Spread a little small business love

There’s never been a better time to support local. But what’s the best way to show a small business you care? Here’s a few simple tips during these crazy times.

  1. Check in on a small business owner
    No matter who you are, everyone needs to feel valued as a person. Make sure you let a small business owner know you are thinking of them, and show your support by offering to be there and listen to them about their worries right now.
  2. Shout about them from the rooftops
    Word of mouth is still the most effective form of communication. If you love a local business that you think your friends and family would too – tell them!
  3. Show them love on social media
    Like, follow, comment regularly and leave a review for all your favourite local businesses. This costs you absolutely nothing but it really does help more people see their business and could very easily lead to more customers/sales.
  4. Shop online locally
    Consider supporting local businesses rather than big corporates right now. Need a new bag/shoes/beauty products/gift – ask your friends for recommendations for locals
  5. Start planning your events now
    The 2020/2021 summer season is going to be utterly packed with events as many postponed events need to be rescheduled. Book ahead with your vendors (cakes/balloons/transport/photos/flowers etc) and start paying those deposits – this cashflow will save businesses.
  6. Purchase gift vouchers for presents or future use
    Someone in your family love massages? Want new family photos? Now is the perfect time to purchase a gift voucher from a small business!
  7. Consider a donation
    If you want to see your favourite cafe, restaurant or ice cream shop keep operating on the other side of this situation, get in touch with them and ask them how you can help/donate.

Just some small ways you can make a BIG difference to local businesses right now!

How chronic illness nearly made me close my business

Living with a chronic illness over the past year has forced me to redefine myself as a person and as a business.

I’m a baking teacher.

That might sound like an incredibly simple statement. But it’s taken me a long time to accept that I am somewhat limited in what I can do these days and that I don’t bake as much as I used to – and that’s ok. It’s also taken a while to find the pride in my business again.

When I first started experiencing tiredness and lethargy, I thought I just needed some iron tablets.

Fast forward six months and my couch was starting to become my second home. I was struggling with chronic fatigue, hand pain and a foggy brain.

The doubts begin

While I was trying to work out what was happening to my body I started telling people left, right and centre that I was booked. And sometimes I genuinely was, but mostly I wasn’t. A cake I could usually bust out in two hours was taking me a whole day because I had to constantly rest.

That strips you of your confidence. Why take on an order if I was worried I wouldn’t be up for fulfilling it? And if I’m not baking, then I’m just a sham of a business. And if I’m not Carli the baker anymore, I’m just Carli who works part-time and is lazy the rest of the time. That was the narrative playing in my head.

So I withdrew from my business.

It seemed easier to pretend it didn’t exist than tell people the reality of what was going on, because other than being a couch potato, I had no idea what was going on!

Enter workshops

The saving grace for my business was that a month or two before my physical health went downhill, I’d started planning to run decorating classes. I researched thoroughly and thought long and hard about trying something new when my business had been going so well already.

I first launched in July and was surprised when the classes quickly sold out. I was even more surprised how much I loved teaching classes, it was the best high! But by the time I ran the next round of workshops in November, I needed a whole working week off my part-time job to recover.

It would take me a little while longer to get out of my slump and find the positive out of feeling crap – I’d discovered a new twist on my baking passion! I slowly started to feel proud about my business again and could see a future.

It had to be a future based on my current limitations, so I sat down to think about the aspects of my business I loved most. Top of the list was my new found teaching passion! It had given me a sense of purpose and satisfaction I hadn’t known before. And I knew with a few tweaks that I could make classes work with my health.

The realisation

So I’ve redefined myself. I’m a baking teacher.

I’m a proud small business owner.

I’m Carli who works part-time and has a business teaching workshops.

I might have a newly diagnosed chronic illness (hypermobility syndrome) which can limit me physically, but it can’t stop my passion for baking.

