It took a trip to Buenos Aires and a visit to a traditional pastry house or confiteria for Ana Maria Torres de Navéz, the owner and chef behind Baked by Ana, to realize that her passion wasn’t in languages and administration, as she first thought, but in food.
“I love food, I love to eat and my family has always taken care with food and sitting down at the table to eat, but seven years ago when I went to Argentina, that was the first time I thought to study food,” Ana Maria says.
“When I moved to Argentina to study administration, all my friends studied cooking. It was all new and exciting for me. So I started studying cooking and I loved it.”
“To make the food was really appealing and when I started studying I realised it was what I loved. I never went back to teaching languages.”
When Ana Maria arrived back in Bogotá she knew she wanted to open up her own space filled with sweet-smelling baked goods, inspired by the traditional tea and pastry houses or confiterias of Argentina.
“I knew I wanted to own a confiteria. They’re charming. I always describe them like a library, there’s the history section which is chocolate, the science area which are the cakes. It’s very Italian. That’s what I wanted,” Ana Maria recalls.
When Ana Maria returned to Bogotá she started to learn how to use the ingredients at Bogota’s high altitude and would spend any spare change she had on cooking utensils.
“Ingredients work differently here in Bogotá because of the air pressure so I had to learn about them and how they work here,” she said.
“And if I had a spare $10, I would buy a spatula, or a pan. I had a huge amount of things and when we opened, I already had everything we needed for the kitchen.”
Now Baked by Ana is beautiful situated in the trendy Usaquén and the store is stocked with more than 50 varieties of cupcakes which are on rotation with about 15-20 different flavours available each day. But it was at the weekly Usaquén flea market that Ana Maria began selling her cakes.
“Little by little Baked by Ana became what it is today. We were at the flea market for about a year while we were searching for a more permanent place,” Ana Maria recalls.
During the week, Ana Maria says that the store is calm and filled with regulars and just as she tells me this a group of women sitting at the table behind us get up and say thank you and goodbye to Ana Maria.
“I always knew we would be in Usaquén, I love it.”
The next time you’re in Usaquén, pay Ana Maria a visit and try one of her favourite cupcakes.
Ana Maria’s Top 5 Cupcake Flavours
1. Mole Picante – sweet but with a bit of kick, suddenly it’s hot and spicy in your mouth.
2. Ginger cupcake – made with real ginger, also sweet with a bit of heat.
3. Wasabi cupcake – it’s like soil, there’s a real earthiness to it. But it’s not too hot.
4. Brownie – vanilla cake with vanilla topping and then a brownie stuffed in it, yum!
5. Oreo cupcake – Deliciously chocolatey and Ana Maria’s husband’s favourite.
Baked by Ana take orders in store, on the phone or online. Check out their website and Facebook and get ready for their new store opening in Titan next month.
Baked by Ana
Calle 119B #5-31
317 538 6379