click to enlarge Real-life superheroes Edwina and Mike Phillips and a caramel apple cake.

Photos courtesy Superhero Dessert

Real-life superheroes Edwina and Mike Phillips and a caramel apple cake.

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

At Superhero Desserts, Buying Sweet Treats Goes Toward Good Deeds

The new Alameda bakery raises funds for homeless outreach, needle cleanup, free self defense classes, and more.

By Katherine Hamilton
Tue, Dec 17, 2019 at 3:32 PM

Supporting a good cause couldn't be any sweeter than at Superhero Desserts. At the newly opened bakery in Alameda, purchases of treats like lemon poppyseed drizzle cake, tres leches cake, and Guinness stout bundt cake go toward important causes like homeless outreach, needle cleanup, and self defense and CPR classes that are free and open to all.

The folks behind Superhero Desserts are married couple Edwina and Mike Phillips, who have been involved in homeless outreach for many years. Edwina said she's been helping others as long as she can remember, following her mom's example. Her mother has since passed away, but Edwina carries on the same spirit of giving.

"She was always putting together baskets or something ... she'd give money without any hope of repayment. ... Ever since I was a kid, that's what she showed us."

Eight years ago, Edwina and Mike founded the San Francisco chapter of The Initiative, a worldwide organization that performs good deeds like outreach, needle cleanups, self-defense classes, and more. In five years, they've cleaned up over 7,000 needles from the streets of San Francisco. They're also members of the Real Life Superhero community in which they don superhero costumes and perform outreach under their superhero names, NightBug and Rock N Roll. Edwina also authored a book under the name Roxanne Cai called A True Origin Story: How to Be a Real-Life Superhero in 12 Steps. Edwina's efforts even have been recognized in People and Vanity Fair.

Up until recently, Edwina and Mike performed all their real-life superhero deeds using funds out of their own pockets. But Edwina also has fostered a lifelong love of baking, thanks to — you guessed it — her mother.

In order to support their outreach efforts, Edwina and Mike started baking and selling desserts under the name Superhero Desserts. The bakery began as a pop-up over a year ago, and their brick-and-mortar shop opened about a month ago, sandwiched between Calafia Taqueria and The Fireside Lounge.

At the bakery, Edwina and Mike sell a variety of desserts, including a selection of core favorites that are available year-round as well as some seasonal treats. Some desserts, like the orange cranberry bundt cake and the caramel apple cake, are made using Edwina's mother's recipes. Others, like the lemon poppyseed drizzle cake, are inspired by Edwina's love for The Great British Baking Show. Guinness stout bundt cake (the bakery's best-seller) and tres leches cake are available year-round. Fall features lots of pumpkin treats, while winter offers flavors like peppermint and gingerbread; this summer, they plan to serve orange creamsicle cake. They also strive to offer desserts that accommodate a variety of diets, such as a vegan dark chocolate zucchini cake, vegan and gluten-free Rice Krispy bars, and even keto-friendly options.

Along with beautiful baked goods, Superhero Desserts is also bringing the neighborhood plenty of opportunities to get involved. At the most recent Second Sunday Homeless Outreach event, over 40 people of all ages showed up to make 250 burritos, which were delivered to homeless camps in Oakland. The next event is on Jan. 12. Anyone is also welcome to attend the free monthly self-defense classes held at Tapout Fitness across the street. For more information on Superhero Desserts' upcoming events, follow the couple on Facebook or Instagram @superherodesserts, or visit SuperHeroDesserts.com. The Initiative is also always looking for new volunteers; the time commitment is as low as three hours a month. For more information, visit InitiativeCollective.com.

Interested in supporting Superhero Desserts? The bakery is at 1449 Webster St. in Alameda. Hours are Thu. 1-9 p.m., Fri. and Sat. 1-10 p.m., and Sun. 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Desserts are also available for pre-order. The bakery also is collecting donations via GoFundMe to offset the costs of equipment, with a goal of raising $7,380.

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