Note: I am still open for business! In 2020 workshops, cookie orders, allergy orders and wedding cakes are my focus, though all enquiries are welcome. Limited orders are being taken, so please book well in advance!

Private decorating workshops

Want to learn how to decorate cookies, but prefer not to learn in a public workshop? I hear you.

I know they can seem a little daunting, or maybe you’d just prefer not to travel.

There’s a solution – my private decorating workshops! Private classes run in the same format as my public classes, but in the comfort of your own home.

I bring absolutely everything along and leave you with no mess, just delicious cookies you have created with your friends or family by your side!

The Priests get creative

Above is a picture of the beautiful Priest family who took part in a private class recently. It was an awesome weekend morning in the family home, learning some tips and tricks to baking cookies, before getting creative with a large range of colours, sprinkles, paints and cutters.

I loved the cosy vibe of teaching a family unit! They all did an amazing job with their creations and produced some clever designs.

Private workshops can be catered for all over Perth. A minimum of four people are required and prices start at $70pp. For more information email cakesbycarli88@gmail.com

My 2019 in a nutshell

I wanted to share with you my absolute most favourite cake of 2019.

It’s my brother’s wedding cake. And it really was his, I’ve never met such a fussy groom 😂

He had to pick the flavours, set the style and he most definitely needed those cupcakes around the base 😆

But this cake is not just special because it’s for family. It’s got a few other things that make it extra.

This is a buttercream cake delivered on a 41 degree day, and didn’t go into a fridge. And it’s not looking the most crisp it could, but it’s still standing and not the cake puddle I pictured.

It’s also a cake I managed to make while living with chronic health conditions.

Between the heat and my health and alllll the emotions that went with this cake, it proved to me that I can do anything I set my mind to.

New direction for 2020

This was a massive highlight for my year, and sets the scene for 2020. How? There’s going to be a whole lot of family time, and a whole lot of looking after myself!

That means taking my business in a slightly different direction as a focus on the aspects of my business I love the most. That is allergy orders, weddings, cookies and workshops.

After launching workshops in 2019 and absolutely loving teaching, there’s going to be a whole lot more roll out.

Watch this space!

Brace yourself – Christmas is coming!

It’s time to bust out that gingerbread!

It’s just over four weeks to go until the big day, and boy am I looking forward to a mini break.

I work part-time in addition to my business and it gets a little hectic around this time of year as my workplace hosts several Christmas events.

So between work and end of year social events, there will be limited time for baking this festive season.

If you were thinking of placing an order, there’s just a couple of spots left for cookies, cupcakes and gingerbread. 

The usual range of vegan, gluten free and nut free is available, because that’s just what we do – make Christmas treats accessible for everyone!

To order simply email cakesbycarli88@gmail.com to see what we can do to bring that Christmas cheer to you and your guests!

Decorating workshops

New dates for the final 2019 workshops have been released! On Saturday 2 November, Studio64 in South Perth will be filled with sweet treats as people try their hand at decorating cupcakes and cookies.

What’s involved?

But first, you want to know exactly what you’ll be learning right? Here’s some insight into our last workshops in July (time has flown by since then!)

I had such a blast running the cookie and cupcake class and was delighted to teach two full classes of enthusiastic students!

A little demo to start

That’s me, mid-class, next level concentration and a smile on my face. The room at Studio64 is perfectly set up so everyone can see me and the demo of how to make your bases. There’s lots of hints and tips given out here!

Experimenting with the goodies

There’s so many sprinkles, colours, tools and gadgets for you to play with. We’ve got all the allergy options covered so there was plenty for everyone to use.

Proud as punch 

This is Amber with her cookies! She picked a beautiful colour and they pop so nicely off the white box. That little grin of accomplishment was on lots of faces!

These classes are for everyone

I couldn’t have been happier to welcome a family along to the cupcake class! Jack and Simon were having a little friendly competition over who could come up with the best designs… I couldn’t tell you who won, except their stomachs! Another bloke, Guy, also attended and tried his hand at Russian piping tips. He absolutely nailed them, and they are no easy feat. These classes really are for people of all skill levels. 

