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
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.
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 email@example.com
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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?
When you order a cake from my business, it’s just flour and sugar, right?
Well I do use flour and sugar in my cakes. But that’s only part of what you are paying for.
Small business life
Running a cake business is a glorious mix of being an entrepreneurial boss lady loving setting my own schedule, crossed with an exhausted, overworked artist.
Because cakes are art. And just like every artist out there I didn’t start making cakes because I wanted to be a millionaire – I just bloody love cake.
I love making cake, I love eating cake and I love smelling cake. I could talk your ear off all day about cake and there’s nothing better than someone who appreciates dessert as much as I do. Most of all, I love making cakes for people and every step of the process.
Design, bake, decorate
Here’s some of the things you might not expect you are paying for when you order a cake.
Because as much as this is a passion job, I’m also trying to run a business which is sustainable and earns me more than $2 an hour.
– I can spend hours chatting to you about your plans to make you the perfect cake to fit your occasion.
– I chat to florists and cake topper creators to get quotes. I’m all about supporting other small businesses.
– Searching for speciality items such as decorations and cookie cutters can be time consuming.
– A phone, a computer, a printer, internet, stationary (for sketching) and an invoicing program are all needed for these tasks.
(And all of this can be for nothing if my quote isn’t accepted!)
Here’s the flour and the sugar bit. And the raising agents, eggs or oil, butter or margarine, icing sugar and other pantry items such as cocoa, coconut etc.
– tins and trays
– a mixer (or two)
– a dishwasher
– cookie cutters
– baking paper, alfoil and wraps.
Now this is the fun bit! I have a whole cupboard for decorating. And then a whole cupboard for cake boxes.
What’s in them?
– cake boards
– piping bags
– piping nozzles
– shapes and cutters
– cake boxes
– edible paint
– paint brushes
– rolling pins
– non stick mats.
The business bits
There’s a few things I need/use besides equipment to run my business:
– Council fees. I get inspected yearly to comply with Council regulations. This is a paid service
– insurance. I’m dealing with food. I must have this and I wouldn’t want to be without it!
– marketing. I need a logo, business cards, banners, flyers, labels, cake books, car graphics, paid advertising, website, domain name, business name, SEO
– markets. We probably shouldn’t chat about market fees. Or the gazebo, tables, cloths, display case, boxes, trolley and chairs. Nope, don’t get me started!
– car. I need one of these to buy ingredients and do deliveries. Which needs tyres, fuel, insurance, breakdown cover, cleaning. If you’ve ever seen my social accounts you’ll know I take pride in my car and the effective cake carrier and marketing tool it is!
– training. A lot of cake makers are self-taught and that’s pretty much me too. I did a few semesters at Tafe to help define my cake passion and I loved it. I also attend regular workshops and business networking to learn new skills and chat to others in the small business life
– a living wage for all the hours spent on your cake. No one wants to work for far less than minimum wage. Then pay tax and super. And spend time away from loved ones to do it. Nope, no one wants to do that.
A job not a hobby
I’m proud to tell people I have a business. I’ve learnt so much about myself over the past few years, including my physical and stress limits. I’m continuously amazed at my creative abilities (for someone who battles to draw stick figures).
And I’m proud every time I quote with all the above factors in mind, deliver on the design and taste, and then get excellent feedback. Because it’s taken me a while to value my worth and skills. Custom cakes are expensive because they are made just for you, with love, passion and skill.
So don’t be offended when you expect a cake (that would take 4+ hours to create) for 25 people for $50, and I say no.
Hopefully the above shows exactly why that’s not a price I can, or would want, to match.
And if you got to the end of this, you deserve a medal for your efforts! And cake!
You know how plumbers and sparkies need a licence to operate legally?
Well, cake makers are just the same. We need a cake licence.
What exactly does that mean?
It means I have to be registered with my local Council.
It means I undergo annual kitchen inspections.
It means I complete an annual food safety and handling certificate.
It means I’m insured.
And it means I’ve gone through a whole long (and expensive) process to be a legitimate home-based food business.
Because it’s important.
No one ever wants to get sick, and especially not from cake!
Did you know that most Council areas in Perth (there are some limited exceptions) don’t allow home kitchens to sell uncooked dairy products, because they are a high risk product?
Some people can’t even use cooked cream such as in ganache. And City of Gosnells won’t allow raw desserts because they are uncooked.
It’s why we don’t offer cream cheese icing or cream cakes – but we have delicious, safe alternatives!
My little business has just passed another home inspection, my third to date. The picture is of me passing my first one two years ago. It was such an exciting time for me to be able to finally launch my business.
There are dozens of cake makers in Perth doing the right thing too. Just like asking a sparkie, I encourage everyone to ask cake makers for their certificates. As with any trade, a qualified professional will have no problem with this.
It’s not something I post about a whole heap, but I eat out a lot.
At least a few meals a week.
I love other people cooking for me. I love no dishes. I like trying new things.
I’m in a kitchen for way too many hours a week so I think that’s pretty fair.
But there’s one little problem.
I’m a food snob.
And a dessert snob. A big one.
It’s not like I want something fancy. I just want to eat something fresh, packed full of flavour, well seasoned and balanced.
Yep, told you I was a snob.
And it’s pretty hilarious coming from someone who grew up eating meat, mashed potato, pumpkin (vomit) and grated Kraft cheese (don’t even ask) every single night.
So what are my favourite foods?
Ice cream, pizza, Japanese, nachos. And cake, of course.
I could probably spend all day talking about these foods and exactly what elements are needed to make each of them perfect.
But I don’t think that’s really helping my cause!
Something that I enjoyed recently was black sesame ice cream served in a choux puff from Yuuma. Not a flavour I’d normally go for. But served at the perfect temp and balanced out by that sweet pastry with a sable top, I was in a world of heaven – yum!
I believe I mentioned earlier I’m a snob! What’s your favourite food?
We’ve all seen the adverts about toxic fat around our vital organs.
We all know that excessive sugar consumption leads to health problems.
But that’s kiiind of your problem to deal with – I’m not here to solve those woes with sugar free cakes!
A lecturer once said to me “nobody needs cake. People want cake.”
We want cake because cake is a celebration, a special treat!
Cake is something you eat with both your eyes and your mouth.
It’s beautiful, it’s sweet, it’s delicious.
I can make dairy free, egg free, vegan and gluten free goods. And they are all nut free as standard due to my own allergy.
But raw? Nuh uh. Sugar free? Nope.
I’m not in the least trying to be rude or flippant. I offer a huge variety of options for different dietary requirements because I know how hard it can be when you have an allergy or intolerance. But unfortunately I won’t be catering to the health conscious or diabetics any time soon.
When you’ve already taken gluten, eggs and dairy out, it really doesn’t leave a lot to work with!
Sugar does more than just sweeten, it helps to make cakes rise (google it!).
And no, you will absolutely never find any artificial sweeteners being used over here.
I bake simply with flour, raising agent, fats and liquids. No nasties. Just basic honest cooking which is bloody delicious.