CUPCAKES BY SONJA: The Secret of Success, and the Future of Cupcakes in Manila!
CUPCAKES BY SONJA is the pioneering Gourmet Cupcakes brand by Sonja Ocampo, which started the Cupcake Craze in Manila back in 2006. Finally, they are building more concept stores around the metro to take the cupcake experience to a different level.
It was great to finally catch up with Sonja to talk about the success of her cupcake brand and the future of cupcakes in Manila.
I would like to share the highlights of our conversation, and our favorites in Cupcakes by Sonja:
The Best Restos of New Glorietta in Makati:
Read first my post about the Cupcakes by Sonja discovery, leading to the Cupcake Craze in 2006:
Sonja's Cupcakes---Creating the Cupcake Craze in the Philippines?
"What happens when a passionate baker, who had a stint in New York's Magnolia Bakery (famous for its cupcakes which have a cultish following, where Carrie and Miranda of Sex and the City devoured cupcakes), opens up a bakery store dedicated to selling cupcakes in Serendra by July 2006, and bakes the most mouth-watering cupcakes I have ever seen in the Philippines? Just maybe, we are looking at the next dessert cupcake craze in the Philippines! As Lori pointed out in her article, "Cupcakes for a birthday girl and an anxious mom", the cupcake craze has not yet taken off in Manila but it is one of those desserts that are absolutely loved by kids."
It has a more soft industrial look, utilizing textured tin for the store counter.
- The Non-Refrigerated Cupcakes, which are best eaten fresh upon purchase and at room temperature;
- Refrigerated Cupcakes, which are best enjoyed cold and can be stored for two days; and
- Other Goodies: Like Chocolate Chip Cookies, Crack Pies, Whoopie Pies, and Bars.
Check out the complete Cupcakes by Sonja Menu.
Sonja sets the gold standard for cupcake yumminess in Manila. :)
Sonja's favorite (and our personal favorite too!) is a simple chocolate cupcake that has a smooth texture and not-too-sweet taste. Many chocoholics in Manila rave about it.
For something fun to give, choose the Vanilla Sunshine cupcake. It never fails to brighten anyone's day. :)
I was first introduced to Red Velvet by Sonja, and I think her red velvet cupcake (which is nicely moist and topped with a pleasantly sweet icing) is still the best one around.
This Nutella cupcake was done very well. A good combination of peanut butter and Nutella, its flavors do not overpower each other.
This is a good chocolate cupcake alternative with a "cream pie"-type of presentation.
I love their Straweberry Basil Iced Tea and their own coffee blend created by Craft.
CBS' Chocolate Chip Cookie is also a winner in my book -- not too sweet and has the right crunch. You'll love finishing every single crumb.
Besides the topnotch goodies, another secret to Sonja's success is the iconic packaging (blue with red logo boxes), which became a favorite cupcake gift for that special someone or pasalubong when going home to the province.
- Berries n' Cream (P105). Brown butter almond cupcake with fresh strawberries and whipped cream icing.
- Berry Delight Strawberry Cheesecake (P115). Rich, creamy cheesecake baked to perfection and with swirls of delicious, pureed strawberries, topped with slices of fresh berries and luscious strawberry sauce.
- ★ Valrhona Flourless Chocolate Cupcake (P105). Dense Valrhona flourless chocolate with rich velvety texture dissolves in your mouth with pure sublime flavor.
- ★ S'mores Tart (P88). Layers of rich dark chocolate ganache, marshmallow fluff and honey -- cinnamon graham in a buttery chocolate crust, topped with a caramelized marshmallow.
- ★ Pistachio Berries n' Cream (P120). Brown butter pistachio cupcake with fresh strawberries and whipped cream icing.
- Choco Cream Cheese Swirl (P95). Perfectly moist Valrhona chocolate cupcake with cream cheese surprise.
The trend in cupcakes is to go into Ethnic flavors -- I'm excited to see Ube Cupcake flavors in CBS. :)
She recently provided the desert buffet (with a huge Hot Air Balloon cake) in the Make Your Own Havaianas 2013 event.
I'm excited about the flagship Cupcake Store Cafe they are opening in Shangri-La Plaza Mall. Soon, they will also open in Quezon City in Eastwood, Greenhills, and TriNoma to delight the foodies in those areas. :)
Congratulations, Sonja! Good luck with the expansion and taking the cupcake experience to a whole new level in Manila!
CUPCAKES BY SONJA
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The Best Restos of New Glorietta in Makati:
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- CUPCAKES BY SONJA: The Secret of Success, and the Future of Cupcakes in Manila!
- RAMEN SANTOUKA PHILIPPINES: Legendary Hokkaido Ramen now in Manila!
- WEE NAM KEE: Hainanese Chicken Rice now uses WNK Singapore's Yellow Chicken!
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Full Disclosure: Cupcakes by Sonja is an advertising partner of Our Awesome Planet. I wrote this blog post myself, and it expresses my own opinions.
P.S. What's your favorite Cupcakes by Sonja flavor? Please share your own CBS experience in the Comments section.