Ongoing support

Anyone who attends a class gets access to the exclusive Facebook group, which is a place to share pictures, ask questions and get advice. There’s also regular tips, tricks and baking funnies!

How to book

Ready to book? It’s easy!

Just select from your preferred class and follow the link to Eventbrite to proceed with payment.

Book the cupcake decorating workshop

Book the cookie decorating workshop

Introducing workshops!

Picture by @clementsandthefox

I’m proud, pleased and super bloody excited to be bringing Perth cupcake and cookie decorating workshops soon!

These have been more than six months in the making as I wanted to get them just right. I wanted to create some beautiful classes that people could come to and learn a new skill, meet new people and have a great time. Plus, take home some delicious desserts.

I’m not actually sure you can hear my excitement through the screen, I probably need to use a few extra exclamation points!

Tell me all the details!

Date: Saturday 27 July
Venue: Studio64 in South Perth
Time: There are two options, based on the class you prefer

Cookie decorating workshops Perth Cakes by Carli

10am – Cookie decorating

Learn how to make those sweet little stamped cookies for party favours! We’ll decorate them several ways, giving you all the skills to make them yourself at home. Book here.

cupcake decorating workshops perth cakes by carli

2pm – Cupcake decorating

Gain the confidence to pipe some beautiful designs of your own, and learn what tools you need to complete at home yourself. Book here.

In both classes you will receive take home recipe books, lots of hints and tips, and have a whole lot of fun! We can cater for various dietary requirements – just ask.

Please note – these are decorating classes only. While you will see a demonstration on the day, bases will be pre-made for you to decorate.
The childcare does not operate on weekends. Unfortunately we can not cater for young children as bystanders or taking part. If you have a teen interested in taking part, please get in touch to discuss before booking.

We are so excited to have you along! Questions? Comments? Email cakesbycarli88@gmail.com

How serious allergies can be

This is a sage reminder how serious and awful allergies are. This is me eight hours after an allergic reaction.

Cruising for a reaction

This picture was taken at 2am in the bathroom of a cruise ship cabin. It’s the European summer of 2016 and we’re cruising from Venice to Croatia and Greece. It’s our second dinner of the cruise. During the first dinner I was told they would make a nut free dish that night, then to choose the next night’s meal and it would be specially prepared. Cruise ships have a great rep for allergies. You can get your day trip food packed for you, chefs will help out at a second’s notice and walk you around the buffets showing you what’s safe.

A special meal

Unfortunately for me, I had a terrible experience. That first night, I selected my dish for the second night – the entree was arancini balls. The menu description said pinenuts in the sauce, but they were going to make me a special version. I was served the next night and I started digging in, but I knew something was wrong immediately. It was such a special version that it had nuts in it.

My reaction

We went to the ship’s hospital. By this point I’m crying and getting super panicky – a reaction does that to me. There’s something going around your body that’s trying to kill you, so the body goes a little haywire and for me I get flustered, very shaky and a bit hysterical. I’m also stressing out that I’m going to die in a floating city a million miles from home. I was in the hospital for a while, they gave me drugs and tried to make me laugh. I tried though the tears. We eventually went back up to our room and they sent us some dinner. Can’t say I felt like eating it.

And then my face swelled up

A few hours later, my body flushes hot. I turn bright red. Redder than I’ve ever been. It looks like I’m sunburnt all over my body. Then, my eyes start swelling shut. If you have a script for adrenaline you get two epipens on one script. And this is why – secondary reactions. I felt ok but we sat and watched the swelling get worse and worse. It was fascinating in a sick way. We called up the doc and was told take another anti histamine and I’d be ok. Righto. I tried to go to sleep but wasn’t really feeling it. Hence being up at 2am and taking a photo.

