Meet Jo Tan

Jo Tan is the owner of Scrumptious, a custom cake studio operating in The Gardens Manukau, New Zealand since 2013. Although a versatile cake decorator, Jo's favourite style gravitates towards soft romantic cakes with a touch of vintage.  



Scrumptious Cakes

Manurewa, Auckland

See more of Jo's cakes at 








I have been using Pettinice ever since I started. I find it to be the easiest to use, with the least amount of cracking.I also prefer the flavour, as do my customers.


Jo has been a Pettinice Ambassador for several years, generously sharing her techniques and tutorials.  As well as running her busy Scrumptious cake studio in South Auckland, Jo also teaches cake decorating classes and workshops throughout the year.  We had a chance to ask her a few questions about her own personal cake journey.

Jo started making cakes for her children around 2001 and her designs have been fun and varied, including an octopus sitting on bananas to a rainbow tree. She laughs when she recalls how terrible her first cakes turned out, but enjoyed making them so much she decided to learn how to decorate a cake properly.  Now she enjoys sharing her skills while teaching and demonstrating. Her number one tip: “Patience is a virtue, so spend that extra time to get it right.'


What is the very first cake you remember making?

The first cake I remember making was a Debbie Brown design. It was a tree trunk with little mice on it for my daughter’s 1st birthday. I have lots of photos of her, but none of the cake! From what I remember I wouldn’t exactly call it a success; however, I did enjoy making it.


Why/how did you become a cake decorator?

I remember watching the Disney channel years ago with my daughter and there was a mum on there talking about how she decorated cakes for a living and my daughter and I thought that was pretty cool so I started working towards that goal, there were lots of practise cakes bakes (and I mean lots) and books studied, and icing sculpted.


What has been a favourite order you have taken on?

I had an order from Hobbiton to make 20 intricate cakes with 4 different designs, all to be going out on the same day. Making those Hobbit holes were so much fun! This meant an extreme level of organisation and I had to have a commis to help (which for someone used to working alone was a big change). After a week of mise en place we were ready and nailed it – we were so proud that they all looked so awesome and it all ran so smoothly that we were overjoyed! I found surprisingly I loved working with company.



What cake do you wish someone would order?

I love wedding cakes - it is such an honour and I love the grandness of them, the muted colours, the classy bling and lacy textures. To be honest I don’t spend a lot of time dreaming of what cakes I want to make, it is more how can I create what my client wants, I know that sounds cheesy but I have had the opportunity to make so many over the years that I look forward to the originality that each new customer brings.


What is your favourite part/ step of the cake decorating process?

The Decorating, but mainly the details, the extra little bits that take the design to the next level, these are normally done on the last day of decorating when you may have a clean canvas of the covered cake.


What do you listen to while you are decorating?

This totally depends on how the design is turning out. If all is going well then it is my Spotify list that can be best described as guardians of the galaxy 1 x with random songs from random decades and random genres. If the design is not going well or I need to concentrate I need silence and it all goes very serious.

What is your favourite Pettinice colour?

Maybe purple as it is so hard to make, and it is very vibrant. Or the pink is very pretty and good to mix with others to make a combo of colours

Do you make your own birthday cake?

No. My husband made mine this year. I love other people to make my cake, its one part of my love language.

What is your favourite cake delivery story?

I don’t really have a great delivery story as this is the worst part of my job, purely because I spend the whole time stressing that when I arrive at my destination I am going to open that boot and the cake will be broken somehow. Saying that, my stress has so far been unfounded - touch wood. But the best part of the job is seeing the faces of the recipients and that never gets old. I have had the pleasure of meeting so many people through the years from my cakes, and it is always such a privilege to see surprised happy reactions.

What is something you wish people would know about your business?

I choose to work by myself because that way I can control every step of the production, often people ask when I am going to expand and to be honest I don’t think I ever will as I enjoy Scrumptious as it is now, but I guess never say never. I currently don’t advertise other than Facebook and Instagram and I am lucky enough to have built up a majority of returning clientele and am often booked out up to six weeks in advance. So, what do I want people to know? That I appreciate how lucky I am to have the clientele that I do and enjoy each new challenge they set me each year.

What is next in your cake world?

I am intending to teach more out of my studio, I am looking at maybe once a month or once a fortnight, and hoping to get regulars for that too, get a little club feel to it. I held one last year and enjoyed it so much I look forward to doing more in the future. 



Jo's cake highlights include numerous appearances and slots cake decorating on Good Morning and the John Campbell show. Jo recently received 1st place in the professional category at the 2015 Auckland Cake & Craft Show. Her work has been published in international magazines and has enjoyed participating in international and national cake collaborations including Peter Jackson, Bake-a-Christmas-wish and Sugar Skulls. 

See some of Jo's cake tutorials here: