Alison Race
Founder of Cake From the Heart

Hey it’s Ali here from @cakefromtheheart

What did you have for Breakfast this morning?
We have just entered into our second lockdown over the weekend due to COVID and I wasn’t prepared at all.  My fridge and cupboard are almost bare. I need to jump online to order some groceries. This morning my breakfast was very boring – peanut butter on toast with a coffee.  There’s something comforting about peanut butter on toast though, it reminds me of my childhood.

How long have you been Cake Decorating for?
Cake From The Heart will be turning 6 in October this year. WooHoo! I can’t believe how fast the time has passed.

Why did you choose Cake Decorating?
It’s funny because I wouldn’t really say that I ‘chose’ cake decorating, it kind of chose me. I never planned or imagined I would have a cake decorating business. I had worked in the corporate world from the time I left high school, in product management and later in event management. I suffered with a mild case of post natal depression after having my daughter in 2011. Really struggled with the fact that I had very little time for myself and the things I love to do. I lost myself for a little while.

I turned to cake decorating to fulfil my need to be creative. While I was decorating I was able to clear my mind and feel more at peace. Instead of being overwhelmed with the million jobs I had to do around the house and for my family. In 2013 I had my son and found my corporate job was stressful with little flexibility so I quit. I didn’t really know what I was going to do next but people started taking interest in my cakes. It evolved from there into a business and has kept on growing since.  I love the creativity and flexibility it’s offered me and my family. I feel so lucky that I’ve been able to make Cake From The Heart so successful!

In times of doubt, what do you do to get back into your creative zone?
It’s easy to start doubting yourself and feel imposter syndrome when you look on social media platforms and see all the amazing cake decorators and what they’re creating. When I start to doubt myself, or get stuck in a rut, I walk away for a little bit. Just getting out of the kitchen and focusing on something else or going for a walk and getting out in the fresh air always changes my mood.  Not to mention blasting 80’s music and singing along in the kitchen is also a sure way to get me back into a positive flow.

If I’m stuck creatively for ideas, I find inspiration in so many different areas. Wandering through the aisles of Spotlight, news agencies, shops and magazines to browse at fabric, cards, wrapping paper, magazines and fashion help me spark inspiration that I am looking for. I’m constantly looking at things around me and think “wow, that would look amazing incorporated into a cake”. Inspiration can be found everywhere!

Where did you learn your Cake Decorating skills?
I did a course with Planet Cake way back in the day which focused on the basic fundamentals of cake decorating. Other than that I’ve really just learned from being hands on and trying things out. I’ve never been the type of person who reads the instructions before doing something. I jump right in and work things out for myself along the way. Over the years I’ve experimented and practiced, practiced, practiced. I have always been a creative person though and loved art from early on.

What is your typical day like, what does it entail?
I thrive on routine although I haven’t always been great at enforcing it.  As I had kids and started my business I realised the value of having a strict routine for my days to keep me on track and so I’m working as effectively as I can otherwise the wheels tend to fall off the cart!

Working from a home based studio means that it’s easy to get distracted by other things that need to be done around the house or there’s the temptation to put things off and do them at night.    Because I started my business when my kids were so little, I would have to do things when they were napping or at night time after they were in bed. I’ve had many a late night as most cake decorators do, and used to always feel burnt out and overwhelmed. I got to the point where I had to make a real commitment to treat my business as a real business and put specific work hours in place and it’s been a game changer for me.
Our days start early by 6.30am. Once I drop kids off at school, I’ll do the bulk of my work between 9.30am and 2.30pm, before picking them up again and taking them to activities or commitments. I work hard during those 5 hours so that after that it’s all about family, getting stuff done around the house and relaxing. Although occasionally I do tend to emails and social media etc after hours because let’s face it, a sole business owner has to wear a hundred hats to get it all done.

We know Edible Art Paint is a medium you use, what do you love about it?
I use Edible Art Paint all the time! I love the flexibility of being able to paint on fondant or ganache, I love that I can create watercolour style illustrations or more opaque paintings depending on the look I’m trying to achieve.  It’s easy to use, consistent and the colours are beautiful!

What is your #1 piece of advice for the newbies in Cake Decorating?
My number one piece of advice to newbies is to try and put your blinkers on and just focus on what you love to do and what you want to achieve.  I mentioned before that it’s so easy to feel like an imposter and that you’re not good enough if you’re constantly focusing on what everyone else is doing and trying to keep up with them.  Of course, it’s important to know what the current trends are but try not to spend too much time focusing on external things at the detriment of moving yourself forward.  Trust yourself and create what makes you happy!

Who is your inspiration in the Cake Decorating world?
It’s so hard to choose just 3 inspirational people in the cake world but it always makes me happy when I see @earthandsugar beautiful work in my feed, the talent of @lumascake and I am just in awe of the business and brand that @jennaraecakes has created and find it immensely inspirational from a business perspective.

Who is your inspiration out of the Cake Decorating world?
Absolutely my family are my driving force and inspiration to be successful. I really want my children to understand that with dedication and hard work they can create and achieve anything they want from nothing. Art and bright things absolutely fill my cup and I love following @ettavee, @carrieschmitt and @chariwhimsy for their creativity.