The value of my life

I’m not going to name and shame the cruise company, besides having the most lacklustre response to them feeding me an allergen and the compensation they offered ($150 voucher towards a future cruise hahahaha – yeah nah!).

It’s a simple reminder for those with allergies to carry your medication at all times, carry the spare (preferably get someone very close to you to do this in case a bag gets lost or stolen), and be alert even when served an ‘allergen free’ meal. For those without allergies, I’m anaphylactic but only if I ingest nuts. I consider myself lucky. Please be kind and considerate towards anyone in your life with allergies and help them by being vigilant on their behalf, they are no joke.

The perfect cake, according to me

birthday cakes celebration cakes perth wa beckenham perfect cake
Perth cakes

So what makes a perfect cake? Is there even such a thing?

Well, we can sure get close. Now, everyone has a slightly different idea about what makes something good, just like art.

To me, a perfect cake is about sweetness, icing, texture and flavour.

Texture

Oh you know I’m going to use this word here – moist. Nobody likes a dry cake. Nobody likes a rubbery cake. And no one wants to eat a cake so dense that you’re dying after a mouthful that takes you forever to chew and needs to be washed down with a whole glass of water.

The perfect cake is light, fluffy and MOIST. There’s really just no other way to describe it.

Flavour

The flavour should be easily recognisable. Sometimes you do want the cake to be subtle if you are pairing it with icing that is pretty intense. 

But you don’t want a flavour that smacks you in the face. Or a flavour so sour your mouth shrivels up in protest. It’s all about balance. Balancing sweet and sour, salt and sugar.

If you have a cake flavour in mind, I can suggest some classic or modern combinations that work well and give balance. Like chocolate and vanilla. Or lemon and raspberry.

Icing

Now this is something that really is up to the individual. I offer classic buttercream (whether that’s butter or non-dairy) icing only. I like a small amount of sweet icing, but without a greasy mouth feel.

For a while there I played with Swiss meringue icing (incorporating cooked egg whites) and I also tried fondant cakes. But nope, my lovely customers just wanted classic buttercream. So that’s what I stick to. 

The only time I’ll deviate slightly is during our extreme summers to make sure your cake doesn’t slide right off the board. Sun and cakes are not a match made in heaven!

Sweetness

The key to the perfect cake? One that isn’t too sweet and that you can go back for seconds because the first piece hasn’t put you into an instant sugar coma.

For me, it’s about the ratio of cake to icing. And icing that isn’t ‘blow your head off sweet’ and that all important flavour balance. Sweet, sour, salt, sugar.

So there you have it, the perfect cake (according to me). Do you agree?

Fun facts about Cakes by Carli

cakes by carli nut free cakes perth
Clements and the Fox

With a business name ‘Cakes by Carli’ it’s pretty self explanatory about who I am and what I do! But, who am I really?

Here’s some fun facts about your friendly neighbourhood baker.

  1. The idea for my business started when I was 19 and got diagnosed with a nut allergy.
  2. My business has only been going for three years – I took a little while to get my idea off the ground!
  3. I’m a journalist by trade. Now I work in Communications and Marketing.
  4. I LOVE cake. I like smelling cake, eating cake, baking cake and talking about cake.
  5. My fingers and toes are double jointed 🤣
  6. My favourite countries are Slovakia and Japan. I’ve been to the former three times, and the latter four times.
  7. Pizza is my favourite savoury food. Hot, cold, pineapple, no pineapple. I just like pizza.
  8. I’m not great at cooking dinner. I mean I’m ok, but I don’t really enjoy it all that much.
  9. I love dogs but I’m allergic to them. Along with cats, dust, grass, nickel. Yep, I’m a barrel of laughs.
  10. I’m a total introvert and would much prefer to be curled up with a book than out at a party! 

So there’s a little insight into Cakes by Carli and how this business came to be!

So next time you need a nut free, dairy free, vegan or gluten free cake, think of me with my funny fingers and love of pizza – hahah!