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Cakes from Black Jet Baking Co. Black Jet Baking Co.

16 Iconic Cakes in San Francisco

Let them eat cake, from old-fashioned faves to elaborate layers

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San Francisco has strong bakeries slinging sourdough and folding croissants, but it isn’t a party without cake. Whether you’re putting in an order for a special occasion or just vicariously ordering dessert on a Tuesday night, the city’s best cakes come from both bakeries and restaurants, crafted by acclaimed pastry chefs and cute neighborhood shops alike. From elaborately layered opera and princess cakes to Italian custard, Mission-style tres leches to Japanese cheesecake, there’s something to suit every sweet tooth. Plus, birthday party emergency resources, if you just need a set of cupcakes with American buttercream, like grandma always made them.

From old-fashioned faves to elaborate layers, here are the sweetest cakes in San Francisco, ordered geographically.

As of publication time, some of these restaurants offer seated indoor and outdoor dining. However, their inclusion should not be taken as endorsement for sit-down dining, as there are still safety concerns. Studies indicate that COVID-19 infection rates are lower for outside activities than dining indoors, but the level of risk involved with even outdoor dining is contingent on restaurants and their patrons following strict social distancing, face covering, and other safety guidelines.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Stella Pastry & Cafe

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446 Columbus Ave
San Francisco, CA 94133
(415) 986-2914
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Stella’s is an old standby in North Beach, serving Italian-American pastries like cannoli, tiramisu, and danishes to the neighborhood since 1942. The sacripantina cake has been on the menu for more than 40 years, and the owners say it’s perfect for weddings, baptisms, and communions. It’s vanilla sponge and zabaione shaped into a dome, and the rum sings through. 

Sacripantina cake at Stella Pastry Stella Pastry & Cafe

2. b. patisserie

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2821 California St
San Francisco, CA 94115
(415) 440-1700
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Award-winning pastry chef Belinda Leong has a fine dining pedigree, and her elegant tea salon serves an array of carefully constructed pastries. The seasonal cake slices feature many layers, stacking chocolate, almond, and caramel, or matcha and tiramisu, for example.

3. Yasukochi's Sweet Stop

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1790 Sutter St
San Francisco, CA 94115
(415) 931-8165
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Only in Japantown can you find a bakery tucked inside a grocery store serving one of the best cakes in the city. Tom Yasukochi has been serving the coffee crunch cake since 1974. It isn’t Japanese at all, but inspired by a cake from a local soda shop. It’s a sad story, but with a sweet ending: During WWII, the Yasukochis were sent away to a Japanese internment camp, but returned after the war. Tom graduated from Lowell High School in 1955 and eventually mastered his favorite childhood treat.

Coffee crunch cake at Yasukochi’s Sweet Stop Yasukochi’s Sweet Stop

4. ONE65 San Francisco

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165 O'Farrell St
San Francisco, CA 94102
(415) 814-8888
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One65 is an ambitious, multi-leveled emporium all dedicated to French food. The patisserie is on the first floor, and there are many colorful macarons, cannelés, and cream puffs. Chef Yannick Dumonceau came from Quince, and he’s making a striking Imperial cake, shaped into a ring, with a crispy praline base, filled with chocolate mousse.

Imperial cake at ONE65 San Francisco ONE65 San Francisco

5. Schubert's Bakery

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521 Clement St
San Francisco, CA 94118
(415) 752-1580
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Schubert’s has inhabited the Richmond for a century, serving old world European cakes for at least half that long. The stunner is the princess cake, and it’s SF royalty. Fluffy white layers alternate with custard, jam, and whipped cream, all regally draped in marzipan.

Princess cake at Schubert’s Caleb Pershan

6. Miette Patisserie

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449 Octavia St
San Francisco, CA 94102
(415) 626-6221
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Miette has reopened its sweet shops both in Hayes Valley and in the Ferry Building, although items may be limited, so it might be worth placing a preorder. Miette makes some of the prettiest cakes in town, perfectly smooth, in pastel colors, with a single rose or cherry nestled on top. The tomboys are the top sellers, with dark chocolate layers, and luscious Italian buttercream.

Tomboy cake at Miette Miette

7. 20th Century Cafe

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198 Gough St
San Francisco, CA 94102
(415) 621-2380
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Note: The cafe will be “winding” down over the next couple months before it closes permanently. The honey cake may make appearances at pop-ups in the future, so stay tuned.

