photography by MacKenzie Frank
When James Avant was first diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder, he knew he had two options: either let his condition define him, or redefine the condition. He chose the latter, and the result is OCD Cakes, a thriving bakery business that serves the dual purpose of relieving Avant’s OCD-driven anxiety and bringing delicious treats to the community.
Avant comes from a family of cooks, but he never saw himself following that path until, as a young University of Cincinnati grad, he began to notice that the ritualistic aspects of baking—precise measuring, mixing, timing, detailing—had a soothing effect on the anxious tics he’d struggled with his whole life.
With that, Avant launched a brand that would quickly garner attention in local circles and beyond. He refined his concept through ArtWorks Cincinnati’s CO.STARTERS business development program for artisans and creatives. With that training under his belt, he joined the Findlay Kitchen incubator to ramp up production of his signature shortbread and drip cakes, as well as other small-bite pastries, cookies, choux, and crusts.
“Joining the Findlay Kitchen has given me the ability to scale up significantly,” Avant says. “I get to contribute to the vibrant food ecosystem that is Findlay Market and operate without a large amount of upfront capital.”
Avant says his next big move is adding to the OCD Cakes baking team and increasing the company’s wholesale presence. Visit the bakery’s website to browse the sweets and place an online order for delivery. Pastry lovers can also find OCD Cakes at Findlay Market and at events and festivals throughout Greater Cincinnati.
Hannah is a graduate of NKU's political science program and a freelance creative who writes extensively about development in Greater Cincinnati. She doesn't like to fly, but she loves to travel. Her favorite books are A Tree Grows in Brooklyn and Love in the Time of Cholera.