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Baking With Baby Buck: The Rise of Vintage Cakes


Written by Nabeelah Khan (she/her) @nabeelahkhann | Contributing Writer

Sugar, spice, all things nice… and a ton of frosting. These are just a few ingredients needed to create the whimsical vintage cakes that Tāmaki Makaurau-based baker Victoria Roebuck (@babybuckbaking) special-ises in. Adorned with glossy glacé cherries, ribbons, ruffles of frosting, and a pastel colour palette, her creations are almost too pretty to eat (almost).

These cakes have taken over everyone’s TikTok for you page and become the new go-to for birthdays, weddings, and celebrations, evoking Sofia Coppola's distinct Marie Antoinette aesthetic. With numerous bakers across the country adopting this trend, cakes that were once a luxury reserved for the wealthy are now a centrepiece of celebrations. You don’t need to be a French aristocrat to have your cake and eat it too.

Victoria initially started her cake business, Baby Buck Baking, as a side hustle to support herself through university. "When I was running the business part-time during my degree, I often contemplated whether I should drop out to pursue Baby Buck full-time, but I wanted to see my degree through."

Before Baby Buck, Victoria had been baking since she could remember. Her previous experience of baking and decorating various goods for friends and family’s birthdays made it easier to attempt the more ambitious designs of vintage cakes. “I decided to try my hand at vintage cakes during the 2021 lockdown," she says. “With ample free time, I thought it would be cool to learn a new cake decorating style. Although my first attempt was a bit of a mess, it only gave me a reason to keep decorating until I perfected it!”

These vintage cakes were initially inspired by the elegance and extravagance of the French rococo period in the mid-1700s. After seeing varying levels of popularity during the 1950s and 60s, they had a revival in the 70s and 80s. In the 2020s, the return of these cakes to plates has made lives a bit sweeter. Like many recent trends, the resurgence of this dessert owes much of its credit to TikTok.

During the 2020 pandemic, these cakes rose in popularity on #baketok, where South Korean and Japanese bakers showcased their vintage-inspired creations. Victoria also discovered her signature style through lockdown: the self-taught baker discovered the vintage cake trend through social media platforms, as well as drawing inspiration from international bakers like @thepinkcooker and @aprilsbakerlondon on Instagram.

“My previous experience in baking and decorating made it easier for me to attempt decorating a vintage cake,” Victoria says. “Initially, my cakes were a bit more conventional, but now I have the confidence to branch out and get creative, accessorising my cakes with more glitz and glamour.”

Victoria finds inspiration for her designs from her customers, who bring her the latest trends like ribbon embellishments on cakes, glitter, and Y2K accents - which she finds "SO CUTE." She explains, “A big factor contributing to my design inspiration is the custom cakes my customers request, often inspired by the theme of their party or the colour of their outfit." Everyone’s reason behind buying a cake is different – whether it's a whimsical birthday cake or an elegant wedding cake, each slice celebrates the baker's vision and the customer’s personality. Something so simple as flour, sugar, eggs and frosting transforms into a canvas for personal expression, like a painter with a blank canvas or a sculptor with clay.

The cake-making process involves various physically demanding tasks, including baking and cooling the cake bases, washing the dishes, managing multiple orders, and finally, decorating the cakes; it’s all very time-consuming. This was no easy feat when Baby Buck Baking was a side hustle instead of a fully functioning business. Victoria says that making the switch from part-time to full-time baking has been a “significant win”. The transition has allowed her more time to grow her business by launching a new website and hosting more cake-decorating workshops.

Now, with over 15k followers on Instagram, her vintage cakes have garnered a cult following and have even made their way into wedding photoshoots (Haute Weddings) and magazines (Fashion Quarterly). Regardless of whether vintage cakes remain in trend or not, there's no denying that these edible showstoppers rise not only in the oven but also to the occasion. In the infamous quote (or misquote) of Marie Antoinette, “Let them eat cake!”




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