In today’s Student Spotlight, we’re bringing you Kat Medrzejewski from Halo & Horns.
A self-proclaimed “mixed bag,” she’s the one-woman show behind her small cake business! In her day job, she works as a primary school teacher, specialising in physical education and is also a coach at her local Cross Fit gym.
What's your business?
Where are you from?
What's your background?
I have been a primary school teacher for 8 years now. I initially worked as a full-time classroom teacher, but as my baking hobby took off and I slowly transitioned into starting up my own business, I decided to cut back to a part-time role. So for the past 3 years, I’ve worked as a part-time primary school teacher, specialising in Physical Education.
What role does cake design play in your life?
I started Halo & Horns as a side hustle in 2019 alongside full-time teaching. My business is something I am continually working towards growing, so I currently balance the business with a part-time primary teaching role. In the not too distant future, I hope Halo & Horns can become my sole focus and source of income; receiving my undivided love & attention.
How did you get into cakes?
How do you find working with buttercream in your climate?
I’m based in Sydney, so more often than not, working with buttercream is completely manageable. A hot summer’s day does make things slightly more difficult, requiring a bit more care and time, but usually nothing a bump up of the air conditioner can’t help with!
What has been your biggest achievement so far?
Where do you see the future of your business (or cake-making)?
My dream right now is to have my own cake studio. I’m not too fussed about a storefront, but I would absolutely love to have my own creative space that isn’t my home or a rented kitchen. Just a really cool boutique space to obviously design, bake and decorate, but also to meet with clients and build relationships. Particularly for bigger and more significant events such as weddings, where I can discuss design ideas, taste tests etc.
I’d love to make ordering a Halo & Horns cake a real experience for the customer, not just a transaction through a string of emails. I think a beautiful space to meet would really help in achieving that.
Any cake disaster story?
Oh boy… thankfully, I don’t yet have a disaster story big enough that it would trump all others, but I do have a handful of minor disasters in the kitchen! These include things such as forgetting to add baking powder, accidentally using salt instead of sugar, and mistakenly having the oven set to ‘fan grill’ instead of ‘fan bake’ during baking.
One time I also included an acrylic cut number topper on a cake, which was in fact the incorrect age of the client. My soul may have left and hovered over my own body having had that brought to my attention! Learning to laugh and not cry is really key when these things happen.
Do you have a favourite cake you've designed?
How about a favourite cake decorating style?
Besides cakes, what other types of bakes do you enjoy creating & decorating?
Had you taken other baking courses before?
Nope! Just a lot of Youtube.
What made you decide to take an online course?
Two simple words… wasted time. I was wasting so much time! Both in research and in the application. I would scour the internet for hours at a time looking for foolproof recipes, and I would watch countless YouTube videos on techniques, tips, and tricks.
Then, as if I hadn’t already spent enough time doing that, I would spend many more frustrating hours wrestling with failed buttercream, trying to salvage a cake that refused to cooperate with the aesthetic I so desperately desired to achieve.
So I came across Don’t Tell Charles. How does one cross the path of that sleek concrete finish or those sharp buttercream edges and not instantly want a piece of it?! (both literally and metaphorically speaking)
What DTC course have you enrolled in and how have they helped you?
I have completed many! The Buttercream Mastery Course, the DTC Vanilla Cake Bundle, the Chocolate & Red Velvet DTC Cake Bundle, DTC Cake Serving & Sizing System, DTC Salted Caramel, and the DTC Isomalt Decorations Online Course.
The Buttercream Mastery Course was a complete game-changer for me. It covered everything I was after, from baking to buttercream and decorating. It helped me to master my efficiency, maximise my time’s worth, and most importantly equip me with the skills and subsequent confidence which was necessary to thrive while delivering some of my best work!
The DTC Cake Serving & Sizing System was also invaluable. The cake-cutting guides and serving number charts wipe out all the guesswork! I was done being overwhelmed by all the inconsistent information I found online regarding cake sizes and the corresponding amount of serves. I wanted something standardised and simple! With the DTC Cake Serving & Sizing System, I said goodbye to worrying if I’d advised a client on a cake that would potentially be either too small or too large to cater to the right number of guests. The system is simple and efficient. It allowed me to completely streamline and simplify my cake size and serve offerings.
All other courses have provided fantastic methods and recipes which I have been able to harness and adapt to best suit the needs of my business. The entire DTC system and its philosophy; to focus on “maintaining quality while maximising efficiency”, really is what people in the modern cake-making world desperately need.
What advice do you have for people starting out in their modern cake making journey?
If you are really wanting to improve and excel, I would say to actively seek out some form of education or mentorship to assist in your upskilling. Courses such as those found in the DTC Online School are an excellent means of doing this! Don’t waste your own time figuring out and doing what someone else has quite literally already done for you. I’m sure there are other ways to better spend your time, particularly if it is a business you are trying to get up and running.
A course and/or mentor is a great way to attain knowledge, guidance, skills, and recipes. This knowledge will help to establish a solid foundation, where you essentially equip yourself with the methods, tools, and confidence necessary to go off and make things your own; adapting your learnings to suit your needs wherever you are in your cake-making journey.
Check out Kat's work
Connect with Kat
Courses Kat is enrolled in
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