Cupcakin’ Bake Shop, a local artisanal bakery with locations in Berkeley and Oakland, opened a shop on 1690 Shattuck Ave. on Feb. 13.
Owner Lila Owens said she decided to open the location on the Saturday before Valentine’s Day because it is typically the busiest day of the year. The bakery sits at the same location as the former Virginia Bakery, which was open for more than 50 years.
Owens added that she was initially concerned about the challenges that would come with opening a bakery amid the pandemic, but it ultimately went smoothly.
“Socially distancing actually made the line and the customer service more manageable,” Owens said. “It didn’t have this frenzy of people … but we did have a line from opening and closing outside of our door.”
People were “super supportive” of her business coming in because Virginia Bakery was such a staple for the local community, according to Owens. After Virginia Bakery closed its doors, residents hoped to see another bakery take over the same spot, she added.
The Shattuck location is larger than her other bakeries and includes parking and dining spaces for customers. The neighborhood is also more “community-based” than her other locations, Owens said.
Owens added that she decided to open two locations in Berkeley because she knew UC Berkeley would be a key customer base.
“I also have always had an affinity for Berkeley, and to how unique, liberal and free-spirited the community tends to be,” Owens said. “It resonates with my personality.”
The top two cake flavors for the past few years have been red velvet and key lime pie, according to Owens. Other popular flavors include bourbon passion fruit, double chocolate, funfetti and salted caramel.
Customer Jason Fong also noted the quality of the cupcakes the bakery serves and said he liked the vanilla salted caramel, carrot cake and key lime pie cupcakes the best.
“I ate my cupcakes over the next four days and they held up beautifully after refrigeration and that’s not always the case which goes to show the quality of the ingredients they put into their cupcakes at Cupcakin’ Bake Shop,” Fong said in an email.
Owens emphasized that her bakery strives to be a welcoming environment for the community.
She added that each cake is baked from scratch every day.
“We put a lot of love into our products,” Owens said. “We’re a fun and collaborative light-hearted environment. We consider ourselves to be a part of the community and love to be an extension of their life celebrations.”
According to its website, Cupcakin’ Bake Shop is open every day from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.