I came across Tahlia when she liked one of my food sketches I had posted on Instagram earlier this year. Naturally I was curious to know who my new ‘liker/follower” was, so I checked out her profile and WOW! Her profile was covered with an amazing array of her cakes, cupcakes and delicious looking desserts.
A very talented cake designer, entrepreneur and fellow Perthite, Tahlia owner of Cocoa&Spice took some time out of her busy cake designing day and full-time work to answer a few questions.
Here she tells us how she got started in cake designing, what drives her passion and what she has planned for the future.
Where does your passion for cake making come from?
I have always enjoyed cooking- baking in particular. My first memories from baking though came from when my sister and I were little and used to go to our Nanna’s house. She would often make cupcakes with us. We got too go to the shops and choose the sprinkles beforehand, and then she let us decorate them however we wanted! I continued cooking and playing in the kitchen as a child, but then stopped for several years. A few years ago I found a baking book, and I started making the brownies in it, and my love for banking was rekindled. I made so many brownies from that book! Then I did a cupcake class and fell in love- I haven’t looked back since!
Where do you get your inspiration from and who are you inspirations?
Most of my inspirations come from flavour combinations that I think of or like, and then decide I want to try and put it into the form of a cupcake. I often play around with and change the designs of my cupcakes, to keep them interesting (for me to make!) I have so many people who inspire me, and not all of them are food related. I inspire not just to make beautiful cupcakes, but to grow Cocoa & Spice into a successful business. I find inspiration in other small Perth Businesses such as Dreamhunter and Jporter Clothing, who have started from nothing but a dream, and have worked tirelessly to make their businesses into something they love. In terms of food inspirations, I love Donna Hay, Nigella Lawson; women who have put home baking on the map.
What the is most unusual cake design you’ve been asked to create for a client?
Hmmm… I don’t think I’ve been asked to make anything too unusual yet?! I did make little ‘bottom’ cupcakes with little bikini’s on them once. That really made me giggle!
You’ve created a wide range of cakes and designs, how would you best describe your cake decorating style?
I like to think my decorating style is unique but also really fun. All of my designs and products are designed with that in mind, and are created from nothing more than my imagination. Sometimes Ill be out with friends or out and about in Perth, and Ill have a sudden idea or thought on a new flavour or design, and I have to go home and try it out right away, because I can’t stop thinking about it until I do!
When you’re not baking how do you like to spend your time?
Definitely with my husband, friends and Family. Spending 24/7 on your business makes you really appreciate having down time with the people you love most. I’m also very close with my twin sister, so anytime that she’s in Perth I love to hang out with her.
Your favourite idol (movie star, singer , famous person) is coming dinner tomorrow night. Who is it? And what special cake creation would you make for them?
I don’t think I could pick just one! At the moment I would probably say David Attenborough. I’ve always had a love for animals, so I would love to have him over to talk about his adventures. I would probably make him my Sticky Date Pudding or chocolate Mousse. Both are favourites with my family and friends, and I change my mousse depending on my mood to include peppermint, brownies or Baileys.
What are your three favourite cakes that you enjoy creating?
I would have to say probably my salted caramel latte, the brownie rocky road and my lemon with Meringue. Although I’m really enjoying playing around with cookies at the moment!
Do you have any advice for anyone looking to set up their own business?
Work hard and persevere. Build yourself a good support network and be relentless in the pursuit of what you want to do. Small business is not easy, but you can make it work if you really love it.
Do you have any plans for the future that you would like to share with us?
I do! On October the 24th Cocoa and Spice will be going full time! I’ve been work full time (as well) ever since I started C&S. Its been at times incredibly challenging, trying to divide my time up evenly between my full time job, my business and family as C&S has become busier and busier. I’m looking forward to meeting more and more people over the coming months, taking on more challenges and releasing new products and designs. Its a huge leap to take, but I’m really excited to focus solely on my business, doing what I enjoy the most!