Meet the Irish woman making cakes for Ireland’s stars from Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary to Conor McGregor

Cake decorator to the stars Tanya Ross has made cakes for some big names, including Conor McGregor, music Legends Shane McGowan, John Sheehan, and even Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary.

The multi-award-winning cake designer said she never had an interest in baking until her children began having birthday parties.

She said: “It was actually purely by accident really. I used to make cakes for my own kid’s birthdays, just tried my hand at it.

“You know when they’re small like the parents are at the parties as well, and they started asking who was making the cakes and would I be able to make one for them? It kind of grew from there.”

She added: “It was purely out of necessity for the kids at the start, but I absolutely love it now.”

Ms Ross has competed in many cake decorating competitions building her reputation in the baking world for her detailed and elaborate cakes.

She was named in the top ten cake artists in the UK and Ireland last year, adding another achievement to her vast array of awards.

She said: “It’s been wild. I had no idea that this whole world existed. Ireland actually has quite a big cake community, which I never knew until I started getting into it.”



Tanya made this cake for Conor McGregor after a call from Dee Devlin

Ms Ross said it was all “trial and error mainly” as she mostly taught herself the art of cake decorating.

“I took a couple of classes when I could just to get new skills and things like that, but at the start, it was all self-taught.

“I did art in school, but, you know, after that kind of life took over. So, I suppose now it’s like a very welcome outlet for that side of me.”

The cake designer said she gets her ideas by speaking to her clients and finding out their interests.

She added: “I suppose my mind’s kind of a scary place to be, or so my kids tell me, but you know you talk to the customer and you get an idea of who the cake is for, what their interests are and take it from there.”



The cake for Shane MacGowan

Ms Ross said when she was asked to make a boat cake for Conor McGregor, she couldn’t believe it.

She said: “I became my son’s hero for a while, but I have to say, it was Dee that ordered it, and she was really, really lovely to deal with.

“You know, when you get past, like, oh, my God, I can’t believe I’m talking to so-and-so, then they’re just like normal people, you know, it’s an eye-opener.”

Ms Ross’ business, Novel-T cakes, has grown from strength to strength, and her posts on Instagram have become very popular.

She said, “I’ve been really, really lucky like that because I haven’t had to advertise, thankfully. I think we went to Orlando for the Global Cake Challenge, and we won that, so that was a good bit of exposure.

“It’s a really nice feeling knowing that they’re asking you because they like what you do, not because you advertise well.”

Ms Ross said her favourite part of the job is seeing people’s reactions to her cake creations.



Tanya and one of her creations

She said: “That’s my favourite part of the whole process. The oohs and ahs and the oh my God, it looks just like so and so, or you know, oh my god, I love that.

“Or when you get a message back afterwards because you don’t often get to see the recipient’s reaction because somebody else is picking up the cake or you set up the wedding cake, and obviously the bride and groom aren’t there at the time, but when you get the feedback afterwards, it’s lovely.

“It kind of reminds you I won’t say why you do it, but it reminds of why you like doing it.”

The Late Late show asked Ms Ross to create a cake for Fairytale of New York singer Shane MacGowan.

She said: “I stayed while they were filming and got to see his reaction. That was great. He kept saying I can’t believe that’s cake, I can’t believe that’s cake, and then he picked up the microphone and bit into it.”



A Fairytale of New York

Ms Ross, who has been in the baking industry for seven years, now teaches her own cake design class.

She said: “I love it, I absolutely love it. Obviously, the last year, there’s been sort of nothing going on, so there has been a lot of online stuff, which is nice, but it’s not the same as the interaction with people, because that’s kind of where you make up for working on your own so much.”

She said for anyone thinking of taking up cake decorating to “just do it. You’ll know, if it’s for you or not, if you enjoy it, then carry on, and if you don’t, then keep looking.”