3/24/16 Photo: Melati Citrawireja
Owner Jen Angel helps at customer at Angel Cakes in Oakland. Photo: Melati Citrawireja

Angel Cakes, baker Jen Angel’s brick-and-mortar cupcake shop, opened for business in Oakland on March 23. We dropped in to take a look on her second day of operation, and found the little shop on the corner bustling with eager cupcake buyers. On her first day, she told us, she sold twice as many cupcakes as she thought she would. A happy beginning for her, and for those who wish to stop by at lunchtime or after work to pick up their selection of cupcakes.

Located at the corner of Fifth and Brush Streets, the shop occupies one section of the distinctive building that once housed TJ’s Gingerbread House restaurant, a Cajun and doll house-themed restaurant that operated from 1974 to 2007. After TJ’s closed, the building sat vacant until the kink social club, Mission Control, moved to one section last fall.

As a nod to TJ’s, Angel Cakes is decorated with pink accents throughout. A small painting of the restaurant graces one wall.

Angel Cakes is located at 745 Fifth St. (at Brush Street), Oakland. Photo: Melati Citrawireja

Angel’s specialties are “fun, seasonal flavors,” with an eye toward the unusual. She offers cupcakes for any occasion, with standard favorites like chocolate, vanilla, salted caramel and red velvet always available. Other flavors vary seasonally. Angel enjoys coming up with delicious new variations to keep from getting bored. She will also take requests for made-to-order cupcakes. Mini versions are available for any flavor, except those with fillings, as well as gluten-free and vegan options.

Next time I go, my request will be to try the Old Fashioned, made with bourbon, orange dust and Luxardo cherries. Or maybe the Mudslide (made with Bailey’s, caramel and chocolate). With a wide variety of flavors to choose from, there are only good choices to be made at Angel Cakes.

Cupcakes from Angel Cakes. Photo: Melati Citrawireja

Angel Cakes offers classes for small groups (only four to five people will fit in the space available) who want to venture behind the counter to learn decorating techniques. Cupcake of the Month Club? Yes, Angel Cakes has one, providing seasonal cupcakes every month. The current line-up: dark chocolate bourbon in April, Mexican chocolate with cinnamon and chili in May and strawberry balsamic in June.

Angel has a background in business and marketing and once worked as a book publicist. She says being in the cupcake business, as she has been since 2008, “is by far the most pleasurable job I’ve ever had.” It’s hard not to have that kind of attitude when you are surrounded by the aroma of cupcakes all day while providing festive treats for happy occasions. Once or twice, Angel says, she has filled orders for “apology cupcakes” too. Either way, you can’t go wrong.

Take a look at the newly opened bakery in photos, below:

The counter at Angel Cakes. Photo: Melati Citrawireja
Cupcakes at Angel Cakes. Photo: Melati Citrawireja
Owner Jen Angel of Angel Cakes. Photo: Melati Citrawireja
Behind the scenes at Angel Cakes. Photo: Melati Citrawireja
Vegan, gluten-free mojito cupcakes from Angel Cakes. Photo: Melati Citrawireja
A seating area at Angel Cakes. Photo: Melati Citrawireja
Display stands at the ready at Angel Cakes. Photo: Melati Citrawireja
A cupcake from Angel Cakes. Photo: Melati Citrawireja

Angel Cakes is at 745 5th St. (at Brush Street), Oakland. Open Wednesdays from noon to 6 p.m., Thursdays and Fridays from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturdays 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., or by appointment. (510) 301-4757. Connect with the bakery on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

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Freelancer Risa Nye is a Bay Area native. She was born in San Francisco and grew up in the East Bay. She spent many happy years on the UC Berkeley campus, both as a student and as an employee. She has...