Happy Feature Friday!
We absolutely love today’s feature with the amazing baker, Vickie Liu. We can’t get enough of her creative, adorable, and often funny cookies amongst other treats! She gives cookies such personality and her Instagram filled with cookie characters and shapes is sure to keep you looking and “wowing” for hours! We talked to her to find out more about how she found her baking talent as well as how she creates epic baked goods and a picture perfect Instagram feed.
: Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got your start in baking.
: Baking has been an interest of mine since high school, but back then I just made (un-appetizing looking) cupcakes for friends or family when I had the chance! After graduating university from courses I wasn’t passionate about and no full time job – I decided not to do my Masters in Architecture, and instead rekindled my love for baking and have been addicted ever since.
I’m currently working a part time job unrelated to my field of study, and baking part time. This includes taking custom orders, working with small businesses and brands, collaborating with other creatives, guest blogging and a little bit of styling.
: What do you love about baking and what makes you keep wanting to bake day after day?
:I love the creativity involved! Art was always my favourite subject at school, and I even studied design at university. Despite that area of my life not working out as expected, I’ve had the opportunity to apply my knowledge and creative process through baking instead. I enjoy working on challenging projects and custom orders to push my own limits. I always ensure I have time to work on personal projects too.
: You make the most fun cookies! What made you want to focus on cookies and create them in various shapes, characters, and phrases?
:Thank you! Cookies are just so much fun and there are endless possibilities; and I find icing the cookies so therapeutic (though this isn’t always the case! Haha). I also like working on a smaller scale, as opposed to large cakes – which I find quite intimidating!
When I got back into baking, I also started reading quite a lot of blogs and watching Youtube videos, which is where I discovered SweetAmbs (cookie queen!). She made everything look so easy, and I suppose I just wanted to be as skilled as her – and take cookie decorating to another level.
: Besides cookies, what are some of your other favorite things to bake? Any favorite recipes?
:I do love making cakes, but I’m just not that great at them! I have so much respect for self-taught home bakers who are killing it in the cake scene right now. I also enjoy making baked donuts and anything ombre! The finished result is always worth the hard work.
: Tell us about some of the baking projects you’ve enjoyed the most.
:I always have fun coming up with ideas for custom cookie orders, especially if they are out of my comfort zone and it’s something I have never done before! I love collaborating with other businesses or brands, even if it’s just for a little bit of fun. I think one of my favourites is still my Studio Ghibli collaboration with Jen from Bakedown Cakery (@bakedowncakery on Instagram) – where Jen used my cookies to adorn a gorgeous 3 tier cake!
I also enjoyed shooting a stop motion video for Magnum Australia – even though there was no baking involved. It was completely new to me and out of my comfort zone, but I think it’s definitely an area I want to continue to explore in the near future (especially after I get my own SLR camera) haha.
: What is the process like when you decide to bake something?
:It really depends what I am baking for. If it’s for a customer, they usually give me a theme, colour palette or an idea of what they want – and I go from there! If it’s for a collaboration, we usually just brainstorm and bounce ideas off each other. If I’m baking for personal projects and experimentation, I usually just go with the flow and see what happens haha. But no matter what the project is, I will usually start with a sketch just so I have a starting point.
However, sometimes an idea may look great on paper and in my head, but I just don’t execute it well enough. In that case I might just play around a little with the icing and see what I can come up with. It doesn’t always work out which can be frustrating, but sometimes failures lead to even better ideas.
: We could look at your Instagram for hours! How do you curate the perfect looking feed and show your baking creations in the best light/composition?
: Thank you so much!! I try and look at the full picture rather than just the individual photos. For instance, if I have a photo that is predominantly blue, I won’t post one with a similar colour palette directly next to it. I’ve always been a bit of a perfectionist, and I suppose studying Architecture didn’t help with that haha.
I also only post photos taken with natural lighting, and I like to have clean backgrounds in most of my shots, just so the baked goods are the focal point. Using the same or similar filters each time also helps to make the photos come together as a whole.
: What has it been like getting so much attention for your amazing creations?
: It was unexpected! I only started my Instagram because some of my friends (kindly) forced me to, haha. Originally it was just a personal Instagram, where I posted photos from my travels and everyday life. It wasn’t until I started baking and posting my work, when random people started following me and leaving kind comments! That definitely motivated me to bake and experiment more, and has gotten me to where I am today. I feel so lucky to be part of such a supportive community, and it has also been a privilege to connect with a variety of like minded people!
: What’s next for you? Where do you hope your baking career goes in the future?
: I’m only doing this part time at the moment, and even though there is a long way to go, I would love to own my own studio one day. Ideally it would be a place where I can bake and shoot, share my ideas through a blog, perhaps run cookie decorating workshops, and also work and collaborate with more creatives! I would also love to travel more, and continue my #bickietravels series in various parts of the world!
: Any advice for those just getting their start in baking or hoping to make a career out of it?
: Be patient and don’t give up! Just remember that most Instagram accounts are extremely curated, and many of us don’t post our failures. So keep practicing and don’t be afraid to experiment and try new things. Also, don’t be scared to meet new people and collaborate! One year ago, I was so hesitant to meet people from Instagram, but now I’ve become great friends with some awesome and talented individuals (who don’t judge me for taking too many photos of food) haha!