Who doesn’t love a sweet treat? Melina of Regnier Cakes gets to work in sugar heaven every day with deliciousness surrounding her. From creating decadent chocolate confections to pastries and macarons, Regnier Cakes has your wedding covered! Here is Melina’s story…..
Did you always love cakes and baking?
I have loved baking as long as I can remember. Mum said when I was little all I wanted to do was be in the kitchen and bake cakes, I even use to play bakeries in the sand when we would go to the beach on Christmas holidays. Recently I found out that my Great Grandmother (from a Bendigo pioneering family) won every baking and cake competition in the 1920’s, and as a result of this became the head judge because no one could beat her. So I guess it has always been in my blood.
How long did you train in all things sweet, before taking the plunge and opening Regnier Cakes?
I entered my first cake competition when I was in grand 5 (which I won for making the piggy cake from the Women’s Weekly cake book) and then when I was 14 started decorating classes at the local cake decorating centre. At 16 I started my baking and pastry apprenticeship. During this time I won apprentice of the year, represented Victoria in three national baking competitions, and won an award for my Belgian mud cake. So after 16 years in the industry I thought it was about time to put my skills and talent into my own business.
What is the cake flavour you are most often asked for?
My mud cakes are all made from my award winning recipe, and I add flavours to suit each client. Most couples choose at least 2 different flavours, from our list of over 30 flavours. However we are always inventing new cakes to suit a broader audience.
What are the decorations you find most challenging and satisfying to create for a wedding cake?
I love hand making bride and groom figurines, but the most challenging are the chocolate flowers. Each petal is made out of pure chocolate and then individually attached to a chocolate sphere to create a spectacular and unique flower.
What is the medium you enjoy working in?
I have spent a lot of time in my career working with chocolate. I was lucky enough to be trained and mentored by Kirsten Tibballs from Savour chocolate and patisserre school in my apprenticeship years. I continue to do classes with her to keep my love of chocolate and pastry alive, so I can create different and unique cakes for my clients.
What is the direction modern wedding cakes are taking?
As I was trained in cake decorating in the 90’s I have seen a huge change in the industry. Now clients opt for comical cake toppers, rustic buttercream styles, lots of flowers especially Peonies or David Austin roses, and black and white themes. I try to create unique designs that suit each client’s event, however there are still couples that just fall in love with a style and ask us to recreate them.
You recently wrote a post for us on gluten free wedding cakes. Are you seeing more requests for allergy friendly cakes?
I have had a peanut allergy all my life, and hate to think that some people can’t enjoy the heavenly taste of these wonderful luscious cakes and pastries because of allergies. That’s why I started working on some recipes that taste amazing that everyone can enjoy. At the moment we can cater for gluten free and dairy free clients, and I will start working on a egg free option soon.
What are the things you most love about your career?
What don’t I love about my industry, well – starting work at 2am wasn’t great. I have always loved starting with nothing but a pile of ingredients and creating something that looks and tastes so amazing. Then to top it off the reaction you get from your clients when they finally see the finished product. My husband has said many times he doesn’t understand how someone can be so passionate and in love with their job. I do believe my passion is what makes my cakes and business unique.
I see you also have a dessert buffet range of goodies. What do you offer and which are your most popular sweet treats for the dessert tables you create?
I started the buffets to satisfy my love for pastry. All the treats are made by us. We use the best quality ingredients, theme all treats in flavor and design, the ideas and designs are endless. Buffets are a good way of doing something a little different, have your dessert, bonbonierre and cake all in one amazing display. Our biggest sellers are meringues, mini pies and of course macaron.
Do you hire out the dessert buffet set up items and offer event set up?
I work closely with an event stylist (Taleana for toots and biddie) to help me design and set up the buffets, otherwise I wouldn’t have much time left to bake.
You also offer edible bonbonierres with all the packaging, cake toppers, fresh flowers – do you ever have time to draw a breath?
I just love baking so much that I like to be able to offer as many different options, so there is always something sweet at everyone’s event. I’m very lucky to know some wonderful people in the bridal industry that help with all the non-baking things.
What do like to do in your spare time when not living and breathing sweet treats?
Funny to say that my husband and I are big foodies, we love going around to wineries, breweries, and areas with heaps of fresh produce. Our lives don’t fully revolve around food, we do fun runs, I love going for bike rides and my hubby has a race car so there have been many weekends spent at race tracks.
Thank you Melina for sharing your story with us. To find out more about Regnier Cakes please go to their website.
All images courtesy of Regnier Cakes.