Zee Scott is a triple threat in the wedding industry – she makes wedding cakes, she’s a caterer AND she’s a celebrant! Zee has been baking since she was a child and is the daughter of a royal icing specialist. She’s also been catering for over a decade, and marrying people since 2015. You’ll fall in love with her amazing food and buttercream creations, as well as her celebrant style, which is all about storytelling and helping each couple bring their dream ceremony to life. Today, we chat to Zee about everything from cake designs to how she approaches the wedding day as a celebrant, as well as what it’s like to juggle three talents!
How long have you been baking and when did you start your business?
In November 2021, I celebrated 10 years in business. That’s just the AU journey… Add another four years back in the UK! Baking? Well, I’ve been doing that since I was eight years old.
Where are you based?
I’m based in Essendon, Victoria. I work from my registered home kitchen. I’m up at 2am most days so being able to just skip downstairs and flip on the coffee machine is a real treat!
You say you’re all about the buttercream! What do you like most about working with it?
Oh, there’s something quite sensual about Swiss meringue buttercream! Watching the transition from the egg white and sugar mix whipping into snow white meringue… Then the ‘dimples’ appear after you add the butter… until finally a smooth, silky buttery ‘cream’ appears. I add a dollop to the top of the cake and then allow it to caress the sides as I manipulate and smooth it onto the cake. I love that when you look at a piped cake, it looks like it’ll be firm in the mouth BUT devoured at room temp (not fridge cold!), your taste buds are kissed with its velvety texture, a subtle hint of sweetness and a punch of vanilla! THAT’s what I love about working with buttercream! HA.
What’s the process of designing a wedding cake with a couple?
I’m VERY lucky, each of my couples understands how I work. For me, design decisions aren’t made until I am standing there staring at the fully stacked naked cake! I ask my couples to send inspiration or mood boards. This may be colours or a previous design by me. Finally, I ask about ‘level of detail’. Some couples like ‘a bit at the top and bottom’ others request ‘as much detail until it looks like it’s all going to fall off’! I’m terrible at drawing so sketching a design is not an option… I never directly copy a previous design, of mine OR any other baker. Why wouldn’t you want something made just for you?!
Do you offer cake tastings?
Yes, like many other bakers, I offer tasting boxes. For me, these happen throughout the year – usually if I see a spare weekend (very rare!), I’ll pop one in. I offer a mix of my most popular cakes and fillings, either eight different slices or a cake box with cake, fillings and frosting for you to mix’n’match.
What flavours do you offer?
I’m a special kind of baker… I love traditional flavours. My mother always said, “You can’t go wrong if you get yourself a perfect vanilla recipe.”
I offer all the classics – vanilla, chocolate, lemon and a few ‘modern twists’ – lemon poppyseed, coconut, raspberry and spiced vanilla (think old school apple pie!). The only real ‘out there’ flavour is the Jamaican fruitcake… A boozy one that’s really only for the top tier at a wedding (if you wanna be traditional). Oh, and Christmas!
Cake selection at Zee Scott is a pick’n’mix. You select your cake, then your filling and lastly whether you’d like vanilla or chocolate buttercream.
Fillings are pretty classic too… Raspberry, apple, cherry compote, lemon, orange, passionfruit curd, salted caramel or chocolate ganache.
All of the above cakes and fillings can be made vegan friendly too! As the only meat eater from a family of vegans [sorry Mum!], having a vegan friendly menu is very important to me.
What’s your favourite?
Surprisingly, vanilla with raspberry compote and vanilla buttercream! Oh, how I love vanilla. Literally vanilla everything – cake, ice cream, candles, body moisturiser, hand creams, lip balms…!
Why is the wedding cake such an important element of the wedding day?
When guests first walk into the reception, the wedding cake is usually the ‘wow’ in the room. Then it’s the anticipation… The wait until the cake is cut… What flavour is it? Are all tiers the same?
We also heard you do piping masterclasses. What do they involve?
Usually a lot of fun! Everything you need is provided, a baked cake (flavour of your choice), fillings and ingredients to make my signature frosting. During the session, we talk about baking the perfect cake, which ingredients to use, making silky frosting and, of course, decorating a cake. It’s 100% hands on with guidance from me.
Each participant gets to take their creation home with them. Clients have booked for birthdays, pre-wedding parties, corporate days, or just an excuse to decorate a cake a in a fun, non-judgemental environment!
What’s the best part of your job? And the most challenging?
I love being creative. I love when I see photos of my clients sighting their creation for the first time. I love receiving the email after an event to say how amazing the cake looked and how yum it was.
Juggling all of the ‘business’ stuff is the most challenging for me. I dream of the day that I’ll have an admin person who makes sure that receipts are lodged, emails are responded to within the hour and clients are able to spend time on the phone chatting about their order, if they want to.
But for now, it’s just me and my casual driver. I respond to the emails between baking, answer the calls between piping and the receipts? Well, if my accountants asks, “I’m right on top of that, Rose” – that’s my fave line from a movie (Adventures of Babysitting) which I say A LOT!
Image: Mike Tarr Photography
You’re also a celebrant! How do you juggle catering and being a celebrant?
I play a lot of Tetris with my diary! I’m up at 2.30am most mornings. That’s when I focus on the catering. Once the orders are out the door, I turn to ‘Celebrant Zee’. I write ceremony scripts, respond to emails, jump on Zoom or head out to meet couples at a local bar. In short – I don’t know how it works, it just does! HA.
What would you say is your celebrant style? What sets you apart from other celebrants?
I’m the celebrant who takes tradition and shakes it up a bit! I love to offer alternatives; you don’t have to ditch tradition completely to have a modern ceremony. Some couples want to walk down the aisle but maybe they walk together or they meet halfway? Maybe exchange watches rather than rings.
I’m a fun celebrant who respects marriage. I’m a storyteller… I love to see guests faces as I re-tell my couple’s story, taking them on an emotional rollercoaster. Every celebrant is different because effectively you are you! My personality, who I am, sets me apart!
How far in advance do couples need to book you in?
The general rule is as soon as possible, but six months is the most I book up to for cakes and catering. Celebrant Zee books up to a whole year!
How do you approach the wedding day?
An early start after a big sleep, coffee and a big breakfast! For me it’s all about the prep… I’m a lover of lists. Working through a list tells my brain that I am ready. A peak season Saturday could turn into a disaster if I ignore the prep schedule.
Most memorable wedding you’ve been a part of?
Each wedding is memorable in their own way. As a celebrant, I get to be a part of the day. I’m enveloped in the love – the party starter if you will. As a cake artist or caterer, I’m often not seen; my creations are part of the day.
In January 2021, I had the honour of marrying comedian Hannah Gadsby and her partner Jenney, they ordered a very unique cake too! It was memorable because the lead up and ceremony were very hush hush. On the day we had a no phones policy, this meant that everyone was able to relax and really enjoy the day. It was during the time of restrictions that allowed 15 people into a private residence. This made for an intimate wedding day, with a select few family and friends plus a handful of essential vendors.
What’s your go-to cocktail at the end of the day and your top tips for making an epic cocktail?
I’m an old-fashioned gal so yes, you guessed it… I love an old fashioned! Use the best ingredients for an epic cocktail. You don’t need to own a fancy shaker or anything, you can shake your beverage in any old empty jar with a lid!
Thank you for sharing your story with us, Zee! Any couple would be lucky to have you as their caterer, celebrant or cake maker. To find out more about Zee Scott and her services, head to her website or check out her profile on the Polka Dot Directory.
Header image and Zee’s portrait by Daze Photography