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Cake Crumbs with Emma O'Hanrahan from Cakes By Emma

Cake Crumbs with Emma O'Hanrahan from Cakes By Emma

Posted by Nicole Tait on 6th Dec 2023

Emma O'Hanrahan of Cakes by Emma doesn't just craft stunning cakes; she also produces captivating videos of her creative process. And if her amazing cake designs aren't enough to draw you in, her delightful Irish accent narrating every video might just be the "icing on the cake" to prompt you to take a peek!

1. Can you tell us about the moment you first realised you wanted to start your own cake business?

I've always wanted to have my own cake business, I've been making cakes for 13 years now. Before I moved to Sydney from Ireland I had a little side business making cakes for local people. Then in 2017 I moved to Sydney and started working in a patisserie in 2018 making the custom cakes there. I was working there when the pandemic hit and it was during the second lockdown here in Sydney that my partner, Lewis. said to me that it was the best time for me to start the business. Two months later I handed in my notice and went fully on my own.

2. Starting and running a business can be a wild ride! What challenges have you faced while building your business and how have you overcome them?

I think the biggest challenge is trying to do everything! When you spend so much time in the business you don't have the time to spend on building the business. Lewis quit his job last year to help me with the business as I was doing a lot of markets at the time. In the last few months we've taken a step back from markets so that we can spend more time on advertising and navigating the wild world of social media.

3. What has starting and running your own business meant for you personally?

It has given me such a sense of achievement. Don't get me wrong, I still have imposter syndrome a lot!! But the job satisfaction is unbeatable. Seeing happy customers with their cakes, especially kids, gives me the best feeling every week. Running my own business has also given me a lot of flexibility. Working for other people makes it hard to take holidays when you want and being able to choose the hours I work is amazing too!

4. Can you explain the advantages of incorporating edible images into your cakes?

I love using edible images on my cake especially for logos. I do a lot of Guinness cakes and football teams so for me to try and make the logos out of fondant would be a disaster!! It also means I can take on more corporate orders for cupcakes with a company logo. I also do a lot of cakes with baby photos on them which are so cute.


5. We're curious, what design gets your creative juices flowing and why is it your favourite to work on?

I love making the lambeth/vintage style cakes! I find them very versatile and the colour combinations are endless. I've always loved doing piping work so I love these cakes. And the great thing about them is there's no such thing as too much piping so you could keep adding more and more decoration to them. I love doing them so much I'll be making one for my own 30th birthday this month.


6. Have you received any wild or wacky image requests that still make you smile? Do tell!

I was sent a picture of a man who was drunk and was lying in the bath to put on his birthday cake!! She did apologise when she sent it. I do love getting the baby pictures for a 30th birthday cake, they're always very cute.

7. Can you share some of your pro tips for printing and applying edible images effectively?

Make sure the image itself is of a good quality and that your ink is full. And of course use Edible Images Supplies paper because the quality is amazing!!

8. Self-care is crucial! How do you ensure that you're taking care of yourself while also running your business?

I do CrossFit 6 days a week. It's the hour every day where I can just switch off and get the endorphins going. I always try to get a walk in every day too. And as hard as it is, I try not to eat too much cake! I also try not to answer enquiries on a Sunday as well so that I have a full day off but that never really happens.

9.What career achievement are you most proud of and why does it hold a special place in your heart?

I think it was the first market that I set up at. It was a local market and I sold out of all my products. It was the first time I had the thought that I was running a proper business and I was so happy with myself. When I see the pictures of the stall on that day it's nice to look back and see how far I've come.

10. Are there any other EIS products that you love using in your work?

The Canon printer that I bought was one of the best investments that I made in my business. At the time I was getting images printed at a local ice cream shop and they were charging me a fortune for very low quality prints. I would recommend the printer to any cake maker.