Dreamy cakes from a lady who dreams about cakes

Katelyn Catanzariti |

Entries in the 2024 International Cake Show Australia being held in Brisbane this weekend.
Entries in the 2024 International Cake Show Australia being held in Brisbane this weekend.

Eight years ago, Ekat Sallinger didn’t make cakes.

“Actually, I couldn’t even cook an egg,” jokes the founder of Ekat’s Cakes & Chocolates in Brisbane who now spends her time travelling the world as a cake artist.

Making a birthday cake for her son kicked off a huge shift in her career that has seen her soar to the highest heights in the increasingly competitive cake decorating industry.

“I just started making all these cakes and I’m just in love,” says Sallinger, who quit her corporate job to devote time to her art and now runs an international online cake decorating school and is flown around the world for her designs.

She is also one of the ten finalists in the Australasian Wedding Cake Designer of the Year.

“I dream cakes, I breathe cakes, I wake up in the morning and go to bed and I’m always thinking about them.”

This weekend Sallinger will be in her element doing cooking demonstrations, workshops and competing in the “Oscars” of the cake decorating industry – all part of the 2024 International Cake Show Australia.

Over the weekend, there will be more than 100 free demonstrations, celebrity chefs, huge sugar features, hands-on workshops and classes – as well as the country’s largest cake and cookie decorating competition (which amateurs are invited to enter), happening at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre.

It’s an opportunity to mix with other similarly passionate creators, says Sallinger. No small thing for a profession that involves a lot of solitary work.

“I’m a cake maker. I don’t really have a team,” she tells AAP.

“I work on my own and I have a part time assistant that comes a couple of times a week. Normally we all are quite lonely.

“I’m looking forward to catching up with my peers … events like that allow us to collaborate, to catch up with each other, to inspire each other, and discuss our challenges.”

Cake award nights like these are also crucial to Sallinger professionally.

The recognition is important to her clients who fly her from Paris to New York to Kuala Lumpur and the 10,000 students enrolled in her Ekat’s Academy online cake decorating school.

“It’s basically acknowledgement of our qualifications because they can’t be here, they can’t touch my cake,” she says.

“Having these awards and being able to showcase our skills is very, very important and a big deal.”

Interest in cake decorating has increased in recent years thanks to programs like ‘Bake Off’ and ‘Is it Cake?’, but it’s the competitive nature of decorators on social media that has really pushed the bar higher, Sallinger says.

“That’s why people go the extra mile,” she says.

“(That’s why they) do something more elaborate and extravagant.”

At this weekend’s event visitors can brave the Sweet House of Horror, stop to smell the roses at the Floriade Market or ogle the haute couture wedding cakes – each a minimum of a metre tall.