Kat Medrzejewski from Halo & Horns

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. 

Your Name:

Kat Medrzejewski

What's your business?

Where are you from?

Sydney, Australia

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?

For as long as I can remember, I have always loved baking. Growing up, my mum would bake the most delicious birthday cakes for my siblings and me. As I got older, I couldn’t help but intrude on her cake-making process… I would take the freshly made cake layers mum had baked, stack them high on top of each other, and then try decorating the cake into something equally spectacular insight, as it was in the taste.
It was here my passion for cake design was sparked. I’d spend hours reading recipes and watching countless cake decorating videos on Youtube. Every family and friend’s birthday was always an exciting chance to put my skills to the test.
 
Come 2019, I decided to take a leap, and transform what was a hobby into my very own small business. There came Halo & Horns, and I haven’t looked back since!

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?​

Hmm tough question! I think there have been lots of mini successes and achievements that I have celebrated along the way… Building a website and hitting a humble 1k following pops to mind. But of late, I feel like taking on and completing wedding cake orders is such an achievement. I feel like it is such a momentous occasion for a couple, and the fact that they love my work and trust in me enough to create a cake for their special day is seriously such an honor. It’s a niche market I’m really excited to delve into more.
 
Also… I’d feel like I was lying if I didn’t mention thinking that every successful tiered cake delivery is a massive achievement haha!
Kat's work before taking any DTC courses

For as long as I can remember, I have always loved baking. Growing up, my mum would bake the most delicious birthday cakes for my siblings and me. As I got older, I couldn't help but intrude on her cake-making process...

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.

We'd say that's an improvement on her drips!

Do you have a favourite cake you've designed?​

Is this how a parent feels when you ask them to name their favourite child? This is hard!
 
I don’t know that I can name a favourite… it changes all the time! I do have a really soft spot for all my Disney themed cakes, but I am also really loving making beautiful tiered wedding cakes. My latest wedding design is up there in my favourites.

How about a favourite cake decorating style?​

I honestly think I am still figuring this out! Right now I am enjoying the variety of my designs… I love that I can go from a design that has a really fun and playful theme to something that is completely different and really refined, beautiful and elegant.
 
I’m sure I’ll eventually find what it is I like most, but for now, I’m happy exploring a range of design styles guided by the conversations I have with clients.

Besides cakes, what other types of bakes do you enjoy creating & decorating?

I don’t advertise this all that much at this stage, but if a client requests it, I will accompany a cake they are ordering with cupcakes to match.
 
Apart from that, I did build my business in its very early days by baking cookies that were made from cashew butter. I sold these wholesale to local cafes which was a cool experience, but having done it, I much rather steer clear of wholesale and just stick to what I love most… CAKE 🙂

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

Courses Kat is enrolled in

Buttercream Cake Mastery Course Thumbnail Image
The Versatile Baker Course Thumbnail Image
Cake Care and Cutting Guide Templates Course thumbnail
cake Sizing System Course Thumbnail image
Salted Caramel Everything Course Thumbnail image
Easy Isomalt Decorations Course Thumbnail image

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