published: icing on the cake
Written for the Sydney Morning Herald, originally published here. Unfortunately, because it was inserted into Diary I didn’t get a byline, but it ain’t about the fame, it’s about how much fun meeting Handi was, he’s the sweetest guy!
The man who made a zebra birthday cake for singer Rihanna has been named Australia’s cake decorator of the year.
Operating from a studio in Kingsford, Handi Mulyana has also decorated a cake for Oprah Winfrey, a 10-tier wedding cake with lights for his brother and a football-shaped chocolate cake for the Balmain Tigers' centenary that required six footballers to lift it.
However, his winning cakes were much less glamorous. The award, by the National Baking Institute of Australia, was more about technique.
"It’s much harder to do a plain cake. If it’s plain, it shows your skills because you can’t hide anything,” he said. Indeed, it was the simplicity of his designs that set him apart.
Taking a break from designing cakes for contests or celebrities, Mulyana told this week’s Good Living he liked to use piping, filigree and hand painting sparingly with figurines and flowers. Born into a fourth generation family of cake decorators in Indonesia, Mulyana, 36, migrated to Australia in 1994.
He began cake decorating at 13, has appeared on MasterChef and would love to have his own TV show. Meanwhile he is focusing on his made-to-order business and cake decorating classes.
"I’m kind of a little nervous carrying that title. I mean, it’s a big thing, being cake decorator of the year. But I’m honoured and happy,” he said