Big Day Masthead

Heather’s House of Cake by the Lake

Michelle Brotohusodo

“My whole world is a cupcake.”

When someone makes a statement like that, you know they really love cupcakes—and they’re just the kind of person you’d want to have their own cake shop. Lucky for us in Canberra, such a person and a place exists: Heather, and her House of Cake by the Lake.

Some of you might remember reading about Heather’s story and her old shop in Gold Creek last year. I, like many others, was pretty sad when the Gold Creek store closed down. Apart from having delicious treats for sale, it made me happy because it was a colourful and cheerful space, and Heather and her staff were bright and bubbly and fun to talk to.

Thankfully, the sadness was temporary as I found out that Heather was opening a new shop in Belconnen. And what a shop! The first thing that struck me upon walking in was the space. The new shop is at least three times bigger than the old one. There are gorgeous rainbow-coloured stairs, giant prints of boldly coloured cupcakes, a lovely view of Lake Ginninderra, and a custom-built kitchen.

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Walking up the stairs, I found a lovely open space, with toys, books, and a TV lining the walls, and tables and chairs in the middle. Heather explained that this space was somewhere for mums to have a catch up while their kids played, and it would also be used for parties and cake decorating classes. She also said the space could be hired for other uses, e.g. a 40th birthday party.

After admiring the new shop, I sat down with Heather to find out more. She explained that the shop at Gold Creek had been a bit of a trial to see if having her own shop was something that was really viable. It turns out she was so successful that the business actually outgrew the space.

“The demand kept growing,” Heather said. “People were asking for events like baby showers and high teas, and bigger parties, but we didn’t have the right space—or enough space—at the Gold Creek location.”

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Heather listened to what people were saying, and her mind began ticking about where she might be able to move the shop. She still didn’t want to be in a shopping centre, but wasn’t sure where might be suitable. It was actually a customer who suggested the Belconnen location to Heather, saying there was nothing like it out there.

So Heather went to check it out. She did her research, observing the foot traffic and counting the number of people who walked past, to see how popular the shop might be if she opened there. She also found a business partner in her friend Lucy.

After making the decision to open the shop in Belconnen, it was all hands on deck to get the space ready. Heather’s House of Cake by the Lake is a real family business. Both Heather and Lucy’s families helped with the set-up, with Lucy’s partner and son doing the shop fit-out. They put in walls, toilets, and a kitchen designed specifically for cakes and cake-decorating. Now the shop is open, Heather, Lucy, and all their kids work there.

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Heather explained that the new space has given her more opportunities. She can bake more now, as the kitchen is bigger and right there, and has expanded the range of offerings beyond cupcakes to tarts, gelato (by Pure Gelato) and simple breakfasts. She’s also organised some live music on weekends, and is hoping to make this a regular occurrence.

The shop has only been open since early March, so Heather said she’s still getting used to the space and what else they can do in it. That said, she rattled off a few ideas to me that all sounded great, so I’m keen to see which ones she goes with.

For those of you curious about what kinds of goodies are on offer, they change almost every day. The day I went in, these were just some of the flavours of the cupcakes and tarts: salted caramel tart, Nutella, caramel mudcake, orange and poppyseed, apple pie, Neapolitan, peanut butter chocolate, blueberry chocolate.

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There are so many different reasons to go to Heather’s House of Cake by the Lake, I can’t list them all. Whether you’re a cupcake aficionado, you want to learn cake decorating, hold a baby shower, have a cupcake birthday party for your little one, or if you’re just looking for a place you can sit and relax with friends over coffee, then you should check it out.

Discover Heather’s school holiday cupcake decorating classes in our school hols activities post.

The essentials

What: Heather’s House of Cake by the Lake
Where: 9/114 Emu Bank, Belconnen
When: Monday-Sunday, 7am-5.30pm
Food: Cupcakes, brownies, tarts, gluten free jar cakes, gelato, breakfast, large cakes made to order
Drinks: Coffee, tea, hot chocolate, frappes
Call: 02 6251 4533
Facebook: www.facebook.com/HeathersHouseofCake

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Michelle Brotohusodo

Michelle moved to Canberra vowing to stay for two years, tops. 10 years later, she’s a bona fide Canberra convert. When she’s not working in her day job as a public servant, she’s enjoying Canberra’s culinary delights or finding fun things to do/see in and around town. More about the Author

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