It’s no surprise that Cupcakes by Sonja has become such an established dessert nook in Metro Manila. Sonja Ocampo’s brainchild first began with only limited flavors, mostly old favorites like Vanilla, Red Velvet, and Chocolate, but now offers more than two dozen choices for hungry customers. From their first venture at the Fort, new branches and can now be found in Glorietta 2, The Power Plant at Rockwell, and soon, in the new Shangri-La East Wing.
In real life, Sonja Ocampo isn’t one to hide her face from the public eye. She is, perhaps, the personification of the cupcakes she sells—bright, bubbly, and full of character. As someone who baked her first Blueberry Cupcakes from a store-bought mix, Sonja Ocampo has definitely made her mark in Metro Manila’s dessert scene.
Sonja’s secret is to never compromise the quality of her ingredients.
“Never compromise on quality by scrimping on your ingredients,” Sonja says. This means not only buying quality products but also using them in the proper amounts through accurate measurements. Sonja tells us that the most important element when it comes to baking is getting the perfect balance of flavors just right.
Sonja also isn’t shy at taking on unusual and challenging requests from her clients. “We did the dessert buffet for this year’s Century Tuna 5150. We created a special triathlon-themed dessert buffet for around 2,000 people for the opening night. It was massive—a 20-foot long dessert buffet with ‘swim’, ‘bike’ and ‘run’ areas, complete with a 9-foot revolving cake with a mountain/bike track as the centerpiece! It took our team weeks to finish the whole thing. Century Tuna’s vision was to have something right out of the Food Network’s Cupcake Wars, and we were excited to take on the challenge! We’re so proud of it; check out the photos!”
Today on Pepper, Sonja has agreed to share the secrets behind three of her bestselling cupcakes: Vanilla Sunshine, Red Velvet Vixen, and Chocolate Overload.
“Vanilla Sunshine is a classic. It’s an old-fashioned, traditional American cupcake. It’s definitely not the vanilla we grew up with here with or in Europe. There’s something about the flavor that immediately transports you to a home kitchen in a small American town.”
Red Velvet Vixen
“Our best seller hands down is definitely the Red Velvet Vixen, a traditional Southern Red Velvet cupcake made with Belgian cocoa and topped with luscious cream cheese icing. People say that Cupcakes by Sonja (CbS) was the first to offer it in the country, and now, almost 7 years later, it still remains to be the favorite among CbS loyalists.”
“This one is for the chocoholics! The Choco Overload is the slightly richer sibling of our signature Chocolate Surprise. It’s a rich Valrhona chocolate cupcake filled with thick chocolate ganache and crowned with velvety chocolate cream frosting and chocolate sprinkles.”
Cupcakes by Sonja is now open at The Power Plant in Rockwell.
“Our newest branch recently opened at The Power Plantin Rockwell (located at the P1 Level, across Rustan’s Supermarket) last Tuesday, October 1. Since there aren’t many dessert options at Rockwell Center, we hope that CbS adds a sweet touch to the variety of great restaurants in the neighborhood.
Over the years, we’ve gotten a lot of requests to open in the Power Plant, and we’re so excited to finally be part of the Rockwell community. Especially for the residents, we aim to make CbS part of their everyday life, where they can easily grab a cupcake for their kid’s lunchbox, catch up with an old friend over cupcakes and coffee, or order a customized cake to celebrate their milestones.”
The growth and expansion of Cupcakes by Sonja has been a long time coming. We’re sure her creations will be a sweet hit wherever her next branch pops up.