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Cupcake shop moves into Golden Gate district

on July 21, 2011

James and the Giant Cupcake owner Eurydice Manning outside her shop.

The best-selling cupcake at the recently-opened James and the Giant Cupcake is called “Sea Salt Caramel.” It’s a chocolate cupcake with vanilla butter cream that is swirled on at the time it’s ordered, along with homemade caramel and a dash of salt. “You know the red velvet cult? People are obsessed with that cupcake,” said shop owner Eurydice Manning. “It feels good to dominate red velvet, you know? It feels good to be like, yeah, it’s not the only hot cupcake on the market.”

James and the Giant Cupcake opened last week, near the corner of San Pablo and Alcatraz. Manning had to shut the store down for a two hours the third day the shop was open because they were sold out (including their red velvet selection), as Manning frantically baked more.

“We sold out at 1:45,” Manning said. “This woman came from El Cerrito, she was totally bummed. Someone walked a mile up, and you could just tell she was cursing. But she came back.”

James and the Giant Cupcake has been in business for about a year, but at first only for catering orders and deliveries, primarily to downtown Oakland businesses. The new storefront shop has a cupcake selection displayed on wood counters on one side, and glittery green and blue round tables on the other. The selection is all cupcakes, including the “Peppermint Patty” (a chocolate cupcake topped with mint buttercream frosting and a chocolate mint) and the “Smurf” (a blueberry cupcake topped with cream cheese frosting and blue sprinkles).

This week, Manning introduced a vegan sweet potato pie cupcake, and this weekend the store will have “breakfast” cupcakes, with flavors like French toast,  maple bacon and cinnamon bun.

Manning is excited to have a storefront shop, especially in the Golden Gate district. Manning said she knows the history of the building—it was previously a soul food restaurant and a record store in the 1960s, she said. “I’m familiar with the neighborhood, seeing it evolve,” she said. “The people that have lived [in the Golden Gate district] a while, they feel comforted that I grew up here. It’s not like we’re coming in here doing our own thing and we’re not connected.”

Manning said she’d like the shop to become a hangout destination, and has been toying with new ideas for the shop, like a Saturday morning kids story time and magic shows. “Of course, gosh, I should slow down, because I’m like, ‘We should have magic shows on Sundays,’” she said. “No one goes to magic shows anymore, and everyone loves magic. I do—and I don’t know, when was the last time I saw a magician? I’m not letting this idea go.”

Go here for more information on James and the Giant Cupcake.




  1. […] Oakland Local recently published this article admonishing the term and a well-intentioned community organization called Phat Beets has further stoked these flames by implying that this neighborhood nickname is a subversive form of racism by comparing the boundaries of NOBE to a that of an imposed gang injunction. “The NOBE folks are branding the neighborhood geographically based on who’s now being criminalized there and who isn’t allowed into that neighborhood,” according to collective member Josh Cadji. Phat Beets goes on to declare “Obviously they’re not including black-owned businesses and really, they’re not including restaurants owned by black folks.” Phat Beets produced their own subtitled version of the video drawing attention to their plight. Curiously, the segment with James and the Giant Cupcake proprietor Eurydice Manning was omitted. […]

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