Latest Stories

‘Sweet’ competition on cupcakes


CUPCAKES are now a worldwide trend. Photo by Amadís Ma. Guerrero, Contributor

Cupcakes first saw the light of day in 1976, reports Wikipedia, with a recipe notation of “a cake to be baked in small cups.”  And in an 1828 cookbook, the term “cupcake” was born.

A cupcake is defined as “a small cake designed to serve one person, which may be baked in a small thin or paper aluminum cup. As with larger cakes, frosting and other cake decorations, such as sprinkles, are common on cupcakes.”

And so, like many other American imports, cupcakes went on to conquer the world, so to speak.

In the Philippines, the cupcakes shebang was started by Sonja Ocampo, a marketing management graduate of De La Salle University who honed her culinary skills in cooking schools in Illinois and New York. She was at one time frosting cupcakes at the Magnolia Bakery in West Village, NY, said to have started the “cupcake craze” in Manhattan.

MARKETING specialists Valerie Valencia-Baldos and Apple Bayongan. Photo by Amadís Ma. Guerrero, Contributor

Ocampo then established her Cupcakes by Sonja in Metro Manila several years ago, and apparently is making good. She is now one of the owners of the Good Earth Tea Room Restaurant in Greenbelt 3, Alabang Town Center and Metrowalk Ortigas, all in the metropolis.

And then the competition materialized.

There are now at least three major players in the cupcake carousel: Cupcakes by Sonja, Sophie’s Mom and Vanilla Cupcake Bakery. Not so fast. There are also the home bakers.

These are an individual, a couple, or a group of people who work at home and sell online, made to order. “Walang (no) overhead,” notes Valerie-Valencia Baldos, marketing officer of Puratos Phils., a supplier of cupcake ingredients and recipes, among other food products. “They have 300 percent markup.” Puratos (info@puratos.com.ph) is located at FTI complex, Taguig City, soon to be rehabilitated by the Ayala Group of Companies.

MIXING the ingredients for cupcakes at Puratos, FTI Complex. Photo by Amadís Ma. Guerrero, Contributor

“They are home-based entrepreneurs, there are a lot of them,” says Apple Lopez-Bayongan, Puratos marketing manager. “They get a lot of orders, mas mura sa kanila (it’s more economical with them). So you can say that they are also in competition with Sonja.”

She adds, “It’s quite risky (to invest in cupcakes). You have to think in terms of quality, of having shops and product range. That’s why there aren’t so many.”

But the competition is intense. The cupcake business owners have to think of ways to attract more customers, of nice packaging, of making the products gift items. One bakery targets children, teenagers and young professionals.

The entrepreneurs “play around with the flavors and colors,” says Apple. “They create a story around the product. They give more information, like health benefits, to the customer. That’s important. And they make an effort on the display; they make sure it’s really fancy, inviting to the customer.”

MAJOR players in the cupcake carousel. Photo by Amadís Ma. Guerrero, Contributor

And so, she notes, cupcakes “are a growing trend worldwide. It basically originated from the US, it’s one of the most popular types of American sweet food. And it’s also very popular here.”

“Malaki talaga (it’s a big market),” the marketing manager concludes. “It’s a good business.”

(Ed’s note: At the recent launch of Bensimon, a line of sneakers from France, brought to the country by Terry, S.A., distributor of Havaianas slippers, Terry president Anne Gonzalez said they have already invested in Sonja’s Cupcakes. Terry will lead the expansion while Sonja will focus on Research and Development)

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: cake , Cupcake , food

  • EdsonArantesDoNascimiento

    Why don’t you feature in this space,”The Flourgirl” if you really want an honest-to-goodness& delicious cupcakes (only,mind you).Mmmmmm,salted caramel cupcakes.

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94


  • Gunmen kill 20 at Sudan UN base–US envoy
  • S. Korea ferry rescue stalls as anger spreads
  • Sub dives deeper in hunt for missing MH370
  • US urges Myanmar to ease tensions
  • Little known jihadist group vows new Egypt attacks
  • Sports

  • Can Spurs get back at Heat? Can they survive West?
  • Hopkins, 49, seeks win for the ageless
  • LeBron still No. 1 with NBA’s most popular jersey
  • Pacquiao back in PH, heads home to wife, kids
  • Vietnam pulls out of hosting Asian Games due to lack of funds
  • Lifestyle

  • Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Nobel laureate, dies at 87
  • Ford Mustang turns 50 atop Empire State Building
  • Pro visual artists, lensmen to judge Pagcor’s photo contest
  • ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  • This is not just a farm
  • Entertainment

  • Singer Chris Brown’s bodyguard on trial in DC
  • Whoopi Goldberg debuts as marijuana columnist
  • ‘X-men’ director accused of sex assault on teen boy
  • Cannes film festival launches race for 2014 Palme d’Or
  • Jones, Godard, Cronenberg in competition at Cannes
  • Business

  • Barbie doll has a problem
  • Oil prices mixed ahead of long Easter weekend
  • US stocks end mostly higher after earnings deluge
  • Total says makes ‘very promising’ oil find off Ivory Coast
  • ‘Chinese Twitter’ firm Weibo to go public in US
  • Technology

  • Nokia recalls 30,000 chargers for Lumia 2520 tablet
  • Facebook rolls out ‘nearby friends’ feature
  • Netizens seethe over Aquino’s ‘sacrifice’ message
  • Filipinos #PrayForSouthKorea
  • Taylor Swift tries video blogging, crashes into fan’s bridal shower
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 17, 2014
  • A humbler Church
  • Deepest darkness
  • ‘Agnihotra’ for Earth’s health
  • It’s the Holy Week, time to think of others
  • Global Nation

  • Last call for nominations to ’14 Presidential Awards
  • San Francisco business coalition slams proposed tax on sugary drinks
  • A ‘time-travel’ production of ‘Les Miserable’ at Stanford
  • Filipina Maryknoll sister honored for years of service
  • Malaysia quarantines 64 villagers over MERS virus
  • Marketplace