Local cracks top 20 in Greatest Baker online contest

By Kelsey Hipkin – Local Press Writer
Local baker Diane Ocampo has advanced to the top 20 of The Greatest Baker, an online world-wide baking contest in which the winner will take home $10,000 and have a feature story in Bake from Scratch magazine.
Ocampo and her recipes are behind a business she started in October 2020 during the COVID pandemic as “something to do to keep me sane”.
While baking was among her university studies, Ocampo didn’t take the art seriously until her family came to Canada in 2017 – the inspiration of which came from her children. Filipino tradition includes a monthly celebration for a newborn throughout their first year. Ocampo baked cakes for her son (born 2019) every month until the COVID outbreak.
“Anxiety kicked in, then I just found myself letting other people taste my baking through our small business,” she said on her Greatest Baker dashboard.
Their business was named Claresholm’s New Business of the Year in 2021.
Ocampo learned about The Greatest Baker via social media so she took a chance and registered. Bakers earn votes online, with the competing bakers being narrowed to a top 10 on Nov. 10. Ocampo is looking good to make the cut as at press time she was first in her group.
From the top 10, the contest narrows to a top five, group finals, wildcard and quarter- and semi-finals culminating in the finals beginning Dec. 23. There are free daily votes, or votes by donation, in which all funds raised support The Andrew McDonough B+ Foundation, which supports the families of children with cancer.
Ocampo – who says her favourite things to bake include chocolate cupcakes and carrot cake – cites baking as a way she was able to create her identity.
“There is something in (my baking) just by the taste, people – especially my regular customers – will recognize it,” she said. “I make sure I only bake what I feel will make my customers smile when I deliver their cake orders. Thus, our business tag line is ‘always baked fresh with happiness, just for you!”
She makess specialty cakes inspired by the Philippines such as Mango Deluxe, Ube Macapuno. Other flavours include Coffee Crunch and Signature Mocha Cake, and Ocampo also bakes customized cakes and other treats like cinnamon bread and carrot cake.
“I am always amazed by how a plain cake will turn into something beautiful,” Ocampo said. “Sometimes I can’t believe I made them.”
For more details on the contest or to vote for Ocampo, visit greatestbaker.com/2022/diane-ocampo.