Not only does this place have some of the best cakes in Seoul, just hanging around here kind of transports you into a different world.
We’re talking about Dinga Cake House, the latest Instagram sensation in South Korea. Stepping into the café is like projecting yourself in a Wes Anderson movie. That is, if Wes Anderson ever makes a movie about cute and delicious cakes. Tucked in the capital city’s happening Mapo-Gu district, it is decked in a funky retro setting with pops of colours, with everything in its right place.
Best Cake Shop in Seoul
Café business has gone into a different level ever since Instagram was invented. No longer a place to catch up with sweet Hanis from high school or to grab a morning cuppa so you don’t strangle annoying Ashley at work, cafés nowadays are also a place to create memories in the form of social media posts. Here in Seoul, things are not much different. As much as the Korean fried chicken restaurants still gather a steady stream of customers, so do the hipster cafes.
Amid all the competition, Dinga Cake House manages to stand out. With its charming furniture, quirky props, and an overall homey ambiance, it is like a sanctuary for those with a penchant for all things retro. Also, whomever with a sweet tooth. It is the type of place you visit to feel at home. To feel uplift your mood. To put aside that boring worksheet. And of course, to order a slice of happiness.
Finding Happiness in Cakes
The slice of happiness comes in the form of Dinga Cake House’s mouth-watering cakes. Covered with butter frosting, the cakes are colourful, cute and crafted so delicately that they look straight out of a Barbie playhouse. Some feature more eye-catching designs, like pizza and burgers. But don’t be so quick to dismiss the so-called regular designs too. In Seoul, flower cakes are still very much in style, and it looks like the trend is staying put for a while.
Standing in front of the cake display counter, it’s easy to get lost in a dreamy world. Choosing just one slice is probably the most difficult choice you ever have to make in life aside from picking a husband. There’s Lavender Olive Oil, Marshmallow Chocolate, Matcha Gateau, Mojito Cake and Caramel. Their best sellers are the Red Velvet, as well as the Earl Grey, which is decorated with a yummy turquoise blue base and pink flowers frosting.
There is a strict policy of one drink per customer, so you can’t come just for the cakes. Not that we’re complaining – the drinks are just as insta-pretty as they are indulgent. If you believe our honest recommendation, go for the strawberry milkshake. It even has a literal cherry on top! Calories whaaat?
From Illustrator to Baker
The adorable cakes are the brainchild of Heo Eun-Mi, a 29 year-old Seoulster who advocates the joy of creating something fun. This K-pop fan used to work as an illustrator, where she spent her free time doodling cakes as a way to release work stress. The doodles slowly manifested as a real dream, when she started baking her aesthetically unique cakes and uploading them on Instagram.
The likes soon turned into real requests to order, so she started baking more and more. A gig supplying cakes to a local coffee shop led Eun-Mi to open her first store in Mangwon district. Its bubblegum pink facade was like a Polly Pocket. Some fans are still reeling over its closure, but business was thriving and an expansion was inevitable. Today, Dinga Cake House has a real home and it is every bit as dreamy.
In a Different Era
With its bright blue porch and white picket fence and an inviting upper deck patio, it’s hard not to miss Dinga Cake House from the streets. Inside, you’re transported into a 1950s American suburban house. Like those we see in Hallmark Christmas movies, complete with smooth and upbeat bossa nova tunes filling the atmosphere.
Set to further build her dream into a bigger reality, Eun-Mi was very hands-on with the interior design of the place. She spent countless hours researching the design of the 50s era, and everything in the house are vintage items that she purchased online. Rooms have different themes, such as parents’ room, the brothers and sisters room, the kitchen and the garden. Just pick a spot, and enjoy your cake.
A Star is Born
The cakes have so much star potential, they even have a career of their own – starring in fashion magazine photo spreads and various K-pop music videos. Yup, sometimes cakes have bright ambitions too.
Just check out Youtube and see if you can spot them in She’s a Baby by Zico or Don’t Say No bySeohyun. Perhaps the best coverage of Dinga Cake House is in the Summer Storm music video, where Jessica sings about a goodbye she and a former lover shared. In the video, Jessica runs her fingers around the frosting of a whole Earl Grey cake, effectively destroying it. All we can do is watch. And not have the cake in our belly.
While we may never understand the conceptualisation behind K-pop videos, what is true is that Dinga Cake House is where you can find joy in a slice of cake. And feel right at home.
DINGA CAKE HOUSE
- Address: 252-18 Yeonnam-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul, South Korea
- Opening hours: 11.30am – 10pm daily
- Follow them on Instagram @ instagram.com/muum_mu.
GETTING THERE: AirAsia flies to Seoul from Kuala Lumpur. Get low fares and the best travel deals via airasia.com.