Cake maker Shaz Franz on Hopelessly Devoted Podcast

Ep10. Tell Your Story with the Cake, Shaz Franz, Blackbird cakes

Sally Mussared is the designer and founder of Mussared design studio creating luxurious handmade silk wedding gowns.

Shaz Franz creates beautiful, special and novelty cakes at Blackbird Cakes in the Macedon Ranges!

Photography by Fiona Handbury of The Garage Studio.
Recording by the fabulous Miss Bella Hazelton.

Time Stamps

00:35 Why Cakes?
00:54 Getting in Contact
01:48 To Your Taste
03:46 Making it Unique
05:18 Shaz’s Fav Weddings
06:30 From Youthful Love

We are here today at Blackbird Cakes in Woodend with Sharyn Franz.

Thank you for having us.

Thank you for coming along.

We’d love to just start with what you do here?

We make celebration cakes, so cakes for birthdays, weddings, parties of any nature. So we specialise in novelty style cakes and beautiful cakes, so that’s basically what we do, we make a cake.

Why Cakes?

Why this? What drove you to make these beautiful cakes?

Before I started working as a pastry chef, I worked in the psychology field, and I always thought it would be great to make people happy, and realised that psychology wasn’t the way to make people happy, so why not become a pastry chef and make fabulous cakes and make people happy that way.

Getting in Contact

Fantastic! I love it! When a bride contacts you, what’s the easiest way?

Either phone or email.

Then what happens?

We generally have a chat, and we always invite our brides and grooms into the shop, and we sit down and have a cup of tea, or a coffee, and some cake, and we talk about their wedding and what sort of cake would suit their needs, and then we design something generally together. They have ideas of what they do and don’t like and we suggest things, and then we design a cake for their special day.

Lovely. And how long in advance do you like that to happen?

We have had wedding cakes on the same day which was quite a challenge, and we’ve done wedding cakes with a couple of days notice, but we generally like at least a month, at least. We take bookings twelve months in advance, probably six months is an ideal time.

To Your Taste

What is the most unusual request you’ve ever had?

We’ve had a few, we’ve made some novelty wedding cakes of a bride and groom in a vegetable patch with their cat. We’ve made science fiction style cakes with Tardis’ and fireflies and things like that. We are making computer game cakes for weddings, and superhero wedding cakes, so its the whole gammet really, it’s generally for couples that want something a little bit different.

That sounds like fun!

It is, it is.

I love it that you enjoy doing individual cakes, that’s what we strive to do with our gowns as well, each piece is really individual and brings out the bride’s personality, so that’s exciting.

Absolutely, you’ve got to tell a story with the cake, and it’s about the bride and the groom, and their relationship together.

Yeah, that’s nice. We don’t get to meet the grooms.

Oh no you wouldn’t.

No, they don’t get to see the dress, so we don’t get to meet them.

We do, we generally do, and most grooms are pretty involved and 99.9% of them love the cake tasting aspect of our little consultation.
Fantastic. What would you say to those couples that you’re meeting, what’s your one biggest tip?

If they think they can put the flowers on the cake, or if they think they can do this, this and this, is… leave it to the professionals, and let us do our job and enjoy the day. Just don’t overload yourself, don’t think you can do everything on the day. You are busy enough as it is. Just take the time to enjoy the day.

That’s nice. So do you take the cakes and set them up?

Generally, we do. Most of the time we deliver the cakes and set them up. If people want to collect, that’s ok, we generally encourage people to send either their father in law, or somebody who needs to be busy.

[laughs]

Or somebody who needs a job, we say, send them down, and that way we have the cakes all boxed up for them, we instruct them on how to carry the cake, we place the cake in the car for them, we just give them a few tips about driving with a cake on board, and we haven’t had any problems.

Making it Unique

Oh great. What would you say is the most unique thing about what you guys do here?

We focus on exactly what we do, and we don’t worry about what everybody else does, we bake everything from scratch, we use the best quality ingredients we can find, we know where our ingredients come from. We are baking a quality product. And then we take the time to decorate in the same way. So people not only think our cakes look great, but when they eat them, they taste great too, so that’s what is the most important thing to us. So, baking from scratch, we’re very individualised in our service, we don’t have a catalogue, so it’s not cake A, B, C or D, it’s what’s your cake? Let’s talk about your cake. So it’s all about the individuals and the couple.

What would you say you’re passionate about?

I love cooking. I just love baking, and even on my days off, I go home, and to relax I’ll bake. Yeah. I love cook books and I love looking through cookbooks, and thinking about different recipes and trying different things so, I’ve very passionate about cooking and of course eating [laughs]. The wonderful by product of cooking is to eat, and sharing meals and sharing good times and we have wonderful family meals that we share together and they mean lots to us, and everybody picks their birthday meal, and it’s a big celebration around a shared meal, so I’m very passionate about cooking, it’s very important to me.

Shaz’s Fav Weddings

Fantastic. What elements do you favourite weddings have?

We talk to the brides and grooms and we get so excited about their weddings, and when we do deliver the wedding cakes, we are in and out, we call ourselves the stealth deliverers, because nobody sees us. We are in a out, and we don’t want to interfere on the day, but we get to hear so many stories about all these wonderful events they’ve got planned, from, I suppose their speeches, down to their decorations and the amazing venues we have in this region, are phenomenal so, we see the venues dressed up.

That must be wonderful, I don’t get to see any of that!

I know, it’s fabulous. We sort of get very exciting about their weddings with them, and then, we make the wedding cakes, and we deliver them, and we go home. And every time I talk to somebody about a wedding I think, Oh I wish I was going, but, at the end of the week, I get home and I put my feet up, and I think thank goodness I’m not going, because I’m exhausted [laughs].

I just love hearing about what special things they have planned, so anything from, we are making little figurines of a bride and groom in character on their wedding cake. I suppose the stories about their wedding, we love hearing their stories.

From Youthful Love

We love the stories of how they met as well, and we are now turning the stories that our brides, and now grooms share with us about how they met and are turning that into a book. Which is really exciting. A book of real life love stories.

How gorgeous!

What’s your love story?

My love story… I’ve been married for twenty-six and a half, nearly twenty-seven years, so I was about thirteen when I got married, no not quite but.. [laughs]. I was quite young when I got married, and I met my husband, he was working half way between my house and my best friend’s house. So when I’d walk to my best friend’s house, in my late teens, I’d walk past this handsome young fella, and it ended up we started talking and were friends for quite a while, and then we started going out. And that’s how I met my husband.

Lovely. Did you meet locally? Woodend?

No, I’m a Melbourne girl, so we’re refugees up to the country. So we’ve been up here for about twelve years, we moved up here when our youngest started primary school, and he’s going into year 12 next year. So we’ve been up here for his schooling life, but I think we will stay. We are not going anywhere. We love to visit the city, we lived in Thornbury for fourteen years after we got married, and then we moved up to Woodend.

You’ve done some truly amazing cakes, and I know Instagram is a great place to look at a display of some of the amazing things that you can do.

How do they find you on Instagram?

Blackbirdcakes. And we are on Facebook as well under Blackbirdcakes.

Cool. We’ll put in the show notes how to contact you for further details.

We’re here.

Thank you for your time.

Thank you for coming in.

It’s been wonderful!

Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for listening. I’m Sally Mussared. Remember, life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.