Jennifer Angel, Owner, Angel Cakes, Oakland, CA

There’s a real gingerbread house in Oakland where you can indulge your sweet tooth with custom cakes in quirky flavors and fairytale-worthy cupcakes.

Jennifer Angel founded Angel Cakes as a commercial bakery in 2008 and opened a retail storefront two years ago in the Oakland landmark known as the Gingerbread House.

Angel Cakes avoids having a set menu in the spirit of encouraging its customers to try offbeat flavor combinations like grapefruit miso. For the undecided, its menu of options ranges from chocolate and vanilla to Turkish coffee (made with cardamom and mint), coconut pomegranate and rose pistachio.

The Perfect Purée helps Jen customize her buttercream frostings with tropical flavors such as The Perfect Purée Pink Guava Puree and Passion Fruit Concentrate. To make a fruit-flavored frosting, she substitutes water for an equal measure of thawed purée.

“At Angel Cakes, we often use an American Buttercream, also called decorators buttercream, to top our cupcakes and cakes because it is easy to color and flavor, and holds its shape well,” she explains.

Jen learned practically everything she knows from her mother, not the least of which is a love of good food. For Jen, desserts are a creative outlet because although taste is of the utmost importance, design is a close second.

When Angel Cakes was a Cajun restaurant and tea room named T.J.’s Gingerbread House, it was painted bright pink and covered with hearts and smiling gingerbread men. Now stained a shade of brown that resembles gingerbread, with yellow trim, the Gingerbread House still has some of its old architectural embellishments and a freshly-painted bright pink interior.

Angel Cakes uses local and regional products as much as possible for deliveries to Bay-Area corporations and nonprofits such as Tiny Prints, Pixar, Mother Jones, Clif Bar and

Modelled after popular Community Supported Agriculture programs, Angel Cakes’ “Community Supported Cupcakes” delivers a box of seasonally-inspired gourmet cupcakes to customers’ doors every month.