Introducing Sydney Cake Decorator, Afra Abdeen of Oh That Be Good
Allow us to introduce you to the wonderfully talented, Sydney cake decorator, Afra Abdeen of Oh That Be Good.
I recently had the pleasure of meeting Afra over coffee, cake (of course) and scones at a quaint little Irish café in The Rocks. It was so lovely to hear all about the journey that led her to becoming a cake decorator.
A minimalist and lover of nature, Afra’s cakes reflect that rustic elegance that is rather quite refreshing to see in 2019. A big contrast from the traditional white frosted wedding cakes, which we are so used to seeing being served at weddings.
Founded officially in 2018, Oh That Be Good is soaring in popularity on Instagram and is now serving couples around Sydney with her delightfully delicious cakes.
Let’s discover more from the new girl in town, Sydney cake decorator, Afra Abdeen.
Hey Afra! Absolutely love the name of your business. What inspired you to start Oh That Be Good?
In December 2016, Oh That Be Good was just a way for me to commit to my creative outlet and stress buster, baking. I needed this to have the emotional capacity to support my family as my dad battled through cancer. In late 2017, he went into remission, and Oh That Be Good had become more than just a passion project thanks to the wonderful souls in my tribe.
So, in 2018, I formally registered Oh That Be Good as a business. It means two things to me. A personal challenge to learn the ropes of small business by doing, and a promise to myself to keep nurturing something I love.
How would you best describe your style of wedding cakes?
Rustic elegance. I am a minimalist. I love earthy feels and colour and try to weave these together in my creations. Nature really does provide the finest accessories with its abundance of flowers and foliage to suit any mood. I like having a general sense of a design and then adapting with the floral décor that I find to bring it to life.
Do you have any advice or tips for couples choosing a wedding cake for their big day?
Make it meaningful. A cake too can tell your story and represent a little bit of you. Add in your favourite flavours and colours to create an edible memory that you can remember for years to come.
What are the steps behind creating a wedding cake and how much notice or time do you require from the couple?
Like your special day, these cakes too require a little bit of extra care and attention. The earlier you can engage me, the better so we can curate a cake that feels right for you.
The process begins with picking the flavour of the cake and giving you a taste. Once we know the flavours we are working with; we can build the concepts to suit. Some cakes are light and delicate so may not be able to hold designs as well as others. Picking the flavour early helps navigate these architectural challenges. From here, we build the aesthetic.
What has been your favourite wedding cake to design so far and why?
One of my best friends got married in Sri Lanka and asked me to make their wedding cake with free reign on design. I collaborated with a local baker there to bring it to life and we had so much fun making it. There was a hiccup with the flowers on the day and we had to adapt around what was available. We found some beautiful Anthuriums, which neither of us had used in a cake before and it resulted in one of my favourite looks coming to life!
Do you have any particular ingredients or style elements that you love to work with?
Freeze dried fruits and flowers. The flavour imparted by natural fruits in this form is absolutely incredible. It allows me to work with my favourite products across seasons too. Flowers are a style element close to my heart. I work with edible and non-edible blooms; and am currently exploring new ways in which to bring them to cakes.
How much of an influence do wedding trends play a part in shaping your cake designs?
I must admit I don’t quite keep up. So, not a lot. I focus on the client and bringing their order to life in a meaningful way. For instance, I was inspired by the saree that one of my brides wore to her wedding, so designed a cake for a post-wedding function based on that. For another wedding, we incorporated the colours of the bride’s dress in the cake. Instead of matching the aesthetic of the venue, it complimented her as she stood by her husband to cut it.
What are your tips for choosing a beautiful wedding cake whilst keeping within a particular budget?
Think about whether the cake is the only dessert item or will feature as one of many. This will determine the quantity you actually need. From there you can build how you want it to look (two-three tiers; deconstructed; his and her cakes) and whether this leaves you with just enough or too much cake for your occasion. Make sure you understand the cost of ad-ons like flowers and toppers so you can separate that from the price of the cake. This will help you flex with your budget without compromising on the cake itself.
Alongside your wedding cakes, what other statement cakes have you created for parties or events?
I have a few favourite celebration cakes like this woodland themed creation, this pretty in pink number for a first birthday and this cherry blossom cake for a baby shower.
I believe that you are in the midst of planning bespoke cake decorating workshops at the moment. Tell us what else is next for Oh That Be Good?
I am currently focusing on developing experiences through cake so that I can share a little bit of my love for baking with others. This is where the workshops come in. I have launched my cake workshops as a mobile offering that can be included in celebrations like bridal showers and birthday parties. I am also experimenting with entering into a pressed flower style of cakes with edible flowers. There’s more to come there as I learn about working with them.
Thank you so much Afra for sharing your work with our audiences. It was an absolute treat to hear all about your inspiration behind creating beautiful wedding and occasion cakes.
If you are on the search for a Sydney cake decorator for your wedding, check out Oh That Be Good for cakes that look as good as they taste!
Feel free to contact Afra here.
Poonam is the founder and director of The Maharani Diaries. She has a passion for South Asian fashion and weddings. Drinking coffee is one of her favourite pastimes and she also enjoys donating her time for charity. You’ll often find her volunteering on the side for various community events.