21 August 2023

Let them eat cake! Offcuts from incredible creations help raise money for local charities

| Keeli Royle
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Offcut boxes with cake pieces in containers.

Kylie Montgomery from One Cake Down sells boxes of offcuts to raise money for local charities. Photo: One Cake Down.

An Illawarra cake designer has turned the offcuts from her incredible creations into a pathway to give back to the community and support local charities.

Kylie Montgomery has added some sweetness to her loyal customers’ most special moments for almost a decade with her delicious and detailed designs.

“It’s all custom-made, there’s nothing ready-made,” Kylie said. “It’s bespoke cakes, fancy weddings and birthdays, nothing simple.”

Kylie opened One Cake Down in Koonawarra eight years ago after spending most of her working life in finance.

The career change was sparked by an unplanned trip to New York’s Magnolia Bakery years earlier.

“There was a line-up outside,” she said. “And our thing for the day was, if we see a line-up outside a shop we’ll line up and see what’s going on.”

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She was in awe of how crazy people were over a cupcake, and after buying the bakery’s book she was hooked and would spend all night in the kitchen.

Self-taught, Kylie went from taking cupcakes into her old job and baking for her friends to becoming an award-winning wedding cake designer and making impossible ideas a reality, such as a cake replica of Wollongong Private Hospital.

“That took hours and I had photos all along the walls here,” Kylie said. “If you looked at the cake and you counted how many tiles were across, it would be the same as the actual building.”

Accolades are not what Kylie prizes; she cherishes the customers that keep coming back to make her a part of their family’s milestones.

“There’s a lady … and I did her engagement cake, and then her wedding cake, and then I did the baby shower and now this week I’ve got her kid’s first birthday,” she said.

Kylie next to a wedding cake she made.

Kylie won the award for the best wedding cake designer in the Illawarra and Southern Highlands at the Wedding Industry Awards.

But with all these designs there was a lot of wasted cake being thrown away.

“It was bags and bags and bags and bags of the stuff,” Kylie said.

She saw other businesses selling their offcuts in plastic containers but thought that was counterproductive if she wanted to reduce waste.

“I thought if I can get everything recyclable it fits in with that purpose of being resourceful and giving back to the planet,” Kylie said. “The lid, the spoon, the bag, is all recyclable.”

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And with some help from her colleague Alia Reid, Kylie realised she could go one step further.

“I thought if I sell the offcut boxes, I can keep a bit to go back into the packaging and then donate the rest,” she said.

Every Friday at 4 pm One Cake Down releases the flavours and number of offcut boxes available, ready for pick-up on Saturday morning.

“We didn’t expect for it to go so well, we expected to sell a few boxes,” Alia said. “It got to the point on the Fridays that people are messaging an hour beforehand.”

They’ve donated hundreds of dollars to local charities such as Talk2MeBro, Need a Feed, Best Friends Forever Rescue, Barstool Brothers, Escabags and Paul Scully’s Book Drive.

Cake replica of Wollongong Private Hospital.

Kylie made a cake replica of Wollongong Private Hospital.

“My thing is that it has to be local and I have to see them doing something,” Kylie said.

“There’s been a lot of charities where we’ve gone, ‘Wow, that’s a really great charity but they are already receiving a lot of exposure,'” Alia said. “So we’re trying to find charities that people aren’t aware of.”

Alia said when their regulars bought the offcut boxes, they also discovered organisations doing great things within the community.

“That’s the idea, go look at their page, follow the link, find out more about it,” she said.

The business also sponsors a Roller Hawk and contributes to fundraising events for the i98FM Illawarra Convoy.

“I don’t think it should be all about take, you should be able to give as well,” Kylie said. “And it just fits with the values of the business.”

To stay up to date with each week’s offcut boxes, visit the One Cake Down Facebook page.

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