A new shop named Art of Confections opened for business last week on N. 45th Street, ready to serve up specialty cakes and sweets.
Run by Shila Jansen, the store features several seating areas, an espresso bar, and of course the main show: row upon row of desserts. Several cakes, ranging from chocolate raspberry to lemon to carrot make their rounds in a revolving display case by the door. Cupcakes, fruit tarts, and a variety of chocolate-covered items sit ready to be devoured in a nearby vitrine.
Though folks are welcome to pop in for a quick bite, Jansen envisions creating a space where people can come and hang out. Specialty coffee, custom espressos, and exotic teas invite customers to pull up a chair and stay awhile. Live cake decorating by local artists as well as live music are all in the plan, underscoring a commitment Jansen has to keeping the arts alive in the neighborhood.
The store replaces the former aptly named Erotic Bakery, which closed last fall after nearly 30 years in business. Jansen says the shadow of the long-time erotica-peddling pastry shop still looms large. “People walk in and ask ‘Do you still do XXX?’ ”, said Jansen, who admits she will make an adult-themed confection if ordered.
“I just laugh about it, what are you going to do?”, she said.
CW from top: Shila Jansen puts the finishing touches on a pan of chocolate-covered strawberries at her shop, Art of Confections, on March 18, 2015. / A finished tuxedo-themed strawberry is ready for consumption. / A slice of rainbow cake looks–and tastes–delicious. Photos by author.
While the previous tenant focused on unmentionables, Jansen offers a decidedly wider variety of themes. A picture book on the countertop showcases cakes ranging from sugary reproductions of the family dog to the infamous leg lamp from A Christmas Story, classic wedding cakes to Maurice Sendak themed wonder worlds.
Jansen got her start in the confectionery business at age seven, she says, when her mother gave her a how-to book. She has since worked for a variety of bakeries before settling on striking out on her own.
“I’ve always dreamed of having my own store,” she said, adding that she isn’t sure she’d want to do it anywhere else. “I absolutely love this neighborhood and its vibe,” she said.
Hours for the shop are currently 10am to 6pm, Tuesday through Saturday. Jansen anticipates celebrating a hard open for the store in a few months’ time, along with an expansion of hours.
The shop becomes the latest specialty baker in an already crowded scene, joining Hiroki, Setsuko Pastry, and the Sweet Side in addition to the QFC in-house bakery.