Michelle Polzine of 20th Century Cafe was inspired by the grand cafe tradition in Vienna, Budapest, and Prague. The ladies behind the counter wear full skirts, and coffee and cake arrive on vintage china. Malty and sweet, stacked 10 to 12 layers high, the honey cake has earned a certain reputation. 

Honey cake at 20th Century Cafe 20th Century Cafe

8. Hahdough

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1221 Fell St
San Francisco, CA 94117
(415) 590-2051
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The only dedicated German bakery in San Francisco puts out a handsome array of traditional cakes. Chef and owner Ha Do is originally from Vietnam, and grew up in Germany, and missed the konditorei tradition of a coffee and not-too-sweet slice of cake in the afternoon. She stacks up Black Forest cake with chocolate and cherries, Herrentorte “gentleman’s cake” with marzipan and brandy, and Bienenstich “bee sting cake” with a thick layer of cream and a crunch of honeyed almonds.

Patricia Chang

9. Stonemill Matcha

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561 Valencia St
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 796-3876
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Stonemill Matcha pours many varieties of green tea, so it only makes sense to accompany them with an array of Japanese treats. Mikiko Yui’s soufflé cheesecake is light, airy, and never too sweet.

Soufflé cheesecake at Stonemill Matcha Stonemill Matcha

10. The Morris

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Read Review |
2501 Mariposa St
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 612-8480
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One of the most hyped cake trends to come out of the pandemic is Basuku Cheesecake, serving a Japanese take on a Basque cheesecake, with a deeply burnished top and ultra creamy center. It’s a small operation and those cheesecakes sell out fast, but the deal is that they’re dropping off at Nightbird, Commis, Vino Enoteca, and the Morris on various days. It’s competitive. There’s an Instagram post with ordering instructions. Good luck, and may the cheesecake odds be in your favor. 

11. Le Dix-Sept Pâtisserie

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3376 18th St
San Francisco, CA 94110

Le Dix-Sept opened its first storefront in the Mission with a beautiful array of botanically inspired pastries. In addition to technical French treats like canelés and nougat, pastry chef Michelle Hernandez is a buttercream artist, crafting cakes in lavender and rose hues, with leaves and petals climbing up the sides. Whole cakes are still available for custom orders, and the petite cakes might be just the right size for smaller servings.

Cake from Le Dix-Sept Patisserie Le Dix-Sept Patisserie

12. Tartine Bakery

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600 Guerrero St
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 487-2600
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The award-winning local bakery is known for its sourdough and croissants, but the cakes are also pastry perfection. The chocolate soufflé, filled with several layers of mousse, is a true indulgence and longtime fan favorite.

Chocolate soufflé cake at Tartine Gentl + Hyers

13. Butter&

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615 22nd St
San Francisco, CA 94107
Text: 415-805-1371
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Just vaccinated? There’s a cake for that, at SF cake shop Butter&, where pithy sayings inscribed upon cakes abound. Gorgeous stacks of light brown sugar cake are stacked with your choice of flavors like brown butter and Meyer lemon, and sweet cream and berries. Options also include fully frosted cakes with designs like marble, ombre colors, and dinos. Delivery or pickup in the Dogpatch are both available.

14. Noe Valley Bakery

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4073 24th St
San Francisco, CA 94114
(415) 550-1405
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Noe Valley’s resident bakery has been serving the small children of 24th Street for more than 20 years, doing a steady business in mini cupcakes. The custom cakes are from scratch and reasonably priced, and the red velvet has a tender buttermilk crumb and tangy cream cheese frosting.

Red velvet cake at Noe Valley Bakery Noe Valley Bakery

15. Dianda's Italian American Pastry

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2883 Mission St
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 647-5469
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Dianda’s is an Italian-American bakery in the heart of the Mission dating back to 1962. It’s an SF institution, the city’s last remaining unionized bakery, and an ideal place to get a sheet cake for a party. While it started out with purely Italian baked goods, after owners added tres leches to the menu, it became their bestseller. Of all the flavors, mango and strawberry are the most popular.

