Full Belly Bakery will soon take its decadent desserts and cake jars beyond Oakland Roots games and Berkeley Bowl. Owner Eva Allen will open her bakery’s first permanent space in the Montclair neighborhood of Oakland in fall 2023, after years of local partnerships and custom orders. She says the shop will aim to be a go-to dessert destination, opening in the late morning and staying open into the evening as a place for a glass of Champagne and a slice of cake after dinner. “I’m especially excited,” Allen says. “Now everyone can get familiar with us as we continue growing.”
Allen opened Full Belly Bakery in 2018 when she saw a glut of overly-sweet cakes in the market. She wanted to bring quality, savory cakes, with an eye toward sustainability, to the Bay. As a Black woman living in the East Bay, Allen is no stranger to facing a dearth of financial opportunity. She says she’s been thankful to community partners who made investments in her young business. Damon Johnson from the Oakland Black Business Fund helped Allen secure a small loan, confirmed in January after months of review, that allowed her to open this storefront. “I’m an advocate for small businesses,” Allen says. “Without that loan, it wouldn’t be possible, and it was proving difficult to get through their traditional path.”
Her recipes start the idea to offer twists classic flavors. The bakery offers red velvet and carrot cakes, for example, but Allen opts for inventive riffs like raspberry red velvet and caramel pecan carrot cake instead. In 2022 she decided to collect all her excess cake scraps — think of the cake that gets left in a square sheet pan when a circular cake gets cut — and mold them into an upcycled product. Allen’s bread pudding bites are now one of her secret menu sleeper hits. During the holidays she donates the sweet extra treat; she partners with East Oakland Collective’s Feed the Hood program to allocate the goodies on an ongoing schedule, too. The entrepreneur says she’s looking forward to feeding a new part of the city on a regular basis. “We like to fill bellies,” Allen says. “But we also give back to the community.”
Full Belly Bakery will open in the Montclair neighborhood in fall of 2023.