Michal Bulla
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Interview #20: Jo Orr of Ciccio Cakes


My Name is Jo Orr, and I live in Rotorua, New Zealand. I’m Married with a Stepdaughter Julz & 2 Border Collies Scottie & Teddy. I’m the Head Chef at Ciccio Italian Café but Cake Decorating is a real passion, I love being able to be creative, although I cannot draw to save myself…..yes not even a stick figure(I was told in school by my art teacher never to be an artist) I think my mind works in 3D, but only in the last couple of years have I started selling my cakes, although not a sweet tooth myself I love creating cakes that people cannot resist eating…I’ve been told on more than one occasion I’m a bad influence


How did you first get started with cake decorating?
My Grandmother was a cake decorator & when we visited her as children we didn’t have Playdough we were given Sugarpaste, she had us making roses for her (I don’t think she actually used any LOL), & when I trained as a Chef I also did a short pulled sugar course & was totally hooked, started making cakes for my Niece & Nephews, I haven’t done much in the way of training in the Cake Decorating field a lot of it is self taught watching & learning from generous people who post videos & tutorials like Mayen from “Way beyond Cakes by Mayen” & Lesley of “Royal Bakery”, they encouraged me to also produce some of my own tutorials that I’ve shared on Cakes Décor, it’s a fantastic feeling when someone shares their work that they have made using one of your tutorials

What has been your greatest challenge?
I think every new cake I do especially the sculpted cakes….I love trying something new & scaring myself a little, you know that moment when you’re half way through the cake wondering how on earth you’ll be able to finish it or if it’ll ever work….Panic Attack!!!…LOL…… but if I had to pick one it would be the 1.8m x2.2m North Island I made for the Rotorua International Airport’s 1st birthday it was huge& took 4 of us to lift it & a real mission to cover with fondant & the delivery was hilarious as it wouldn’t fit through the arrivals door so we had to get permission to drive on the runway & deliver through the arrivals gate

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What is the most rewarding part of cake decorating?
I love seeing their faces, the joy a cake can bring as they marvel how you have done it, or when they don’t believe it’s cake until they poke it, I love textures & being able to recreate the texture on fondant to create realism is so much fun

Could you give some tips to people who have just started decorating cakes or would love to start?
Watch & read as many tutorials as you can, and then give it a go, don’t give up just because it may not work the first time try again “Practice makes Perfect” Also my biggest tip I could ever tell someone would be forget Buttercream & go for ganache gives you a much better finish under fondant

How did you find and what is it that keeps you coming back?
Found it through a share on Facebook “Cakes by Raewyn” by Memory, so came over & found everyone so lovely & welcoming, there is no nastiness only positivity….& I love a bit of healthy competition trying to make Daily Top 3 or the elusive Editors Choice……Love it

Do you have any rituals or habits while you’re working on cakes?
I usually start trying to picture the finished cake as a whole in my mind for a couple of days beforehand then map out what goes where & logistics etc…can’t draw as mentioned before so don’t really sketch only if client wants to see an idea, usually involves a lot of apologies about my inability to draw, then a lot give me free reign with a couple of guidelines which is fantastic, I also have to decorate at work so it’s early mornings & late nights down at the café so usually my biggest ritual is Coffee & lots of it…. lucky the Cappuccino machine is always on…mmmm…Caffeine!!!

Do you Bake…Do you like to bake?
Yes, I love baking, I trained as a Pastry Chef, so I love inventing my own new recipes, I can’t follow recipes from a book, I get bored & start altering so I have learnt to write everything down that I add, I also get to make all of the Cakes at the Café in our Large Display Cabinet that people order by the slice so it’s a great creative opportunity, I soon find out the most popular flavours

Which one of your cakes is your favorite?
Wow that’s a hard one, I think it would have to be Donkey from Shrek, I made him for an Operation Sugar assignment for a 13 Year old boy recovery from Brain Cancer, they watched the Shrek movie every time he went in for treatments, he was huge & really came to life & best of all Josh loved him….but also loved my Jim Beam Whiskey Barrel another huge one, and my one & only Editors Choice award on Cakes Décor really made my day getting that title for it

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What’s been the biggest surprise in all of this for you?
How amazingly lovely everyone one is, being told your cake is awesome by someone who you admire, there’s nothing quite like that & I’m also lucky to have found a cake decorating friend, Sarah of “The Cake Tin” who lives in the same town as me, which is great as we can share some equipment & bounce ideas off each other about cakes, which definitely saves our poor husbands ears…LOL

Thank you Jo!

Jo’s: CakesDecor Profile | Facebook Page

Some of Jo’s Cakes

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-- -- Michal, | My Facebook:

YAYYYY! So happy to see Jo’s interview! She amazes me with every new creation and is always so helpful in her posts. Glad to be able to read more about her!

-- Violet - The Violet Cake Shop™ -

hi Jo, your cakes are absolutely amazing and i wish you every success in your business xx


JO if you are a bad influence… I want to be bad too! LOL
LOVE LOVE LOVE your work!!! You really are an amazing artist and such a beautiful & lovely person!!! Thank you for inspiring us!!! xxx

-- CUPCAKES & DREAMS My facebook:

Wow!! So lovely to read your story :) I feel as if I know you better now! You are an inspiration and I love your work x

-- Louisa

What a great interview! So nice to see the lovely face behind all of the amazing cakes!

-- Toni, Pennsylvania,

Hi beautiful Jo! You are a inspiration to so many people including me. I’ve loved reading your interview. X

-- Christine from

Such a great interview!! Stoked to learn more about one of my favourite fellow kiwi decorators :) YAY!!! xxx

-- Keren, New Zealand,

An inspirational interview from a highly talented personality! Jo, your cakes rock !!

-- Xclusive, HTTP://

Jo this is a fabulous interview. Love your work and your friendship means the world to me. Cakie Hugs x

-- Sarah, New Zealand,!/TheCakeTin

Beautiful! Everything is just beautiful, the cakes, the interview and of course your fine self ;-) Next up, Sarah!!!

-- Zeena -

Lovely to “meet” the person behind the name! Love your work Jo, and your positive comments on facebook which I see everywhere, giving people a friendly thumbs up. Sensational cake design and execution! xx


Nice to read about you :) Lovely interview about a lovely person :) xx


A lovely interview with a wonderful & talented person. Was very glad to get to know a little bit more about her. Thank you.

Jo, what a wonderful read… You are one very special talented lady and love every one of your cakes and designs. So much thought and prep goes into each of your creations and it shows in the loving detail. Love you and love your artistry and wear your scarf with pride and always tell people where it comes from. You are beautiful inside and out… A true and honest spirit .. Thank you for sharing your story xx

-- You must never limit your challenges, instead you must challenge your limits

Fabulous Jo!!! Congrats! :)

-- Mel Sugarcraft Artist Designer Cakes, Cupcakes & Sugarcraft