It’s just flour and sugar!

small business expenses perth cupcakes

When you order a cake from my business, it’s just flour and sugar, right?

Not exactly.

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.

It’s also:

– tins and trays

– a mixer (or two)

– a dishwasher

– spatulas

– 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

– colours

– flavours

– sprinkles

– 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!

Cake licence? Yes please

cake licence registeredYou 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?

Registered business

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!

Support local

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.

Stay safe, cake lovers!

Not just another Perth cake maker

perth cake makerSo we’re just another Perth cake maker, right?


Cakes by Carli is a little different.

It’s what’s inside that matters

Sure, we make cakes that are pretty. But we also make cakes for lots of different dietary requirements.

Our council-registered kitchen is nut free. Yep, I’m sure you’ve heard by now that I’m allergic to nuts.

But we can also create egg free cakes, dairy free cakes, vegan cakes, gluten free cakes, plus vegan and gluten free cakes.

Oh and slices and cupcakes and donuts and more.

So while the look is important, for us what really matters is on the inside.

Designing your perfect cake

We’ll work with you to come up with a perfect design, that is suitable for your dietary needs.

Because sometimes common allergens are in the most random of things, and we thoroughly check and confirm everything.

When this business first started, only around 10% of all orders were for people with various dietary requirements.

Now, we’re hovering around 80%. Which only comes from product trialling, testing, tweaking and devouring.

I’m super proud of my creations and the recipes I’ve created (nope, you can’t have them anytime soon!) and the feedback on them.

So next time you need something sweet to cater for various dietary requirements, you know where to find us! You can contact us via our website or Facebook.

For the love of chocolate

I thought I knew a bit about chocolate.

Like how it comes in dark, milk and white and is delicious.

Turns out, there’s a little more to learn about this delicious treat!

I recently went to a chocolate class by Sue Lewis Chocolatier and boy did I walk out (rolled out is a more accurate description) informed.

Bean to bar

In a small group of nine, we started the night learning about cocoa beans, growing regions and the chocolate making process.

Plates and plates and more plates of chocolate were passed around for everyone to try various chocolate from around the world, as Sue shared her knowledge and passion.

As we learnt more about chocolate and tuned into our taste buds, we are all instantly chocolate connoisseurs and sprouting phrases like “mmm that one’s really dry on the palate, must be the tannins.”

Tempering chocolate

Once we stopped being terrible experts, we rolled over to a different part of the shop to learn how to temper chocolate like the pros.

With all her years of experience, Sue made it look way too easy!

We were shown two different methods and the equipment we’d need to try it ourselves at home.

Then with our successfully tempered chocolate we picked a mold each and got decorating, filling, scraping, and setting.

I picked the piggy mold, which was definitely projecting how I was feeling at that point!

We swapped our finished chocolates with each other so I also took home a frog, penguin, cat, sheep and Buddha in a beautiful box.

Perth chocolate class

What an amazing night! The class was a perfect way to spend an evening in Perth and get to learn more about chocolate.

From the complete novice to people who know a little about chocolate, everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves, asking lots of questions and of course scoffing down a bucketload of chocolate.

I’m so glad I went along and it would be a great gift for that hard-to-buy-for family member.

You’ll just have to wait and see what we get up to with all that new chocolate knowledge!

I’m a food snob

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?

Do you make sugar free cakes?

Do I make sugar free cakes?

Nope, sorry.

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.

And contains sugar.

Life’s funny turns

I never planned to be a cake maker.

It kind of just happened.

I remember overhearing my mum tell my mother in law once “she didn’t even like baking growing up.”

Too right Mum, I was too busy stuffing my face with YOUR delicious baked treats.

But fast forward a couple of decades and here I am. A baker. A cake maker. And loving it.

So much that I jumped at an opportunity to hand out samples of my products recently.

But let’s just set the scene here. I’m an introvert. I can turn on the charm and small talk when I need to (thanks to those years as a journo) but I’d choose sitting on the couch talking to no one, over going to a party any day.

But suddenly here I am on a Saturday morning handing out cake samples at a shopping centre and asking people how their weekend is.

It’s funny where life takes you.

You know what though? I loved it. Because I’m so passionate about cake. And I loved sharing with people how tasty cakes without eggs or dairy can be.

And the good people shopping at Rossmoyne IGA enjoyed the treats. Which I got a massive kick out of.

So stay tuned to see what this introvert gets up to next!

A big thanks to Rossmoyne IGA for hosting me in-store. This is an amazingly beautiful store which is a vegan paradise. Head in and see for yourself!

What’s your flavour?

What’s your favourite cake flavour of all time??

Are you a lemon lover? A chocoholic? Or strawberries-for-days kinda person?

I’m 100% chocolate, all the way!

So, what are some of our favourite flavours here at Cakes by Carli?

