Cara Tonkin finds strength through adversity, fuelling Geelong’s cupcake addiction with stunning cupcakery

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Cara Tonkin finds strength through adversity, fuelling Geelong’s cupcake addiction with stunning cupcakery

Once you manage to stop admiring how these cupcakes look, you’ll be amazed by how good they taste!

When it comes to trendy, sweet treats around town, we’ve always been pretty spoilt here in Geelong. Donuts, cronuts, macarons, cake pops, but none can ever come close to the enduring appeal of the timeless cupcake… especially when they’re made at the hands of those as dedicated and experienced as Cara and Andrew Tonkin.

With a name already renowned for suppling wholesale cupcakes across the region, Cara Mia Cake decided to start supplying their works of art direct to the public through the new cupcakery in Belmont, which opened back in July. Freshly made with only the best ingredients, a cupcake from Cara Mia Make is a worthy indulgence, especially with a collection of more than 18 flavours with vegan and gluten-free options.

We spoke to Cara about her experience opening a cupcakery during a pandemic.

First up, congrats on your venture. What inspired you to open this business?
It was my dream; I wanted a place people could come and be happy. The look on adults and children’s faces when they see a full cabinet of cupcakes is beautiful. I wanted to start a platform to begin my journey of helping others too. I’ve survived a large amount of trauma in my life so far and having the cafe gives me an opportunity to begin sharing my story to hopefully help others.

What encouraged you to go for it? Did you look or go to anyone for advice?
I spoke to a few friends who I see as mentors who own local cafes. They were an incredible support and have continued to be.

What were the challenges in opening a business during a pandemic?
Fear has been the biggest challenge. There is little to no support if I failed as we hadn’t been open long enough. Not being able to be visited by our huge number of Melbourne followers and customer base has been hard too.

How has the reception from locals been so far?
The locals have been absolutely incredible. We feel so loved and supported. I can’t wait till this pandemic is over and we can get into the community more and help.

What’s next for you and the business?
At the moment we are focusing on survival, in the future we really want to partner with headspace and create a safe workspace for youth with mental health issues who are struggling to gain employment. We would love to expand Vic wide with stockists and eventually open our second cafe in Melbourne.

Lastly, we’re all about supporting local businesses and each other – if you could recommend another local business who would it be?
Omigosh, there is so many. I am addicted to Nest Seven in Hamlyn Heights. It is the most incredible homewares and clothing/footwear shop. As for local cafes I can’t go past Millars in Lara. Incredible coffee, food and service

You can find the café at 48 Kidman Ave, Belmont. Find out more at and follow them on Instagram.