Your cakes are exquisite – what got you started in this industry?
I have always loved baking, it was an activity I would do with my grandparents when I was younger. That kick started my baking journey; I would always find excuses to bake goodies for my friends, I was the go-to girl at school whenever there was a celebratory occasion. I decided to properly dedicate my time toward it after lockdown ended as I had lots of time to think of what style of cake I wanted to focus on creating.
Did you always gravitate towards the piped icing style cakes?
Like most things, cakes have trends too! I used to make ‘drip’ and ‘loaded’ cakes with lots of chocolate and lollies on them. ‘Vintage’ styled cakes resurged in popularity at the beginning of 2020, and I prefer this style of cake because it is more focussed on piping techniques. It allows for more creative freedom with piping styles & colour combinations.
Where did you learn your cake making, and particularly cake piping technique from?
I learnt and revised cake recipes from Youtubers because they were easy to access when I was younger. My absolute favourite YouTuber that inspired me was Cupcake Gemma. When I was first getting a hang of the piping techniques I would watch videos from @thepinkcooker on Instagram and @izzythebaker on TikTok.
What are your favourite cakes to make in terms of style and aesthetics?
In terms of vintage designs I love the staple baby pink cakes with cherries, they’re also my most popular style of cake! I like to keep things creative, and I’m slowly getting into the realm of “rustic” styled dome cakes. I love how unique each cake can look with an abstract theme such as this!
What is your number one choice of cake when it comes to flavour? And what is your most requested from customers?
It changes every week! I think It would either be Funfetti or Lemon, it depends on my mood. The most popular flavour from my customers based on last month is the S’mores and Caramel.
How long have you had your business for?
My Instagram page started up in 2021, I used it to document my baking when it was more of a hobby! I would get the occasional order here and there, but it became more constant around February this year.
How do you fit in the time for this, while still being a university student?
Lots of early mornings and late nights.I am studying a conjoint of BCom/BA majoring in Information Systems and Marketing for commerce and for Arts, Media, Film and Television and Communications. I always put uni on the backburner and prioritise my baking. I appreciate every single request I receive and never want to take my customers for granted so I usually take as many orders as possible even if it means getting burnt out or missing social gatherings. I tend to leave my assignments to the last minute – oops. In all honesty I’ve operated like this since high school. The classic “diamonds are made under pressure” definitely applies here. I wouldn’t recommend this lifestyle to anyone, but for me it works!
How many cakes do you make a week?
Roughly 10 – 15 and the sizes vary. Sometimes I have a few larger cakes which means I can’t take on more smaller cakes.
Do you have a holy grail cake that you’re desperate to make for someone – or have you already made it?
I think my customers are very tasteful, they set the bar higher and higher each time. I feel like I have already made my holy grail – it was a three tiered princess inspired cake. With that being said, I am super excited to complete an order due this weekend. The customer has given me a moodboard full of cake inspiration pics which gives me a bit of leeway with how I design the cake.
In baking, I’d assume it’s easy to have a few disasters (particularly when transporting a cake!) Can you tell me about any challenging moments in your baking career so far?
It’s inevitable to have a few issues, especially starting out. I think the most stressful moment was when I got a last minute order which I wanted to fulfil. It was the day before the pickup date and I had all my orders which I had to complete alongside the extra cake I accepted. Since I was pushed for time, the cake had not been in the fridge long enough and it slid during transport. I learnt from this and now know to not push myself to accept more orders if it means compromising the quality of my cakes.
Are you inspired by any other bakers or cake makers in New Zealand, or overseas?
I am inspired by The Caker, she started her passion for baking in New Zealand when she was 21 (like me) and managed to turn it into an international success which is so cool. Her brand identity is immaculate. Christina Tosi who founded Milk Bar in America Is also my inspiration. The funfetti cake is inspired by the Milk Bar funfetti cake I tried a few years ago.
What are your plans for next year?
Next year I have one paper left for my degree so I will polish that off then take some time off to travel abroad. I want to see what the cake sector is like in other places of the world and hopefully learn a few new things. I am super excited for what the year will have in store.