Abbey Macfie owns Taranaki’s newest place to be. Taranaki Community News caught up with her to find out how she went from long distance runner, to star baker.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
My name is Abbey Macfie, I am the owner of Tartan Rose Cakery and Deli. I started out as a cake maker, selling cake at The Seaside Market by the slice, eventually getting so busy that I would be all sold out within an hour. I always dreamed being my own boss and of owning a beautiful space to bake my cakes and sell from, and this kind of spiraled into a full blown cafe!
I am so proud of my little shop, my staff, and of the food we make. I truly believe it is the most beautiful food in New Plymouth. We pride ourselves on making everything from scratch and using the smallest details to make it as pretty and as colourful as it can be.
You were in the sports industry and now you own Tartan Rose Cakery and Deli. How did that happen?
Years ago I was a long distance runner, working at the Recreation Centre at Victoria University. I think I pushed myself too hard during those running years and didn’t really take care of my body and eventually all the miles took their toll and I was constantly getting injured and in the end suffered a pretty bad stress fracture in my hip and I still have a hamstring injury that has never fully healed.
I had always loved to bake and was lucky at the time to work with a bunch of foodies who didn’t mind me testing recipes on them. I think deep down I knew that if I couldn’t be a runner, then I didn’t want to be in the sports industry and when a friend knew of a cafe back home in New Plymouth needing a baker I jumped at the chance and was fortunate enough to get the job.
I packed up my stuff and a month later had started a completely new career. About a year into the job I started Tartan Rose Cakes and eventually became too busy to continue to work full time. I got a part time job, then had to reduce those hours, then went full time baker and now own my own cafe.
Tartan Rose Cakery and Deli opened recently and it has been insanely busy. What’s a typical day look like to you?
I have been blown away by the amazing feedback from everyone so far! It still blows my mind when the cafe is full and people have gone out of their way to come here to eat.
I am not going to tell you what time I wake up in the morning, but it is pretty early! I get to work before all other staff and bake the scones etc and ice all the cakes to go in the cabinet that day. This takes a few hours because every little cake has its own unique decoration of fresh flowers, freeze dried fruits, nuts, seeds or toffee as well as all the fillings that go into each cake, which are all made from scratch.
Then the chefs and front of house staff get here and I get started on baking the cakes for the next day, and also for the cake orders that I have. Most days the cake cabinet sells out, so each day consists of A LOT of baking to keep up with everything.
At the moment it is wedding season so towards the weekend I am at the shop quite long hours baking and icing wedding cakes. The early hours and then once everyone has left for the day are my favourite times of the day to be at the shop though – I am a bit of an introvert and quite like baking away in my own little world.
Eventually I will hire a second baker to take over some of the cabinet cakes so that I can concentrate on the cake orders (and hopefully give myself a day off!).
What’s the most popular thing your offer?
The big cakes by the slice will always be the most popular. It’s how I got started at markets and is what I am known for. I think they are the most popular because the big cakes are where I can really play around with the flavours and add interesting, unique and delicious fillings.
What’s your all time favourite dish or recipe, and why?
On the lunch menu my favourite is the nourish bowl. It sounds silly coming from a cake maker, but I think because of my fitness background I tend to eat quite a healthy diet and the nourish bowl is just so good! It is massive, and you can add a whole lot of toppings and has the most delicious tahini dressing. It is also super instagrammable and love seeing people whip their phones out as soon as we place it on the table in front of them!
My favourite cake that I do is the espresso macchiato cake. I basically have coffee running through my veins these days and this cake has an amazing espresso cheesecake mousse and salted caramel in the centre.