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Bad Oven: Where Filipino Baked Goods are a Love Language

Bad Oven: Where Filipino Baked Goods are a Love Language

Today we introduce you to the one-woman team behind Bad Oven, a micro-bakery based in Cary, North Carolina. Peanut Dela Cruz founded her online shop in October 2020 and has been growing a dedicated fan base with Filipino baked goods, parking lot meetups, and thoughtfully written notes. Her devoted following is a result of the community she has fostered both online and in person. Just ask any of her customers who have made friends at a "carbz pickup" or given away their Purple Bun (Bad Oven's ube pandesal that gets sold out in minutes) so that their loved ones can try it. If Peanut's love language is sharing food, her customers emulate it through Bad Oven.

Stack of three Purple Buns (Bad Oven's ube pandesal) oozing with their homemade ube jam


Who designs all the vibrant graphics for Bad Oven?

I design all the concepts, but for the Bad Oven characters, an illustrator helps me put it all together. Otherwise, I would have zero time left for baking!

Illustration of Ponpon, the character based on Bad Oven's Purple Bun

We love the personality profiles you've created for your food characters. What would your own profile look like?

Aww, thank you! I'm glad you noticed the characters. They add so much life to what would otherwise be just baked goods you eat! The fact that there are whole personalities behind them makes the Bad Oven experience extra fun and unique!

In terms of personality, I actually very much identify with Ponpon the Purple Bun's friendliness. Just like Ponpon, my main weakness is also maps (aside from carbs of course)! As for hobbies, mine would probably be... creating random group chats with people. Strength would have to be my ability to drink a gallon of water per day. It's the one thing I can do so easily!

This might be similar to making a parent choose their favourite child, but what is your personal favourite treat from Bad Oven?

Oob the ube jam! Oob is the secret to a lot of Bad Oven's most loved creations. Where would the Purple Bun be if it's not filled with Oob inside or the ube cookies if it didn't have the ube jam mixed in it! It's really time-consuming for me to make Oob from scratch but it's always so rewarding both when I try it and when others do.

Illustration of Oob, the character based on Bad Oven's homemade ube jam

What music do you enjoy listening to while baking?

I actually can't listen to music when baking - it distracts me and I make a ton of mistakes! When I'm done measuring out ingredients and have to shape or ball up dough, I usually only listen to audiobooks and podcasts. My favorite one is How I Built This by Guy Raz!

As we celebrate Filipino Heritage Month in Canada, we'd love to know what Filipino traditions keep you connected to your roots.

Our tradition of bringing pasalubong is one I didn't even realize I still practice! The concept of always bringing something for someone (usually food) when you meet up or when you've traveled is such a big part of the Filipino culture and to this day is something I still do. Here in the US, people call it a "love language" and it's so true, it's a beautiful way of expressing love.

Filipinos love to share food and I'm so happy I get to do this and also see my customers do it through Bad Oven. The quote, "happiness is only real when shared" is such an integral part of our tiny community!

How much time do you spend writing personalized notes for every Bad Oven customer?

It takes me up to 2 hours to write all of them weekly! I don't know how long I'll be able to keep doing it but it’s one of those things I thoroughly enjoy doing while I can and allows me to connect with everyone in a way not possible with just handing them a bag. Plus, when was the last time your baker wrote you a note? I think it’s such a special treat both for me as the note writer and for them as the recipient!

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