BY CHRISTINE BARBOUR
Angel B’s Galleria of Cakes is like a little bit of Paris, set gently down in southern Indiana.
With tall cases filled with exquisitely decorated cakes, beribboned and gold-flecked and lavishly iced, the bakery would be at home on any street in the City of Light. Croissants and jewel-toned tarts and other bite-sized morsels of extravagant sweetness keep up the European illusion—only the trays of brightly colored, gaily decorated cupcakes remind you that you are still on good Midwest soil.
If you find your way to Angel B’s in the morning, around 7:30, the coffee is hot and the chocolate croissants are still warm—layers of buttery puff pastry filled with melty chocolate ganache. Plain and almond croissants are always on the menu, too, but there is a monthly breakfast schedule of rotating scones, tarts, and Danishes to help you start your day on a sugar high.
But as much as they love to make pastries, the folks who run Angel B’s are mostly about the cakes. Chef Mark Brethauer and his cake decorator wife Loretta (the “Angel” of the operation) turn out hundreds of cakes a week—custom specialty cakes that usually require 24 hours notice, though they can often have a cake that is ordered in the morning ready by afternoon if no elaborate decoration is required. Luscious ready-to-go cakes are available as well.
It’s hard to come away from the cake displays empty-handed. A recent visit scored a “Clouds in my Coffee” cake, rich with mocha; a light and fluffy chocolate mousse cake; and a “Lemon Silk” cake, layered with lemon curd and covered with white chocolate curls. All three were drop-dead gorgeous, all were drop-dead delicious.
The Brethauers came to Bloomington, where Loretta’s family lives, from Mark’s hometown of Saginaw, Michigan. They’d had a European-style pastry shop there but found Saginaw to be more of a “donut town,” says Mark, so they came to Bloomington, hoping the diversity of the population would give them a chance to do the more sophisticated pastry work they love.
Angel B’s Galleria of Cakes is off the beaten path. If you don’t generally venture down South Rogers Street you might never know this gem was there, tucked into the McDoel Gardens neighborhood a few blocks south of Bloomington Hospital. And that would be a serious shame.