In today’s Student Spotlight, we’re bringing you Samantha Olson from Sweet Samantha Cake Designs.
Samantha runs a cake business from home while juggling the amazing task of being a mum of three. Having a cake business allows for the flexibility to fit in around school hours, extracurricular activities and medical appointments for Sam’s son. Prior to having children, Sam worked within a range of industries including automotive, retail, finance and insurance as an Account Manager/Sales Trainer.
How did you get into cakes?
You know that old cliche “bored housewife”? Well that was me!”
I found myself making cupcakes and cookies to take to playdates or to the park to share with friends. My friends kept saying how yummy they tasted and that I should start selling them.
I unexpectedly fell pregnant with my third child and due to morning sickness had to give up making cakes for a while. During this time I discovered I was supposed to have a Food, Health and Safety Registration with my local council. I set out getting in contact with my local EHO, doing a food safety course online and finally having the council view my premises to grant me the approval. I then officially started selling cakes from my home kitchen! Friends were asking me to make cakes for their kids, just by word of mouth I started getting busier and busier.
What made you decide to take an online course?
Even though I have been lucky enough to attend two in-person courses with Thao at Don’t Tell Charles, I still wanted to further my knowledge and hone in on the skills I had learnt in person. Square cakes was one I was ready to finally learn and conquer, so online it was!
I love that the online course is one I can continually look back on, re-watch the videos and check in on myself that what I’m doing is resulting in the best and cleanest outcome. Further to that, some of the shorter online courses have been invaluable in learning safe and correct techniques without wastage to make isomalt sails, to temper chocolate or to expand the flavours I offer my clients. Not to mention the confidence to experiment with different flavours and combinations.
What DTC course have you enrolled in and how have they helped you?
I have enrolled in The Versatile Baker, Easy Isomalt Decorations, Salted Caramel Everything and Buttercream Cake Mastery courses. The Versatile Baker course has been great to expand my flavour offering to my clients and confidence to experiment with different flavours/combinations. The isomalt and chocolate decorations courses helped me to make cool shapes like the isomalt ‘bowl sails’, and to know I was doing it safely (That stuff gets HOT!). The chocolate decorations course was clear and simple which allowed me to learn how to temper chocolate, to take my chocolate decorations to a new level.
I also completed the Buttercream Cake Mastery course. As amazing as attending an in person workshop is, having all that knowledge in an online course where I can continually turn back to is great! Whenever I’m struggling I’ll open up the course, re-watch the videos, read the notes and slow myself down to work out what steps I may be skipping. This course was also purchased to help me conquer square cakes! I still watch the video for squares when I’m decorating a square. Thao’s courses are clear and simple, I always knew they would be the right courses to help me!
What advice do you have for people starting out in their modern cake making journey?
Step 1, purchase the Buttercream Cake Mastery course then practice, practice and PRACTICE!
Test out your recipes and techniques and have complete faith in yourself. Family and friends make great cake testers, they’re also your biggest supporters and the best cheer squad around!
Make sure you speak with your local council, register your kitchen and insure yourself and your business! Once you are ready and set to go get selling! Most importantly, enjoy what you do!
Check out Samantha's work
Any cake disaster story?
Ahh, that one time when I didn’t know that tall cakes need supports… that time when I took on an order I shouldn’t have. Thankfully it was for a friend and all was forgiven, but semi toppled cake photos will haunt me for the rest of my caking days!
Connect with Samantha
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