I probably follow a couple hundred bakers, cake decorators, food stylists, chefs, etc. on my various social media accounts. If you’re reading this, odds are you do too. I scroll through my feeds thinking to myself, “Cute. Cute. Oh, that’s cool. Don’t get it. Cool. Cute. Cute.”, and so on and so on. Every now and then someone stops me in my tracks with something really new, innovative, or interesting. Better yet, something with a new perspective entirely. That happened the day I scrolled upon something similar to this beauty.
This was something new. Something really different, but still very accessible. Something cool.
Katherine’s baking adventure is nothing short of a fairy tale. School teacher turned cake rock star all care of her Instagram account. Instagram and Instagram only.
She doesn’t even have a website.
There’s a bigger lesson here. Something related to our self-promoting-24-365-constantly-tuned-in-online creative atmosphere. Something kind of like, “If you bake it, they will come.”
Interview | Katherine Sabbath
In three words or less, how would you define your cake style?
Playful, wondrous, delicious.
What’s your favorite color and why? What’s your least favorite color and why?
I enjoy lilac (a blue-toned pastel lavender) because it’s feminine without being too sickening. As for colours that I don’t like, there really aren’t any! I see a creative purpose in all colours.
Where do you find inspiration for your cake designs?
For me, inspiration comes from absolutely everywhere! I love our natural environment and not to mention, I also love bold colours and flavours. To reign in it a little bit for you, a favourite source of inspiration close to my heart is the 1971 film, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory originally written by Roald Dahl and directed by Mel Stuart. I remember seeing that movie at a very young age and just being completely blown away by the fun and wacky possibilities of dessert! I also really love the gooey, slimy ‘dripping’ motif on the cover of “Goosebumps” novels!
Your instagram following is nothing short of impressive (including your own hashtag). Did you actively work to promote your work or is it something that happened more organically?
Actually, not at all! I always thought I’d be a high school teacher until the end of my days. It wasn’t until I started sharing my work with others and the wider Instagram audience that I realised there was a huge market of creatives out there who enjoy my sweet hobby as much as I do! I thank my lucky stars every single day.
Who are your favorite bakers and chefs to follow?
I have many favourites but I absolutely love Antonio Bachour (Instagram: @bachour1234) for his breath-taking and masterful desserts as well as gorgeous plating techniques, Caroline from Nectar & Stone (Instagram: @nectarandstone) for her very stylish images and feminine touch, and Denin from Spoon & Fork Sydney (Instagram: @spoonandfork_sydney) for her delightfully whimsical cakes and cookies.
With a full time teaching position, what lead you to dive into the cake and baking world?
I guess I’ve always been a self-confessed bake-aholic and love experimenting with new flavours and concepts! I find my happy place by creating thoughtful, unique and slightly crazy cakes and desserts for loved ones, my family and friends. I have also always enjoyed writing recipes and am passionate about sharing creative ideas with others. It’s been a very natural progression over the years.
When you’re not baking, what other arts or crafts do you like to partake in, if any at all?
I absolutely love all types of art and craft! One of my best friends, Kitiya Palaskas, is an amazing craft-based designer and teacher, so we’ve spent many afternoons crafting away together on fun projects such as pom-poms, giant piñatas, brooches and other neat tid-bits.
What’s on your play list when you’re working in the kitchen?
I love upbeat and interesting music when I’m baking, such as TV on the Radio, Interpol, Radiohead, How to Destroy Angels, Daft Punk and also a bit of hip-hop here and there. My favourite band of all time, however, is Nine Inch Nails and I’m also a huge fan of Norwegian black metal!
Can you share the best piece of baking advice that anyone has ever given you?
Cherish only the best quality ingredients you can afford at the time (and preferably local), cook with consideration and cook passion, taste test your food every single step along the way and don’t EVER compromise on flavour! Food should always taste as magical as it looks.
Which baking and pastry tools can you absolutely not live without?
Invest in a trusty cake scraper and definitely a cake turntable – they both can be found at very affordable prices in cake decorating supplies stores and make life so much easier when it comes to decorating cakes!
It’s 11pm, the fridge door opens, what are you going for?
All natural and lightly roasted crunchy peanut butter! Straight from the jar by the tablespoon. I’m hopelessly addicted to the stuff!
Katherine, I cannot thank you enough for your time and thoughtful answers. Willy Wonka, all natural crunchy peanut butter, and a little Daft Punk? Girl, you are welcome in my kitchen any day, any time.
Run, don’t walk, and follow Katherine on Instagram.