Eddie Tan faced a minor setback before setting up Cake Tella: He didn’t quite know how to make cakes. He had graduated from culinary school but majored in hot cooking, and his short stint at a mall kitchen didn’t particularly hone his baking skills. After months of measuring butter in his kitchen and an unwavering perseverance, Eddie is now an expert in the decorated world of sugar and frosting.
‘Back then [in February 2012], I started selling online. If I could sell two cakes a month, I was happy,’ Eddie reflects. When the 25-year-old plunged into the business full time, he proactively made sample cakes and distributed them to various cafés along with a price list. ‘I sealed the deal at espressolab and Kaffa Espresso Bar, and things just grew from there.’
Unlike most home bakers, he steers clear of butter cakes and focuses on mille crepe or alcoholic mousse cakes. Modernly presented, his cakes aim to surprise; you might find popping rock chocolate on the cake’s surface or a heady amount of whisky in the middle. The Bailey’s chocolate mousse and Kahlua tiramisu cakes are chilled, multi-layered and perplexingly crunchy in texture – no wonder they’re such favourites among Cake Tella regulars. Every swipe of frosting is rounded off evenly with a palette knife and caramelised nuts are arranged over the top for a contemporary look.
A conversation with a budding businessman doesn’t end without a bit of money talk. Eddie allocates a whopping budget for expensive imported ingredients like liquor, hazelnuts and mascarpone cheese, a disheartening reality faced by all home bakers. Still, Eddie very much prefers his line of work over a restaurant job. ‘I spent RM70k on my degree but a starting full-time chef only gets an average of RM1,200 to RM1,500. And you have to work six days a week,’ he says of the underpaid industry. Comparatively, making cakes at home is a luxurious alternative to working in a back kitchen, a fact that Eddie has happily resigned himself to.
Cake Tella currently supplies to espressolab, Kaffa Espresso Bar, TiPsy Brew O’Coffee @ SetiaWalk Puchong, Crave @ Oasis Square, Slurp @ 3 Two Square, CAFFEine; @ SetiaWalk Puchong and Ante Kitchen & Bar.