In today’s blog we take you inside Mali Bakes, the retro Melbourne cake studio of pastry chef extraordinare, Patti Chimkire. Patti’s colourful designs are an absolute visual delight and taste as delicious as they look! From inspiration to ideation, we chat to Patti about her design process in transforming a run down accounting office into a patisserie destination, and what’s next for Mali Bakes.
We have been following your incredible baking journey on socials over the last two years and are so excited to be shooting inside your pastel perfect studio today. For those who haven’t heard of you before, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Mali Bakes is a retro inspired bespoke cake studio. Our ethos is all about fun designs and flavours. We want to create cakes that are truly beautiful, delicious, and unique inside and out. Our studio is also open every Saturday for sliced cakes, so pop in and say hi!
What is the meaning behind the name Mali Bakes?
Mali is a Thai word meaning Jasmine and is also a very traditional name for girls. I have always gravitated towards this word since I was a little kid. There is something quite blissful and warm about it which is essentially the whole idea behind Mali Bakes. A beautiful cake inside and out that brings you right back to those sweet childhood memories.
How did you discover your love for baking, was there a defining moment?
My love of baking is an extension of my general love of food. It was my grandfather who introduced me to the wonder of the kitchen. He was a keen cook and loved sharing his delicious creations with everyone. I have magical memory’s spending time in the kitchen with him as a little kid. For the most part of my chef career, I worked in hot kitchens. But in the last year before starting Mali bakes I moved from the Kitchen at Proud Mary’s cafe to baking for them. That ignited my love for baking as I discovered that it is such a great canvas for me to explore my artistic side.
Your cakes are an absolute visual delight! What is your creative process when it comes to designing a new cake?
There is a fair bit of thought and work that I put into designing a new cake rather than just doing whatever is popular on social media. Most of the new designs strangely start with colours. For me each colour gives a specific feel and that guides me with the piping designs. I often have a play around with new piping nozzles to come up with new ideas and look for inspiration from cake decorating books from the 70’s and 80’s that I have been collecting. Often customers will send me pictures of their favourite art piece or embroidery from their wedding dress as a reference and this has been so much fun to respond to.
Your store front is full of so many beautiful textures from the marble floor to the pink stone bench tops. What was your inspiration for this space?
My partner, Luke did wonders renovating the studio. The building used to be a suit tailor shop back in the 70’s and we tried to keep most of the original features like the windows of the second room that is now the commercial kitchen and the dress shop windows that are now giant tertiums, we have birds of paradise in them at the moment.
The whole space was inspired and designed around the original marble terrazzo floor. It has pops of greens from serpentine and peachy pinks from rose quartz crystal that we absolutely adore. We wanted the colours of the studio to be fun yet more subtle than the cakes so the cakes can shine. For the walls we went for a nude terracotta pastel that continues down into the grouting of the vertical tiles that give the space so much more character. My favourite part of our studio is definitely the pink terrazzo counter that Luke built.
Some would bake as a hobby, since this is your full time job, what’s something you love to do outside of baking?
Because Mali Bakes is still very young, I don’t have much time for a hobby. I would say now I really enjoy learning more and more about photography (of the cakes which is still work related lol) It is pretty satisfying to be able to capture your creations in the way you have envisioned.
We have seen Mali Bakes go from strength to strength, creating beautiful cakes for some incredible events. What are some of your career highlights to date?
Since we started, we have had so many incredible opportunities come our way and I am super grateful for all of them. Some of my favourites have been making over 80 cakes for Gucci’s 100th birthday, being featured in Vogue Australia and we are about to make the biggest cake that we have ever done for Melbourne Food and Wine festival’s 30th Birthday.
What’s next for Mali Bakes?
We have a couple of secret squirrel projects and collaborations coming up that I can’t talk about so keep your eyes peeled for those. But I can tell you we will be trialling two new flavours on Saturdays soon. One is Honey chamomile cake, apple lemon curd, with honey buttercream and the other is Chocolate hazelnut cake, pear butter, whipped mascarpone, with maple hazelnut buttercream.