Chef’s holding sheet cake at Dianda’s Dianda’s Italian American Pastry

16. Black Jet Baking Co.

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833 Cortland Ave
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 829-3905
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Bernal Heights got lucky when Gillian Shaw set up shop in the neighborhood, filling her pastry case with old-fashioned treats. The double chocolate cake has dark devil’s food layers, a rich cream cheese frosting, naked sides, and liberal sprinkles.

Cakes at Black Jet Baking Co. Black Jet Baking Co.

1. Stella Pastry & Cafe

446 Columbus Ave, San Francisco, CA 94133
Sacripantina cake at Stella Pastry Stella Pastry & Cafe

Stella’s is an old standby in North Beach, serving Italian-American pastries like cannoli, tiramisu, and danishes to the neighborhood since 1942. The sacripantina cake has been on the menu for more than 40 years, and the owners say it’s perfect for weddings, baptisms, and communions. It’s vanilla sponge and zabaione shaped into a dome, and the rum sings through. 

446 Columbus Ave
San Francisco, CA 94133

2. b. patisserie

2821 California St, San Francisco, CA 94115

Award-winning pastry chef Belinda Leong has a fine dining pedigree, and her elegant tea salon serves an array of carefully constructed pastries. The seasonal cake slices feature many layers, stacking chocolate, almond, and caramel, or matcha and tiramisu, for example.

2821 California St
San Francisco, CA 94115

3. Yasukochi's Sweet Stop

1790 Sutter St, San Francisco, CA 94115
Coffee crunch cake at Yasukochi’s Sweet Stop Yasukochi’s Sweet Stop

Only in Japantown can you find a bakery tucked inside a grocery store serving one of the best cakes in the city. Tom Yasukochi has been serving the coffee crunch cake since 1974. It isn’t Japanese at all, but inspired by a cake from a local soda shop. It’s a sad story, but with a sweet ending: During WWII, the Yasukochis were sent away to a Japanese internment camp, but returned after the war. Tom graduated from Lowell High School in 1955 and eventually mastered his favorite childhood treat.

1790 Sutter St
San Francisco, CA 94115

4. ONE65 San Francisco

165 O'Farrell St, San Francisco, CA 94102
Imperial cake at ONE65 San Francisco ONE65 San Francisco

One65 is an ambitious, multi-leveled emporium all dedicated to French food. The patisserie is on the first floor, and there are many colorful macarons, cannelés, and cream puffs. Chef Yannick Dumonceau came from Quince, and he’s making a striking Imperial cake, shaped into a ring, with a crispy praline base, filled with chocolate mousse.

165 O'Farrell St
San Francisco, CA 94102

5. Schubert's Bakery

521 Clement St, San Francisco, CA 94118
Princess cake at Schubert’s Caleb Pershan

Schubert’s has inhabited the Richmond for a century, serving old world European cakes for at least half that long. The stunner is the princess cake, and it’s SF royalty. Fluffy white layers alternate with custard, jam, and whipped cream, all regally draped in marzipan.

521 Clement St
San Francisco, CA 94118

6. Miette Patisserie

449 Octavia St, San Francisco, CA 94102
Tomboy cake at Miette Miette

Miette has reopened its sweet shops both in Hayes Valley and in the Ferry Building, although items may be limited, so it might be worth placing a preorder. Miette makes some of the prettiest cakes in town, perfectly smooth, in pastel colors, with a single rose or cherry nestled on top. The tomboys are the top sellers, with dark chocolate layers, and luscious Italian buttercream.

449 Octavia St
San Francisco, CA 94102

7. 20th Century Cafe

198 Gough St, San Francisco, CA 94102
Honey cake at 20th Century Cafe 20th Century Cafe

Note: The cafe will be “winding” down over the next couple months before it closes permanently. The honey cake may make appearances at pop-ups in the future, so stay tuned.

Michelle Polzine of 20th Century Cafe was inspired by the grand cafe tradition in Vienna, Budapest, and Prague. The ladies behind the counter wear full skirts, and coffee and cake arrive on vintage china. Malty and sweet, stacked 10 to 12 layers high, the honey cake has earned a certain reputation. 

