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There are bakeries and then there are bakeries. Specialising in bespoke cake designs, Sticky Fingers Bakery is not your average cake shop. Owner and talented baker, Hayley McKee has a unique take on cake-baking that is leaving customers racing back for more.
Hayley’s delectable, custom-made sweet treats are exquisite on the outside, featuring rustic, native floral decorations, and equally impressive to taste.
With a distinctive outlook on core baking ingredients that filters through every dessert to exit the Melbourne-based bakery’s doors, Hayley’s creations are completely unique, through and through.
“For me, it’s all about finding lesser-used ingredients and folding them into classic baking recipes to create a unique and memorable cake,” she says.
“Cakes are the perfect vessel for inventive flavours and an ideal canvas for decorating- that’s why I love them so much.”
When she says, ‘lesser-used ingredients’, she means it! Sticky Fingers Bakery features a range of vegetables in their custom made cakes.
“Personally, I’m not a fan of super sweet cakes. I like earthy, robust flavours that pack a punch. Vegetables are a really great ingredient for this,” Hayley says.
“They add moisture and subtle texture, which is quite addictive once you start playing around with it. My favourite concoctions involve parsnip, beetroot puree and sweet peas.”
Not only are the cakes filled with rich, flavoursome veggies, they’re also adorned and infused with flora as well.
“Edible flowers are equally a big inspiration for me when I’m designing a cake. They’re great for infusing custard fillings, icings and batters.
“I’ve been known to use chrysanthemum, nasturtiums and honeysuckle, plus more traditional flavours of rose, lavender and cornflower.”
Purple carrots star in her Heirloom Carrot Cakes, organic camellias grown in Hayley’s garden provide fresh floral decorations and native Australian berries, seeds and nuts provide flavourful punches to Sticky Fingers Bakery desserts. Hayley’s bespoke cake designs have been infused with her own modern and innovative outlook on baked goods, from their core right down to their decorations.
“I’ve always steered clear of stiff icings and sugar craft decorations on my cakes.
“Although there is a lot of skill involved in making these more traditional looking cakes, I prefer icings that are rustic, textured and whipped.
“It only made sense to use edible herbs and flowers for my cakes, to match the free form cake designs. I always try to match the blooms to the event styling, and I love using fresh flowers because they celebrate the season and climate so perfectly,” she says.
The Salted Caramel and the Mojito might be some of the boutique bakery’s most commonly requested cakes but for Hayley, it’s all about The Chocolate Wattle Cake.
“The Chocolate Wattle cake is a real winner,” she says. “It’s a delicious, rich chocolate cake with an Australian twist,”
“I’ve used tiny tart, aromatic riberries and swirled them into the batter, with a deep chocolate/coffee spice from native wattleseeds. It’s such a favourite of mine; I always make extra portions of it so I can enjoy a sneaky afternoon tea.”
While there is a delectable list of baked goods one can order straight from the menu, Sticky Fingers Bakery specialises in custom-made treats.
“Luckily my customers trust me enough to concoct a custom flavour for them,” Hayley says.
“They’ll send me a few ingredients they’re big fans of (like gingerbread, lime or figs, for example), and from their list I’ll create something meaningful for them. I love this part of my job.
“I have had some very kooky decoration requests though! Everything from a ratty old 3D teddy bear to a flock of bright red, edible origami cranes. I prefer flowers,” she says.
Sticky Fingers Bakery has come a long way since its 2010 inauguration. What began as a cupcake delivery service quickly morphed into a unique bespoke cake design business. Now Hayley specialises in major events and weddings, with big names knocking at her door.
“Collaborating with The Australian Ballet has been such a thrill for me, because each time I work with them my cake is the centrepiece for some very special occasions for them,” she says.
“Romance Was Born and Alice McCall asked me to interpret their latest collection into a cake which is so much fun.
“Often, the colour palettes and mood of the clothes really dictate the look of the cake,” she says.
With business bustling and creative requests coming in daily, we can’t wait to see what unique sweets Sticky Fingers Bakery comes up with next!
Want to see more delicious baked goods from Hayley at Sticky Fingers Bakery? Follow their Instagram account @stickyfingersbakery.
Hayley’s Tips for Baking with Blooms
“Organic blooms are recommended, that way you’re 100% sure there are no nasty sprays or pesticides. Always pick what’s in season, and if picking from the wild, remember to leave some for the bees!”