How I went from home baker to teaching 100+ cake decorating workshops all over the world

How I went from home baker to teaching 100+ cake decorating workshops all over the world

Hey guys, 

In celebration of my recent win of the Best Teacher Award by the Australian Cake Decorating Network and in line with my goal to celebrate every win this year, I thought it's only fitting to recap on my 'journey' (who am I, the Bachelorette haha) and tell you how I went from home baker to teaching over 100 physical cake decorating workshops in multiple countries in just 3 years. 

I started hobby baking from home in 2012 while working in an office as an Owners Corporation Manager. Wow, that was 7 years ago! After a year of doing that and totally loving it, I took the plunge and opened Don't Tell Charles Coffee & Desserts - a specialty coffee and dessert house. Mind you, when we opened I only knew how to make macarons and cupcakes. Fondant cakes were still predominantly the shiz back then and over time, I generally dabbled in and out of it with little interest. 


Don't Tell Charles Coffee & Desserts shop in Kensington, Victoria


The buttercream cake craze started in Australia around 2015 and that's when I jumped on board the buttercream cake train. Fun, colourful, delicious and 'easier' - what's not to love about them! Buttercream up until this point was seen as the cheaper alternative in cakes as it was less time consuming compared to fondant. Not to mention quite limiting in the design front. From this point onward began the revolution of buttercream cakes lead by Aussie rule breakers such as Katherine Sabbath. All of sudden, a buttercream valve opened in my heart along with a whole new buttercream lobe in my brain. Needless to say, that's when my modern buttercream cake obsession began. 

Don't Tell Charles soon became known for our super sharp buttercream edges, signature concrete finish and contemporary buttercream cake designs. In 2016, an Instagram DM from Singapore started my teaching journey. Yep, my first EVER cake decorating workshop was in front of 10 people in Singapore! That was April 2016. 


Don't Tell Charles first buttercream cake decorating workshop in Singapore


When words caught on that I did a workshop in Singapore, enquires began flooding my inbox for Melbourne cake workshops. The cafe was still operating at the time so I could only take 2-3 students per class in my kitchen. I did this between April - October 2016. Due to insatiable demand, we closed the cafe in October 2016 and opened Don't Tell Charles Designer Cake Studio & Workshop in December 2016 (same location). 

Since then, I've taught over 100 physical buttercream cake decorating workshops in our Melbourne studio as well as Sydney, Singapore, London, Auckland and Indonesia. I've also ran over 30 private workshops for students who flew in from all over Australia and the world including France, Nigeria, USA, UK, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Malaysia, Panama, Canada, Argentina, Singapore, Thailand etc. I'm still pinching myself listing these! 


Students' results from one of Don't Tell Charles watercolour buttercream cake workshop.


Our Don't Tell Charles Online School launched in October 2017 and up to date has enrolled over 6500+ students from over 30 countries across five online courses. 

Wow, it's absolutely surreal looking back on the last 7 years in less than 6 paragraphs! It's been an extremely exhilarating experience - stressful at times - but overall thoroughly rewarding. There were many milestones & memories that I can't possibly fit into words, so here is a video to celebrate our wonderful students and supporters who’ve been supporting and cheering me on every step of the way. 

If you have attended a physical cake decorating workshop with me or done an online course, I'd love for you to leave a comment with your location and which course you've done. I'd love to say hi and do a bit of reminiscing! 

Til next week!

Thao xo



Listen to my interview with Everything Is Teachable here

More on our DTC Journey here

More on our Online Courses here




  1. I asked for your online course as a birthday present from my husband. I was making fondant and american buttercream cakes but anytime I did a fondant cake it was more of a chore for me and American buttercream cakes although tasted good was just never smooth enough for my liking!
    Once I did your online course and perfected the buttercream from your recipe I no longer make fondant cakes and now only specialise in buttercream cakes. I was starting to lose a bit of passion for cakes but after your course it ignited my passion again and found my way, so thank you xo

  2. In Brazil you’re also a big success (:
    I enrolled in Buttercream Cake Master in August. Your work really inspires mine… thank you for everything!

  3. Black ganache in Melbourne 2017. I wanted to do ALL the courses but had to chose just one, it was an awesome day!

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