A Day with Faye

Photography by Van Goh Cakes

Gold… and flowers. Welcome to Faye Cahill Cake Design studio!

I’ve been in Sydney for a week to be part of the Australian Cake Decorating Network Luna Park art gallery project at the Cake, Bake & Sweets show. Being a home-based cake business owner, it is often refreshing to be meeting faces of other decorators who are interstate and pursuing their passion from their home kitchens. Getting to know people through Facebook and forums feels like pen pals – you know who they are, you see profile photos of them, but it’s not the actual human connection that we sometimes forget or do not get to establish in this day and age. These decorators whom I’ve come to know and love as dear friends or “cake family” inject life into what I love doing, and that makes me want to strive for better cake designs. Last year, the Cake, Bake & Sweets show was the highlight of my trip to Sydney. It was the first time a show of such magnitude was held in Australia, and I was excited to be a part of it. This year, I was fortunate enough to visit Faye Cahill’s cake studio in Marrickville. In case you’re wondering who’s Faye Cahill, Faye is one of the top cake decorators in Sydney, who produces the most exquisite wedding cakes that are not only the envy her brides, but many other budding decorators like myself from all around the world. Her work have appeared in wedding magazines, and her craft has such warmth and a distinct style, you could tell if it is a Faye Cahill cake.

Photography by Van Goh Cakes

With these as window displays, how could you not stop in your tracks to look at these cakes?

On the long awaited day (and the last day of my trip in Sydney), I was having the jitters as I hopped on the bus that will take me to Faye’s studio. As I made my way down Addison Rd, I was nervous as I stepped into the studio to catch a glimpse of what it is like to be in the Faye Cahill Cake Design studio. What was two short years of ogling and seeing Faye’s studio in photos on Facebook and Mr Google became surreal – I was finally standing in Faye Cahill’s cake studio.





Photography by Van Goh Cakes

Aren’t the figurines the cutest?

I felt very welcomed at the studio as I got acquainted with Faye’s team that produces the amazing cakes – Maree, Michelle, and Rebecca. There was so much to take in that I don’t think it’s ever enough – Maree making sugar flowers, Michelle mixing colours to paint on flower petals, Rebecca working at the computer (how I’d love to have someone do all my admin work!), and Faye adding the lace embellishments on to a cake. You could not help yourself but embrace the positive energy of being in a studio setting as opposed to working from home. Alone. It was a refreshing experience watching how everyone works together in a studio making cakes, when it is usually me, myself and I doing everything that they’re doing. I watched Faye as she explains to me how a lace pattern on the bride’s dress ends up being a sketch onto tracing paper. She carefully maps out where the lace pattern will go on the cake, and what she does next is simply amazing – watching how she cuts pieces of fondant which mimics design motifs from a lace with an embossed lace pattern, making beaded designs out of moulds, and lastly the part which I love watching, is getting the colours just right as she mixes copper with gold to achieve the perfect colour on the cake. Faye had me colour some filler flowers for the cake which I couldn’t be more obliged to do, and again watched her work her magic with achieving the right colour for her filler flowers. Casual conversations were thrown in here and there, and it made my time at the studio very light and enjoyable.

Photography by Van Goh Cakes

This eight-tier cake is really something!

Just as my visit was reaching an end, Faye had visitors, and not just any visitors. Sharon Wee, Miso from Miso Bakes, Margie Carter and Weennee Tan who from Sugar popped by before I left.

Am I starstruck yet?

One should feel starstruck, but you are subconsciously reminded that they are regular people who do regular things, you know, like hanging out with the incredible Faye Cahill. 🙂

I left Faye’s studio in a hurry to the airport to board my plane back to Melbourne. Thank you Faye and co for letting me have a sneak peek into their daily activities. It was a short visit, but really, it lasted a lifetime and it could have gone forever. It has got me thinking of the possibilities of a studio of my own in the future, and this has planted a seed in my head. Faye’s hospitality has truly touched me, and I can’t wait to get back there to hopefully create something truly amazing! 🙂

Photography by Rebecca

L-R: Weennee Tan; Me; Faye Cahill; Margie Carter; Sharon Wee; Miso

My competition cake at Cake Bake & Sweets Show!

Oh, I had such fond memories of the Cake Bake & Sweets show in Sydney that lasted from 21 to 23 March. But for me, it was largely an enormous and stressful affair as two months ago before the show, I decided to enter the Australian Cake Decorating Championships (ACDC)!

The ACDC had three categories: wedding cakes, novelty cakes, and sugar art. The theme for the wedding cake competition was spring; novelty cake was ‘mystical magic’; and sugar art was ‘nature’s best’. I never had any experience with a wedding cake, and so I was dying to show off whatever skills I know off on the best wedding cake I could produce.

My initial thought of the entry piece was to have lots of flowers, a tree bark, a gazebo with bride and groom – and that’s a game! Yet, as the weeks went by, I started to doubt my idea on the cake. Wouldn’t everyone have the same thought on that, given it’s a spring cake? Somehow, I decided to look East. I have been watching a Chinese drama, and I wondered what a Chinese-themed wedding cake would look like. I deliberated with friends on my new idea on the cake, and they agreed that I should go ahead with it. It would be the one entry that would stand out from the others. As Miss Housemate said, the best artists in the music industry don’t comply with the mainstream music but rather have original concepts on their songs. Which is what I aspire to be – an original cake designer!

To start my design, I needed some inspiration. I had an initial vision of the Chinese traditional wedding attire for both the bride and groom, but I didn’t think it would resonate well with people who would be looking at the cake. Hence I picked a more contemporary version, and what better than to reach out to my dear friend in Hong Kong. I visited Hong Kong in summer last year not only to enjoy the sights and sounds, but also to attend my friend’s wedding. Isabella has kindly offered me some pictures of her wedding gown, known as the “kua” in Cantonese.

Doesn't she look stunning?

Doesn’t she look stunning?

Observe the detail that goes onto the outfit :)

Observe the detail that goes onto the outfit 🙂

Using her “kua” as my source of inspiration, I started on the figurines first. As I was going to carry it to Sydney, I needed the figurines to be lighter in weight, and I chose to use styrofoam to build the foundation of the figurines. To enhance the effect of the clothing used on the figurines, I used an impression mat to create floral effects on both the bride and groom’s clothing. The next step is to add luster to the clothing – as you can see, my friend’s “kua” has a lot of intricate detail to it, and my aim is to achieve a similar look, if not identical to it.


The bride’s outfit took me forever, especially with a fine paintbrush to accentuate the details of the impression mat and extra embellishments to it. Once both they were done, I made their heads, and added more details to their collars. Done!


Next up was to make the peonies. After some research, I ended up following Shawna McGreevy’s tutorial on how to make peonies.

Her tutorial was so easy to follow, and here are my little lovelies!


A more mellow and soft pink – love the colour!

Red peony – it’s a very striking colour!

Next up was the cherry blossoms, in which I used some with plunger cutters and some using a tutorial from Kaysie Lackey’s. My favourite part of making flowers generally is to be able to add colour or shimmer to enhance the look of the flowers. What a world of differece once it all comes together!

What would a Chinese wedding be without the double happiness symbol? o
I traced it out on some red gumpaste and painted a gold luster. It wasn’t how I wanted it to be represented but it didn’t work, and so the simple design of the symbol worked perfectly.


It was my first time making modeling chocolate, and using a recipe from Craftsy, I was happy with how it turned out. Two days after, I started to work on it to create tree branches where my blossoms would be, and this is a mock up of how my cake will be.


Sadly, logistics issues of bringing the cake to Sydney was a horrible ordeal. As I had tiers in two boxes, I had to check in one and I get to keep the second box in the cabin with me. The one that had to be checked in suffered extensive damage – the tree branches broke into pieces, some cherry blossoms broke, fondant was cracking at the bottom of the tiers. Could you imagine my face when I looked in the box in horror, and I had to rush it to the Sydney Showgrounds to submit my entry. My cake could be partially saved, and I had submitted the cake in for judging. I felt really awful about the entry, but in the three days of the show, I have received very glowing reviews about it. It may not have won the ACDC championship, but it made my trip to Sydney all the more memorable this time. 🙂