that pesky, healthy carrot taste, accompanied by a clump of Myers rum—soaked raisins. The Chocolate Zuccotto cake was dense, almond-tinged richness with a creamy mousse center, impossible to stop devouring. We were exhausted — and addicted.

You will be, too.

(The Dessert Lady, 120A W. Church St., 407-999-5696;

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