Food News

The Market's Longtime Baker Is Back, Now With His Own Business

Tom Hellauer
Melchor Ocampo brought the 'Spring Fling' cake to Eternal Flavors Bakery after perfecting the recipe for decades at The Market.
"My wife used to get [the Spring Fling cake] like twice a year, so we haven't had it in a couple years," says a customer at Eternal Flavors bakery, which opened May 7 at 5600 West Dartmouth Avenue in Bear Valley. "I walked in and was like, 'Wait a second — that's the same thing!'"

The Spring Fling cake was a signature at longtime Larimer Square staple the Market until it closed in April 2020 after 42 years in business. For nearly three decades, Melchor Ocampo served as the head baker at the Market, and now he and his family are bringing back some of the favorites from the shuttered business, including the much-loved fruit-filled cake.

Ocampo has become a bit of a celebrity in recent years — even more so with Eternal Flavors opening, as customers connect the dots to favorites from the Market. "It's just nonstop people coming. There's times where it's not closing time yet and we have sold out of all of our stuff," says Ruth Simonson, Ocampo's daughter and general manager of the new bakery. 

"Honestly, I didn't realize how many people know me," Ocampo says, laughing.

"He's known them for years," Simonson adds. "We have people that come get their anniversary cakes because he made them their wedding cakes. Children that we've done baby shower cakes for that are now graduating."
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Melchor Ocampo, center, works with his two daughters, Ruth Simonson, left, and Fatima Ocampo.
Tom Hellauer

Ocampo and his family, who live just a few blocks from their new bakery, are starting to make a name for themselves just off the busy intersection of Sheridan Boulevard and Highway 285. In the coming years, they plan to expand and add a deli in an adjacent storefront.

Like Ocampo, the Spring Fling has long garnered renown among the Denver faithful, and news of its return is quickly spreading. "We've had Texas, New York, California, Kansas — and they all come for the Spring Fling," Simonson says. The mythical cake comprises zucchini bread topped with cream cheese-based icing and a variety of fresh fruits.

During the spring and summer, Eternal Flavors creates several other popular fruit-centric treats, like the Mango Cream cake. "Once it's summertime and mangos are in season, that's what people ask for," Simonson explains. "Once the fall comes, we throw in a little more stuff, with things like pumpkin — a lot more warmer things." Patrons need not worry, though, as the Spring Fling is served year-round and, along with a rotating selection of other cakes and pastries, is available at the bakery by the slice. Orders for full cakes must be placed ahead of time.
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The Spring Fling, left, and Mango Cream cakes are two of Eternal Flavors' best sellers this time of year.
Tom Hellauer
The quick recognition does not come as a surprise to Simonson, who watched her father perfect his craft all those years at the Market. "He's made a lot of sacrifices for us over the years," she admits, "so it's very rewarding to see his dreams come true and being able to be a part of that." Simonson is not alone, either, as several other close family members have joined the Eternal Flavors team.

Aside from the upcoming deli, Ocampo and Simonson are also keen on expanding the operation in other areas, despite several delays related to the pandemic. "We're waiting for an espresso machine to come in. [Owing to supply-chain issues], that one has been delayed," Simonson explains. "We're getting fully staffed now, so we're hoping to have a lot more pastries and things like that."

With the support of his family and a devout fan base, Ocampo seems poised to create another neighborhood staple for years to come. "A lot of people come in and they like to talk about the Market. We kind of want to set our own legacy from that. We also want to be loved and remembered just like the Market was. But, yeah, I think we're ready for our legacy to start," Simonson concludes.

Eternal Flavors is located at 5600 West Dartmouth Avenue and is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. To place an order for a whole cake, call 720-309-4721 at least two days in advance. For more information, follow the bakery on Instagram @eternalflavorsbakery.