O-Cake American Bakery: Your Source for Gourmet Cupcakes

O-Cake at the Santa Fe mall
O-Cake at the Santa Fe mall

Before I left the United States on my trip around the world in 2007, cupcakes were a regular snack, or dessert popular at children’s birthdays.

By the time I returned in mid-2009, the gourmet cupcake industry had blown up, and suddenly cupcakes were the hottest pastry in town.

And by town, I mean New York City, Washington, DC and Los Angeles.

During the year I was back in the USA, from 2009-2010, I had the chance to sample gourmet cupcakes in all three cities. My favorite shop was in Fairfax, Virginia.

Cupcakes have also grown in popularity here in Colombia. My first experience with them was at my friend Marcela’s shop in Envigado earlier this year.


Soon after, I was walking around Santa Fe mall when I noticed O-Cake American Bakery.

I stepped inside for a closer look, and immediately began salivating at the options.

Double chocolate, Bailey’s, chocolate mint.

At 4,000 pesos ($2) per cupcake, these weren’t cheap, but judging by the descriptions, they had the potential to be the best cupcakes in Medellin.

Angry Birds cupcakes
Angry Birds cupcakes

During my first visit, I bought a chocolate mint cupcake to eat in the store.

As expected, the rich and sweet mint cream on top was complemented by the same cream in the middle, which was surrounded by chocolate cake.

It was a winning combination, and the cupcake closest to the ones I’d grown accustomed to from gourmet shops in the United States.

For me, the differentiators between an average cupcake, and a gourmet cupcake are:

  • Quality of ingredients (the more exotic, the better).
  • Execution of the cream toppings and fillings. They should have some weight to them, but not be too overloaded with sugar.
  • Include a filling, either of the same cream on top, or something complimentary.

The actual cake itself, to me, is not what separates good from great.

For the most part, every shop can execute on the cake, it’s the frosting and fillings where the battle is won or lost for my hard-earned pesos.

Red velvet cupcake
Red velvet cupcake

I also bought a red velvet cupcake to go, which I took home in a small cardboard box specifically designed to carry cupcakes (ensuring they don’t slide around).

I felt a little wasteful with all that packaging for a single cupcake I knew wouldn’t last long, but I can barely handle eating one gourmet cupcake, let alone two at a time.

Back at the apartment, I removed the cupcake to photograph, and then eat. Red velvet has always been a hot seller in the cupcake world, and O-Cake nailed this recipe too.

Reese's peanut butter and chocolate cupcake
Reese’s peanut butter and chocolate cupcake

Now that I know about it, I stop by O-Cake almost every time I go to the Santa Fe mall. It’s a small thing, but their cupcakes remind me of the United States.

In addition to cupcakes, O-Cake also sells fresh-baked cookies, brownies, muffins, coffee, and tea. And they are available for catering special events too.

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  1. Cupcakes in Colombia – it has a ring to it.

    Question – what kind of standard of living would a native Colombian need to have in order to be able to afford a cupcake without thinking about the price?

    Would they be within reach of a ‘working’ man or is this kind of establishment only for a small middle class?

    [I was in Colombia for about three months – that was years ago – and I went from north to south and then about nine months later I went back south to north. I liked Colombia a lot – but I spent only one day in Bogota and didn’t visit Medellin. I was mostly in small places.]

    • The average monthly income in Colombia is $600, or $20 per day. The cost of one of these cupcakes is $2, or 10% of their daily earnings.

      I don’t know if that helps answer your question, but so far this shop has opened two of its three locations in upscale malls in the Poblado neighborhood, so the people going there are middle to upper class, which is what this shop is catering towards.

      Of course you can find pastry shops all over the city, catering to all budgets, but I doubt you’ll find a cupcake as good as these.

  2. Well a cupcake costs the equivalent of US$2 and one third of the population lives below the poverty line — which under the government’s definition means they live on just over, $3 a day

    Colombia’s minimum monthly salary is just over US$300 but as 50% of workers work in the informal economy it doesn’t apply to them (or not to most of them)

    The average monthly salary is around $700 — but there’s a high level of income inequality (a relatively small proportion of workers earning relatively high incomes) in Colombia which pushes up the average — the average is still less than half the global average monthly salary though

    There are plenty of people in booming cities like Medellin who don’t need to worry too much about the price of a cupcake, but plenty in the country as a whole for whom it would an unaffordable luxury

    • Colombia’s minimum monthly salary in 2013 is 589,500 pesos ($312.7 USD at today’s exchange rate) plus a commuting allowance of 70,500 pesos ($37.40 USD) must be paid monthly to employees whose salaries do not exceed two times the monthly minimum wage.

      The average monthly salary in Colombia last year was $692, about 47% of the worldwide average. Colombia’s average salary is better than that of Mexico ($609) but lower than Brazil’s ($778).