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James Avant IV, owner / Image courtesy of OCD Cakes // Published: 7.13.18

How One Local Man Turned His OCD Into A Delectable Cake Business

Do you have a terrible sweet tooth? Do you crave something sugary after every meal? Are you thinking about dessert before even making dinner plans?

If you answered yes to the above questions, you might suffer from Obsessive Cake Disorder.

No, that’s not a real diagnosis. However, the bakery by the same name is the real deal.

James Avant IV is obsessed with cakes—actually, he’s obsessed with the 4Cs (cakes, cookies, choux pasties, and crusts)—and he’s just as sweet as the treats he bakes.

Baking has always been James’ passion, which came as no surprise to anyone who saw the collection of science kits he played with as a kid. He learned to bake from his grandmother one summer afternoon—she interrupted the then eight-year-old's cartoons and ordered him into the kitchen. “We’re making cornbread today,” she asserted. James was fascinated by the ingredients, particularly buttermilk (weird, right?) and fell in love with the alchemy that food can be.

While he had dreams of becoming a pastry chef, migraines and a terrible reaction to a medication inspired him to change course to pursue medicine. The whole pastry thing went on the back burner. That is, until the transition into college triggered anxiety and James was diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Baking became his outlet and he continued forward with those deferred baking dreams, registering his LLC in 2014 while still in school.

Two years later, after taking on the role as Culinary Lead at Sur La Tab and completing the Co.Starters program, James competed in (and won) ArtWorks' Big Pitch competition.

The only thing more incredible than his story are the goods he bakes. James wants his product to speak for itself, keeping decorations minimal. While his style is simple, the flavors can get pretty wild (like a beet powder and turmeric shortbread with chocolate drizzle and pistachio for Injoi). For more classic options, his best sellers are the Cookies + Cream or Red Velvet shortbreads.

“I like to let the flavor be the focus,” says James. He knows desserts are often ordered for celebrations and they should complement—not compete—with the occasion.

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OCD Cakes takes custom orders on its website (or you can find them at the zoo and at various events around the city). Be on the lookout for a brick-and-mortar bakery opening in the spring of 2019.