Mum takes the cake with farm venture
ROBYN Bargh is one busy lady at this time of year.
She is currently baking and decorating four ornate Christmas cakes for various organisations and individuals on the Downs in preparation for the big day of the year.
Operating Cakes by Robyn A on her and her husband, Rob's 21-hectare lifestyle block, Inglebourne, at Mt Molar, west of Clifton, Robyn has been putting in 24-hour days to get everything done.
Coupled with that, she has two young children, Charlie, 5, and Chelsea, 7, who are very involved in pony club, dance, and school/pre-school activities, so Robyn is surviving on minimal hours of sleep to achieve what has to be done.
"I want to spend quality time with my children at this time of year, especially leading up to Christmas, but I have been very busy with end-of-year celebration cakes, break-up parties and of course, making Christmas cakes," Robyn said.
Robyn started her cake decorating business in July last year, registering her studio with Toowoomba Regional Council.
She has a purpose built and very beautiful studio which adjoins her country home overlooking the rolling plains of Clifton.
"I wanted a space where I could cook, create, display and consult with clients," Robyn said.
The licensed cake decorator has always been involved in the food industry, working in Brisbane when she was younger at her parents' café at Toowong.
From there, Robyn managed several food outlets including KFC, Baker's Delight and Subway, before getting married.
Now she bakes and creates up to 12 wonderful cakes each month, including wedding, christening and birthday cakes. The most cakes Robyn has made is seven in one week, but that is not something she wants to make a habit of.
"I started out practising on my family," Robyn said.
"I practised for a couple of years before I decided to become official, and I did lots of workshops to learn the craft," she said.
"My first attempt was a massive strawberry that I made for Chelsea's 1st birthday. It was big enough to feed 200 people.
"I just went ahead from there."
When The Bush Telegraph caught up with her last week, she had a chocolate Kahlua cake in the oven and was busily baking chocolate cupcakes for her son, Charlie's pre-school break-up.
"I donate a lot of cakes to local organisations - probably too many, but I like to get my name out there," Robyn said.
"I have three categories of cake - standard, novelty and elaborate - and I can do everything from a standard birthday cake to a multi-tiered elaborate wedding cake," she said.
As well as finishing off her Christmas cake orders for the year, Robyn has a large tiered wedding cake to be created for a wedding in January.
"It is worth $700 as there is a lot of time in making all the flowers etc," she said.
"I haven't got enough hours in the day sometimes. I am very family oriented, so that's why I work through the night.
"I put the kids to bed and then work all the way through. It is a real juggling act between cake making and school runs etc."
Robyn takes such pride in her work that she hand delivers every cake she makes.
"That makes for some great road trips for the kids and I," she smiles.
"I want to see my cake get there in one piece and a lot of clients pay me to deliver and set up."
She had sold cakes as far afield as Coolangatta and Stanthorpe, and can do almost any design her clients' desire, as well as making paleo and gluten-free cakes.
"About 50 per cent are my designs, but clients come in and say 'I want that' and they give me a picture. I have to research the design to see if it has a copyright on it," Robyn said.
"In this industry it's polite to compliment the original designer."
However, Robyn herself is a champion cake decorator, having won Grand Champion cake at the Toowoomba Royal Show in 2013, as well as tasting international success.
She travelled to England in November, 2013, and won a silver award as well as a highly commended at the NEC Cake International, which was a Sugarcraft, Cake Decorating and Baking Show held in Birmingham.
"I came home very excited and thought I should make a business out of it, which I have," Robyn said.
She is now one very busy mummy, dividing her time between children, farm and cake business.
"We grow our own vegetables, kill our own meat and make our own cakes."