Standard flavours

These are your basic, your go-to’s, your faves. But don’t be fooled with how simple they sound. Our cakes are made fresh. They are tasty. They are made with love:

These can be paired with lots of different icing flavours:
-all of the above
-rose water

There are so many combinations!

Premium flavours

These are perfect for the adventurous, and those who want extra flavour explosions:
-cookies and cream
-choc honeycomb
-Turkish delight pieces
-lemon curd filling
-berry curd/jam
-choc mint pieces.

We can also add any of your favourite sweets, chocolates, brownies etc. Premium flavours do attract a surcharge.

Hopefully that gives you some ideas for your next occasion! If you need a delicious cake in Perth, get in touch with Cakes by Carli!

Swan Valley Wedding Open Day

Last weekend we were lucky enough to be invited to take part in the Swan Valley Wedding Open Day!

We were part of the display at Albion on Swan, a beautiful rustic blank canvas for people to create their special day.

Under the giant teepee by TP and Co was our display, looking fine!

Furniture hire company Owl & Bear was kind enough to lend us this epic cake stand – and boy did it make the desserts sing!

We had a few wedding cakes showing different styles and a bunch of samples of small desserts – tarts, cookies, donuts, cupcakes and slices.

These are a great way to have some variety and cater for different dietary needs too! All our products are free of nuts and we can cater for vegan and no gluten.

Why wedding expos?

We love weddings! And probably not for the reason you think we do. It’s not about being able to charge more. Weddings don’t attract higher product prices from us. It’s about providing delicious desserts, whether that’s a cake or a whole dessert bar, for you and your guests to enjoy!

So it’s important we let people know that amongst the kids cakes and markets, we are also in the wedding game!

Why are weddings so expensive?

Well isn’t that a great question! Again, weddings don’t attract a bump up in price from us.

However, weddings are a bit different. We need to make sure we deliver our very top customer service – that means being available to deliver exactly when you require it, so we may have to turn down other orders to do that.

It means liaising closely with the venue about set up times and available equipment if needed. It means extra emails and calls to get every last detail sorted. And extra time to make sure it set up absolutely perfect, so you don’t have any extra stress on your special day. At regular parties, you might normally collect and set up cakes yourself, but at weddings there’s no time for you to do that, which is where we step in!

Contact us about your wedding!

We hope that provides a little insight into the wonderful world of weddings!

A huge thanks to Maddie from Poppin Cork Events and The Wedding Broker for putting together the wedding expo.

You can find us at the Mili Markets Love and Marriage Expo on 22 July at Joondalup Resort to chat all things wedding cakes!

Allergies suck

perth biscuits nut free

Allergy life….is not fun!

That’s why I started this little business to provide choices for people who are usually not able to eat out. Not able to enjoy a special cake. Not able to take part in all the fun.

I know exactly how that feels! I was diagnosed with a nut allergy at 19-years-old.

Discovering my allergy

Somehow I’d managed to never eat a walnut until then.

The first time I encountered one was at a work morning tea when I ate a walnut scroll.

I got a scratchy throat and felt a bit off.

The next day I ate my usual muesli bar and also felt a bit weird.

A few weeks later I ate some trifle, and then felt really, really funny. I asked the maker if it happened to have walnuts in it. It did.

My lips were itchy and my throat felt a bit constricted, but I took an antihistamine, brushed off concerns and went to bed.

Fast forward another month, I’m at a house party with mates and have a big bite of a tasty looking biscuit!!

That’s when shit got real.

Immediately my face got hot, I got REALLY itchy, my tongue started swelling up and my throat started to close.

I went searching for someone who might be able to help. I’m so grateful that my best friend’s husband had a puffer and antihistamines which I took on the advice of an off-duty nurse.

I’d later find out that when you’ve had alcohol that allergic reactions speed up.

Unfortunately I’d had a fair bit to drink already, and I wasn’t taking the situation very seriously. She’ll be right, mate!

I was taken to hospital and seen immediately. That’s when the panic really set in for me. The alcohol wore off and reality hit.

Everything was ok in the end. Without the antihistamine though…

The fun has only just begun

Then started the whirlwind of specialist appointments, getting an EpiPen and adjusting to the fact I was not just allergic to walnuts, but my body had flipped out and I tested positive to all nuts.

Every. single. nut. And anaphylactic too – joy!

WTF?! I worked in a fruit store and handled nuts all the time (admittedly with gloves). I ate cashews by the handful. And I ate muesli bars with almonds in them.

No more. I had to learn to ask if food was safe. I had to learn to read packets. And I had to learn not to sulk when we went out and I couldn’t eat something.

That was the hardest bit. Watching everyone else eat dessert and getting served fruit.

Anyone who knows me knows how much I looove dessert – and not of the fruit variety!!

That’s a very long-winded way to tell you where the idea for my business started.

I understand allergies and intolerances and I understand the joy of being able to eat the same special dessert that everyone else does.

I’ve got your back.