Our students aren't just cake makers.
They are modern cake artists

students image

About Us

Don’t Tell Charles is a contemporary designer cake school located in Melbourne, Australia. Known for our avant-garde and impactful designs, it’s never just cakes for us. We are motivated by our love for design in all its forms including architecture, interiors, fine art, food and fashion. Our work seeks to challenge the status quo. We aim to explore and push the boundaries between where one design field ends and another begins. Our students aren’t just cake makers. They are modern cake artists.

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Students worldwide
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Collective Social Following
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In-person Workshops

Our Story

We started as a small specialty coffee and dessert house in the inner suburbs of Melbourne. The first day we opened our doors on July 22nd 2013, rain poured heavily outside. Not a single soul walked by. Inside the warm, cosy cafe our cabinet was stocked full of cupcakes and our spirits were as high as ever despite the extreme lack of sleep.

In 2015, the first concrete buttercream cake was created in our kitchen. Little did we know this minimalist design would soon explode in popularity and Don’t Tell Charles would go on to become an industry leading designer cake studio setting trends around the world.

We taught our first in-person cake decorating workshop in Singapore in April 2016 and from this point, lead the charge in modern teaching of buttercream cake making through in-person and online courses, reaching thousands of students worldwide.

Nine years on from the humble dessert and coffee house, we now run a wildly popular Online School where we teach students how to find their unique creative voice and create modern cakes that differentiate themselves from the crowd.

Our Philosophy

Everything we practice and teach revolves around:

  1. Thinking outside the box by questioning traditions
  2. Valuing one’s self specifically one’s time, physical & mental well being and creative energy

With these two beliefs always in mind, we developed recipes, techniques and systems that focus on maximising results while minimising time. Efficiency is key in being able to reach creative success whilst maintaining a balanced life.

If you’re currently doing something in the cake kitchen that takes you 2 hours to do, chances are we can teach you to achieve the same results (most likely better) in 30 minutes.


Our Founder

Thao Armstrong is the founder of Don’t Tell Charles, creator of the original Concrete Cake and a leader in the contemporary buttercream cake movement in Australia and across the world.

Thao’s teaching philosophy focuses on valuing one’s time.

Over the years, she has developed a reputation for her highly efficient yet easily adaptable cake design techniques, processes and systems. Her goal is to help people reach their artistic potential by fast tracking their learning process.

Giving Back to Our


The social responsibility of a business is to give back to the world as it gives to us. At Don’t Tell Charles, we believe in giving back to our community. Community to us extends far beyond the network of students and supporters that engage with our brand. Our community are the people we share human experiences, goals and values with.


Read our students’ success stories
Jeannine Nguyen

Hi I’m Jeannine and designing cakes is my creative outlet. Designing cakes helps with my mental wellness as the challenges from my day job can be at times overwhelming. It’s allowed me to unleash my inner creative beast that’s been locked up for over 20 years (since I completed school).

Samantha Olson

Hi, I’m Samantha and I run a part time cake business from my home. Having a cake business allows me the flexibility to fit in around school hours, extracurricular activities and medical appointments for my son.

Vera Engelbertink

Hi, I’m Vera. I’m the owner and cake designer of Zoete Kruimels, a Bakery & Cake Studio in the East of the Netherlands. I’ve always wanted to own a storefront and in 2020 that dream became a reality.

Who is Charles?

Wondering what charles has to do with us? Well, read on.