Meet Raymond Tan, the mastermind behind the MOST ADORABLE treats on Instagram! We came across his Instagram a few months ago and ever since then, we have been utterly obsessed with all of his bakery beauts! From his floral and shattered ‘sugar glass’ cakes, to his watermelon and cactus cake pops, we’ve come to the conclusion that if we’re ever in Melbourne, we’ll be asking him to make us cakes to last us a century!
Go ahead, toot your own horn; tell us about yourself!
Hello! My name is Raymond Tan and I’m a recent graduate and an avid home baker. Hailing from a small town in Malaysia and I am now calling Melbourne my home. I’m always passionate about food and am curious enough to keep discovering, thinking, and approaching them in my own mad way.
When did you first become interested in baking? What about baking specifically appealed to you?
Baking is a product of my procrastination which started about two years ago when I was finishing my master’s degree in accounting. I’ve always enjoyed cooking and I love cooking and making desserts for my friends and family. That year, I set myself a challenge to bring a cake or dessert every time I was invited to a party. My first birthday cake was a tribute to one of my favourite Instagram friends, Katherine Sabbath, and the rest was history.
I'm completely self taught. I've learned mostly from recipe books and a lot of YouTube.
Do you think Instagram has helped your career? In what ways?
Well, I wouldn’t see this as my career just yet, but it had definitely given me the exposure I wasn’t expecting. My humble hobby for baking has since then grew even bigger and Instagram has definitely connected me with other bakers and brands which I get to work with creatively.
When did you start gaining traction on Instagram? What do you think drew people in to your page?
Probably at the end of last year is when I started to get a bigger following and amount of likes for my photos. I think what drew people in is my wacky and ridiculously coloured creations. I also started curating my page to be more consistent and brightly coloured.
Do you take your own pictures or does someone else take them for you?
I take my own pictures with my trusty iPhone 6. Believe it or not, most of the shots I’ve taken are usually pretty casual, almost accidental. It is quite a simple process.
What are two things you try to convey when it comes to your photos on Instagram?
I hope I bring joy and happiness in those few moments when people see my posts.
What has been the weirdest or the most fun client request you’ve had?
I find it weird when a client wants me to sketch a cake and that is because it is quite daunting to me as I can’t draw on paper. Most fun was actually not for a client, but my first market pop up with other bakers and patisseries in Melbourne. That really pushed my thought process and to get really creative with my bakes.
How do you come up with all your different themes and ideas?
Sometimes I’ll be given a theme when I’m doing more serious wedding cakes. When I’m not and am given a free pass to go crazy, my ideas sprout from things I’m into at the moment i.e. fashion trends, artwork, movies, & architecture. Anything really.
Describe your work area when you’re decorating.
My work area is pretty small. I live in a small apartment and I feel exactly like Rachel Khoo is her little Paris kitchen. When I’m decorating, I always have my 90’s pop hits on (well, mostly Spice Girls really). Kitchen tools that I really need is my Stand Mixer and unlimited amount of piping bags and spatulas.
What’s a common misconception people have about baking?
A common misconception is that baking is really hard and tedious, but most of the time, it really is not. Start with the basics and build your way up. All you need is a little patience and practice.
Any final tips for aspiring bakers?
See what other bakers are doing and think outside the box. Be ridiculous and have fun!