She’s the bright, bubbly girl behind the beautifully colourful cakes that are flooding your news feed. Laying down the high school textbooks for butter cream frosting, Katherine Sabbath is living proof that following your passion can lead to success.
With over one hundred thousand followers on her Instagram account, Katherine has made a big name for herself in the cake decorating scene – helping make baking cool again for the younger generations. Her social media feed features self-taken photographs of her creations, ranging from three-tiered masterpieces to upside-down ice-cream cakes. Katherine first discovered her love for baking in high school, where she would often make cakes and cupcakes for her friends on their birthdays. This quickly evolved into school mates requesting specialist cakes in exchange for money, which sparked inspiration for future business ideas.
After completing university, Katherine began full-time high school teaching, trained in English, History and Society and Culture. Her cake baking and decorating remained a passionate hobby on the side, which she would work on after hours and on weekends. After a couple of years of juggling the two jobs, she made the bold decision to step down from full-time teaching to pursue a career in the baking world. Today, Katherine receives around ten requests per week for personalised cake orders. She has become a household name in the foodie scene, with her creative and inventive cakes delighting people all over the world. She’s hosting workshops at Sydney’s Cake, Bake and Sweets shows, and you can also catch her live in action at any one of her dessert demonstrations or classes currently being held across Sydney!
Q: Katherine, has baking always been a big part of your life, or did you have an ‘a-ha moment’ and fall in love with it?
K: I was always enamoured with sweets and desserts as a child (mind you, I was rarely allowed to indulge in them which may explain my ridiculous sugar lust today!) and was fascinated by their colours and quirky aesthetic. I love dabbling in creating things, so combining a love of food and a love of art came quite naturally. I started teaching myself (through lots of trial and error) how to bake when I was 15 and now at the age of 28, I feel like I still have so much more to learn!
Q: You manage to juggle a very demanding full time job with your baking career, would you call yourself an early morning baker or a midnight baker? Do you have any timesaving or planning tips you live by when it comes to your baking and decorating?
K: For me, baking is fantastic at any time of the day but yes, juggling full time high school teaching and working in the dessert world was difficult! After many months of soul-searching, I finally worked up the courage and stepped down from my full-time position to focus on my baking career. I still find that I don’t have enough hours in the day, though! To help me plan and save on time, I usually have my days (and even weeks) worked out before they begin and am constantly writing lists. I also find that baking in bulk helps! Any left over buttercream icing, ganache, or cake layers can be frozen, which is really handy when an emergency cake is needed!
Q: For someone getting started in decorating, what would be your tip for achieving a professional looking cake without investing too much money on equipment and tools?
K: Invest in a trusty cake scraper and definitely a cake turntable – they both can be found at very affordable prices and make life so much easier when it comes to decorating cakes!
Q: Your cakes and sweet confections are so full of whimsical colour, do you have a particular creative process for coming up with new ideas or is it pure experimentation? Where do you look to for inspiration?
K: More often than not, I bake according to the flavours and textures I feel like eating at the time and matching these to some of my favourite colour combinations of the moment. So I would definitely say the creative process for me is pure experimentation, which makes it all the more exciting!
Q: Do you have a favourite cake of all time, or even a top 3? What do you love about it/them? Please share any photos if you have them!
K: I once made a three-tiered cantilever-inspired cake for an architect friend of mine who adores the structural design of cantilevers. It was also sprayed entirely in black chocolate velvet spray and adorned with accents of gold leaf. It took me four days to plan and put together, so I’m quite proud it all came together! I also love my Persian love cake (how fitting, haha) and my upside down ice cream cake!
Q: What Queen products are in your pantry right now? Do you have a favourite Queen product?
K: At the moment, I’ve got a great assortment of Queen natural food colourings and flavour extracts, different coloured Queen fondants, and a selection of Queen vanilla products. My favourite Queen products are the vanilla bean paste and vanilla bean pods – they add such a delicious and fragrant flavour to any dessert!
Q: We’re sure you can see some big cake trends coming for 2015-2016. Can you share any predictions with us?
K: Cakes covered in fresh, edible flower petals! I’ve been seeing lots of these kinds of cakes (as well as dishes served by trendier cafes) decorated with edible flowers and fresh petals lately.
Q: Let’s finish with something fun. Please fill in the following sentence:
If a Katherine Sabbath Birthday Cake walked into a bar she would order a shot of Cafe Patron on the rocks and be DANCING in the middle of the dance floor and be SINGING to Beyonce’s “Crazy in Love” and at the end of the night would curl up on the couch, in front of the heater with a warm cup of ginger tea and a few (or maybe even more) squares of dark chocolate!
To see more of Katherine’s amazing creations, please give her a follow on Instagram!