Interview with Nick from the Scran Line

You can’t miss Nick’s fluorescent macarons, cakes and cupcakes – his signature style has gained a cult following on Instagram! We caught up with the Melbourne-based social media superstar to find out what makes him tick.

Nick’s signature style has elevated his baking adventures to cult-status, with over 350k followers on Instagram and Youtube.

With an outspoken attitude and love of Beyonce, he has perfected the art of creating engaging content with the appetite appeal dialed all the way up. Who can resist a cupcake inspired by Cher or a cake covered in Fruit Loops and Cornflakes?!

Here at Queen, we fell in love with Nick’s ability to reference pop culture in combination with perfectly executed pastry techniques.

Follow more of Nick’s baking adventures and discover his buttercream secrets on Instagram, thescranline.com and Youtube.

Q: First up: where does the name ‘The Scran Line’ come from?

The Scran Line comes from my very brief time in the Navy. I was at recruit school for 7 out of 11 weeks before I realised it wasn’t for me. The Australian Navy has its own terminology for different words. The word for food is Scran and when we’d stand in line for food we’d stand in the “scran line”.

Q: Do you work alone, or do you have a secret team of behind-the-scenes kitchen elves helping you out?

I work completely alone. I develop all the recipes myself, film, edit and photograph everything myself. I do all my own admin work with the help of an amazing accounting firm who help out with the business side of stuff.

Q: Walk us through your recipe development process – where does it all begin?

I go through phases so it can vary. At the moment I feel very inspired by music. More specifically anything that appears on RuPuals Drag Race. Or anything by Ru himself. It’s very gay, very energetic and it’s feel good empowering music that makes me feel very close to my community. But typically what happens is I start with a rough idea of what I want to do, then sketch it down, think about the design first and flavours second and go on to baking and decorating.

Q: You’ve put your name to some pretty elaborate cakes, cupcakes and macarons. What’s the longest you’ve ever spent baking one recipe?

I’m a really bad procrastinator. But I don’t really see it as procrastinating most of the time, it’s more like down time and then I work on impulse and instinct. So when I feel like baking, I’ll make sure I’m baking, when I feel like drawing, I’ll do that or researching I’ll do that etc… So because of this super weird way that I work it can take up to a week to film something like a cake, when it should only take three days if I stuck to a schedule. Schedules don’t work for me though! I feel that I work best when I do what I feel like doing and do it when I feel that way, if that makes sense? Like, if I want to watch a TV show to unwind after waking up to a billion emails from fans or work related stuff, I’ll do that. I’ll watch Netflix for 40 min and then come back to baking. If I feel like I want to draw in the morning and not bake, I’ll do that. It’s all about giving in to what I feel like doing so that I feel creatively fulfilled and like I’m actually being productive at the right time. I know I’ve gone way off topic lol.

Q: It probably feels like picking a favourite child, but do you have an ultimate go-to recipe from your collection?

Easy. Red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting. Every time.

Q: Describe your dream kitchen in 3 sentences…

Scandinavian design. Usable. Clean and spacious. The amount of times I walk into a kitchen or see pictures of kitchens online that are so badly designed is astounding to me. I feel like it’s because a decade ago there was a movement or emphasis away from the kitchen and into entertaining ourselves with theatre rooms and nonsense like that. But now with the explosion of cooking shows, people are taking the time to use their kitchens again. For example, the stock standard kitchen you find in display homes are terrible! They’re not designed with the user in mind. Kitchen sinks do not belong on kitchen islands people!!! The water goes everywhere. They belong against a kitchen window. And don’t get me started on how useless dishwashers are. If I was madam president of Australia I’d ban then completely. Washing dishes by hand is much better. I can’t really write down all the things I’d need a kitchen to be like, but a kitchen needs to be functional. It needs to look great, it needs lots of natural light. Why on earth do people build kitchens in the middle of their houses with minimal light? lol. Argh!!! The kitchen is the most important and most used room in the house. More thought needs to be put into kitchen design. It’s a fantasy of mine to one day design kitchens. Just kitchens for people who love to cook. Not many people are doing a good enough job at it.

Q: We love a good kitchen fail story (it makes us feel better about ours). Can you let us in on one of your biggest baking blunders?

Oh god, I’ve had a lot. When I first started baking macarons, well the very first time I had beginners luck. Then the next 9 times (not an exaggeration) I failed miserably. Cracked shells, not rising at all, spreading and joining, you name it. I couldn’t get them right. The 10th time I made sure everything was measured properly and weighed perfectly before I started. Didn’t make a difference, they failed again. I left a huge mess in the kitchen and broke down in tears lol. I’ve also made cake and left out the eggs. But I was like 11 years old lol. At that age I was more interested in eating than cooking.

 

Q: Can you see any crazy new cake trends developing? Anything that you’re looking to explore in 2018?

This year I’m looking to do more of what I love rather than focus on what my audience wants. Every flavour imaginable has already been done, so I want to focus more on design this year. I’ve been feeling really inspired by high fashion lately. I don’t really focus on trends very much to be honest. It’s easy to get stuck on a trend like drip cakes which I’m not a fan of (although every now and then when the design needs it, I’ll do it.) I despise cakes that have loads of crap piled on top of them that are made to look artful or like some kind of abstract sculpture gone wrong. It’s not art, it’s messy and god knows how you’re supposed to cut them! When mirror glaze cakes exploded I refused to go near them. One of my rules is to not do what everyone else has done or is doing, otherwise what’s the point? The person next to you makes a unicorn cake with the same colours, a gold fondant horn and ears, and then you see the exact same cake again a couple scrolls down. I took the unicorn trend and made it my own. At that time I was listening to a lot of Gaga, and one of her songs is called Highway Unicorn. I took that name, I took the way the song made me feel and made it into a cake. I made that cake well after the unicorn trend came and went. Trends come and go. I don’t bother with them to be honest. It’s not my style.

Q: Finally, we have to ask… We’ve spotted a few familiar looking bottles in your videos. What’s your favourite Queen product?

Yes! I use Queen Vanilla in almost all my videos. I love the way it tastes. I use a lot of Queen Essences as well, because they’re easily accessible and come in larger quantities than most other brands which I really like. That means you’re not rushing to the shops every time you bake and it’s always there ready to be used next time you bake!

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