Let’s Eat Cake! with Patti of ‘Mali Bakes’

Let’s Eat Cake! with Patti of ‘Mali Bakes’

Posted By: Maxwell & Williams

There’s nothing we love more than seeing a true professional use our designs in their day to day life. We recently caught up with Patti, the vision behind @malibakes, to chat about all things cakes and more!

1. Your creations are a treat for the eyes and the mouth! What was the inspiration behind starting your own cake business?

I always wanted to start my own business, but that idea was really pushed forward out of necessity. During 2020, I needed a new source of income, and I really needed a creative outlet. First, I was making cookies but quickly shifted my focus to cakes because I found it more exciting and challenging. For me it’s a great medium to express myself as a lover of food and colour.

Inspiration for the cakes themselves came from retro Illustrations from 60’s/ 70’s cookbooks and adverts. They really informed my colour palette, design, and photography. I took that style and added my own modern twist to it.

2. Your cake flavours are so different to anything else out there, how do you choose such unique flavour combinations?

I want the element of surprise we have visually to be reflected in the flavour. Something a little bit unexpected. We are so lucky in Melbourne to have access to groceries from a wide range of nationalities and I tend to incorporate that when I design the menu. We pair yuzu with strawberries in our poppy seed cake, it’s such a beautiful match. We use native herbs like Wattleseed and Cinnamon myrtle or using orange blossom in our carrot & pineapple cake. I like putting a little spin on some classics. 

3. So many people dream about having their own successful business. What would you say to someone wanting to start their own business?

Practise and perfect whatever you want to do in your unique way. In my small experience, I think patience and perseverance are probably the most important thing. Mali Bakes started out small from a home kitchen. Rather than pouring crazy tons of investment in this from the beginning, we let the business evolve with its needs to allow ourselves space to grow in a direction that would work for us. Be passionate and committed. If you want to do something special, it won’t be easy but it will be rewarding.

4. You have made hundreds of delicious cakes by now. What is your favourite thing about making a cake?

Cake making is process driven. Baking, preparing all the components, assembling, and decorating. It is extremely temperature dependent. It is almost impossible to come back once you make a mistake. My favourite part is perfecting the process by learning through mistakes. Decorating and creating colour combinations is of course another enjoyable part of the job. 

5. How do you feel about your creations marking special moments in your customers' lives?

A lot of pressure (lol) but I absolutely love that the cakes are out in the world making someone’s day!  I’m so grateful for all the support and enthusiasm from my customers. It’s crazy to think that I started this journey just over a year ago and my cakes have been a part of thousands of celebrations already. During the lockdown, I know a lot of people couldn’t celebrate with their loved ones, so it was nice to hear that our cakes really made their day special.

6. What do you love to do to celebrate? If you could have a dream party, how would it be?

Me and my partner, Luke, love nothing more than cooking a nice meal and having our friends around whenever we have the occasion to celebrate but if I were to have my dream party, I would love to have a retro themed dinner party in the middle of the forest with dishes made with freshly forage ingredients. Something l like the scenes from The Grand Budapest Hotel meets Chef table meets Rick & Morty.

7. They say your home says a lot about you. If your home could speak, what would it say about you?

We renovated this commercial property to work and live in. Me and my partner wanted to create a space that we can both achieve our goals in. Mali Bakes is at the front. My partner has a workshop and studio out the back to make art and we live in the middle. Hopefully our house would talk about how hard we work and how much it loves the smell of good food and the sound of friends laughing.

8. Which cities around the globe are of particular influence to you?

I was born and raised in Bangkok so it’s the city that has influenced me the most. Our culture really revolves around food! We love bold flavours and bursts of colour and that’s what I have translated into the way I make and decorate cakes.

9. Is there anything else in your life now that provides a unique source of inspiration?

I get constant inspiration from the creative community here in Melbourne including artist, graphic and fashion designers. I love collaborating with other creatives such as XXflos who do the most amazing floral arrangements. I also just got a hold of some 1970’s original Wilton way of cake decorating books which has been a big source of inspiration for me.

In terms of baking, Pastry chefs like Natalie Paull from Beatrix Bakes and Hayley McKee from Sticky Fingers Bakery have also been big inspirations on how I designed my menu. They are such amazing pastry chefs who really influence me to use seasonal and real ingredients in my baking.

10. Would you rather eat a delicious-looking cake with an average taste or an average-looking cake that is delicious? Why?

Flavour for me comes second to none but there’s also nothing wrong to be both!

I think the visual aspect plays an important part of how we perceive the taste. A lot of food these days is digested through photos on social media first but at the end of the day how it tastes should be the most important thing.

11. If you could be any icing in the world, which would it be and why?

I think I would be Italian meringue buttercream with toasted white chocolate. Italian meringue buttercream is my favourite thing. It is buttery and so pillowy and not too sweet. My personality is probably best reflected as toasted white chocolate.

12. Many people use baking as a way to relax and be creative outside of their routine. What do you do when it’s time to pack away the baking tools and relax?

Us chefs spend long hours on our feet so a bit of yoga after work helps me wind down. Even though cooking is my job, I still love cooking when I get time so preparing dinner with a glass of wine is something I find so relaxing. Me and my bestie, Rara, love to get together to practice mixing music for a little DJ collab that we do sometimes.

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