198 Gough St
San Francisco, CA 94102

8. Hahdough

1221 Fell St, San Francisco, CA 94117
Patricia Chang

The only dedicated German bakery in San Francisco puts out a handsome array of traditional cakes. Chef and owner Ha Do is originally from Vietnam, and grew up in Germany, and missed the konditorei tradition of a coffee and not-too-sweet slice of cake in the afternoon. She stacks up Black Forest cake with chocolate and cherries, Herrentorte “gentleman’s cake” with marzipan and brandy, and Bienenstich “bee sting cake” with a thick layer of cream and a crunch of honeyed almonds.

1221 Fell St
San Francisco, CA 94117

9. Stonemill Matcha

561 Valencia St, San Francisco, CA 94110
Soufflé cheesecake at Stonemill Matcha Stonemill Matcha

Stonemill Matcha pours many varieties of green tea, so it only makes sense to accompany them with an array of Japanese treats. Mikiko Yui’s soufflé cheesecake is light, airy, and never too sweet.

561 Valencia St
San Francisco, CA 94110

10. The Morris

2501 Mariposa St, San Francisco, CA 94110
Read Review |

One of the most hyped cake trends to come out of the pandemic is Basuku Cheesecake, serving a Japanese take on a Basque cheesecake, with a deeply burnished top and ultra creamy center. It’s a small operation and those cheesecakes sell out fast, but the deal is that they’re dropping off at Nightbird, Commis, Vino Enoteca, and the Morris on various days. It’s competitive. There’s an Instagram post with ordering instructions. Good luck, and may the cheesecake odds be in your favor. 

2501 Mariposa St
San Francisco, CA 94110

11. Le Dix-Sept Pâtisserie

3376 18th St, San Francisco, CA 94110
Cake from Le Dix-Sept Patisserie Le Dix-Sept Patisserie

Le Dix-Sept opened its first storefront in the Mission with a beautiful array of botanically inspired pastries. In addition to technical French treats like canelés and nougat, pastry chef Michelle Hernandez is a buttercream artist, crafting cakes in lavender and rose hues, with leaves and petals climbing up the sides. Whole cakes are still available for custom orders, and the petite cakes might be just the right size for smaller servings.

3376 18th St
San Francisco, CA 94110

12. Tartine Bakery

600 Guerrero St, San Francisco, CA 94110
Chocolate soufflé cake at Tartine Gentl + Hyers

The award-winning local bakery is known for its sourdough and croissants, but the cakes are also pastry perfection. The chocolate soufflé, filled with several layers of mousse, is a true indulgence and longtime fan favorite.

600 Guerrero St
San Francisco, CA 94110

13. Butter&

615 22nd St, San Francisco, CA 94107

Just vaccinated? There’s a cake for that, at SF cake shop Butter&, where pithy sayings inscribed upon cakes abound. Gorgeous stacks of light brown sugar cake are stacked with your choice of flavors like brown butter and Meyer lemon, and sweet cream and berries. Options also include fully frosted cakes with designs like marble, ombre colors, and dinos. Delivery or pickup in the Dogpatch are both available.

615 22nd St
San Francisco, CA 94107

14. Noe Valley Bakery

4073 24th St, San Francisco, CA 94114
Red velvet cake at Noe Valley Bakery Noe Valley Bakery

Noe Valley’s resident bakery has been serving the small children of 24th Street for more than 20 years, doing a steady business in mini cupcakes. The custom cakes are from scratch and reasonably priced, and the red velvet has a tender buttermilk crumb and tangy cream cheese frosting.

4073 24th St
San Francisco, CA 94114

15. Dianda's Italian American Pastry

2883 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110
Chef’s holding sheet cake at Dianda’s Dianda’s Italian American Pastry

Dianda’s is an Italian-American bakery in the heart of the Mission dating back to 1962. It’s an SF institution, the city’s last remaining unionized bakery, and an ideal place to get a sheet cake for a party. While it started out with purely Italian baked goods, after owners added tres leches to the menu, it became their bestseller. Of all the flavors, mango and strawberry are the most popular.

2883 Mission St
San Francisco, CA 94110

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16. Black Jet Baking Co.

833 Cortland Ave, San Francisco, CA 94110
Cakes at Black Jet Baking Co. Black Jet Baking Co.

Bernal Heights got lucky when Gillian Shaw set up shop in the neighborhood, filling her pastry case with old-fashioned treats. The double chocolate cake has dark devil’s food layers, a rich cream cheese frosting, naked sides, and liberal sprinkles.

833 Cortland Ave
San Francisco, CA 94110

Related Maps