A collusion between science and creativity, Toowoomba’s Pepperberry Cakes are a treat first to the eyes, then to the mouth. Owner Edmunda Stuart has a science background with a biomedical degree which she completed when her third child was born. Rather than pursue further studies for a career in medicine, she was searching for self employment that would better balance with the demands of a young family. With a love of baking combined with a joy of making things with her hands, Pepperberry Cakes was conceived in 2017.
Initially Edmunda thought of her enterprise as a hobby, but after six months of positive feedback from friends and family, the word spread resulting in a blossoming home-based business. “It gave me such a lot of confidence that people liked what I was doing,” says Edmunda, “and now I’m baking each week to fulfil orders to celebrate weddings, birthdays and corporate events.” So special are Pepperberry Cakes that The Great Australian Bake Off contacted Edmunda after spying her creations on Instagram. Staff at the television program encouraged her to apply to contest the fourth season, so she did. “I would have not thought about applying unless they reached out to me inviting me to audition. Although I won’t be in the program this year, the process has given me further impetus to expand Pepperberry Cakes. The audition involved sharing a sweet and a savoury dish that had some significance to our family. I wanted to include some of my family’s Tongan heritage and made a three-tiered tropical carrot cake and salted beef tart with coconut which is my interpretation of a traditional Tongan traditional dish.”
Despite today’s world of social connectivity, Edmunda’s inspiration does not come from looking at what other bakers are doing. Instead she trawls widely through art, interior and architecture sites and keeps a visual diary to chronicle her ever-evolving ideas. Entirely self-taught, Edmunda continually experiments with new techniques and designs. “That’s where my science background comes in handy; to try something new and not be constrained by the proper way to do things. It’s the orders that give me complete freedom that I really have fun with. I love to listen to what the client wants and then make something that not only is visually stunning but tastes amazing too. It can be nerve wracking, though, as I give a little bit of myself with each cake.”
In demand flavours include white chocolate and honeycomb, salted caramel popcorn, chocolate hazelnut, white chocolate and raspberry, and chocolate fudge, all available gluten free. But for the more adventurous, Pepperberry Cakes offers Persian love cake, red velvet, cookies and cream, rainbow cake and chocolate peanut butter flavours, even making vegan variations of selected flavours. Edmunda continually combines different ingredients to create new flavour sensations, a recent one being honey, lemon myrtle and fennel cake.
As well as working on a range of vegan cakes, Edmunda is setting up a website for Pepperberry Cakes that will include custom and off the rack cake and cupcakes that can be ordered online.
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