Life & Style

The ever-so-friendly face behind Hamilton's sweetest spot – Cakeboi

It’s that time again when we’ll be taking you behind the scenes with our favourite local business owners and creatives to find out where they go to eat, what playlist they’re listening to, where they take their out-of-town friends, and ultimately, what makes them tick.

For our sixth instalment of SPILL, we dropped by Hamilton’s favourite sweet spot, Cakeboi to hear all about local celebrity and cake connoisseur, Reece Hignell’s favourite Newcastle places!

spill reece hignell cakeboi hamilton newcastle nsw
Reece Hignell

Firstly, what and where would people across Newcastle recognise you from?

Hello everyone, my name is Reece Hignell and I am the owner of Cakeboi in Hamilton. We are a small bakery serving freshly made cakes, house baked focaccia sandwiches and we serve locally roasted Floozy coffee. 

Where are you from originally?

I’ve been around a bit however I was born and grew up in Whitebridge. So, I have somewhat always lived in Newy, however, I have been away on different adventures from time to time. 

Do you consider yourself more of an early bird or a night owl?

Well, I would consider myself an early bird by force haha! Being a baker means that you're required to enjoy the early mornings. 

What’s your morning ritual?

Depending on my day, it could be anything from waking up, and walking down to the local coffee shop for a coffee to jumping on the laptop and working. If I were in the bakery at Cakeboi, my day would start between 4am and 5am as we need to bake bread, tarts, and sponges first thing. 

What’s your coffee order?

I am a barista’s nightmare... I always order a different coffee. The seasons, temperature, and mood of the day all go into the decision-making process. Usually, my top three are an espresso, an oat flat white, or a long black. I do love an iced long black, piccolo, or filter coffee. Just depends on the mood. 

Speaking of coffee, which local venue knows your order by heart?

Well, I would say none because they all never know what I am going to order! Side Pocket Espresso in Mayfield always enjoys my ordering process. Also, Floozy HQ in Newcastle West always greets me with an oat flat white. So, I would say they might win!

Tell me about your biggest career highlight… 

I have two things in mind. Obviously opening Cakeboi has been a dream of mine for like ten years. It has been the most rewarding experience to become part of a strong community such as Hamilton and I love that they get to enjoy something that I am passionate about.

My second would be becoming a cookbook author last year when we released our first book named Cakeboi

In your spare time, what are your THREE favourite things to do in Newcastle?

In order they would be –

1. Tennis, it is my most favourite sport. I play three or four times a week.
2. Exploring the local hospitality venues. We are so spoilt for choice in Newy.
3. Getting a group of friends together to enjoy an afternoon beer or wine over the summer is a must.

If you wanted to dazzle your out-of-town friends and family, where would you take them?

To start we would go to Momo’s for brunch (I recommend their bánh Xèo), followed by a walk from Merewether Surf Club all the way up to the top of the ANZAC walk.

Next, I would be thinking of afternoon drinks at The Rooftop at QT followed by dinner at Flotilla. Oh and of course I'd take them to Cakeboi at some stage!

Beer? Wine? Cocktail? Mocktail? What is your tipple of choice and where do you frequently visit? 

I love them all! I am a big fan of Good Folk Brewing in Hamilton at the moment, and I have always been one to love a cocktail from MoneyPenny

On the daily, what’s guaranteed to make you smile?

My customers :)

We’re all about keeping it local here at HUNTERhunter – tell me THREE of your favourite local businesses that you live and breathe by and why you couldn’t live without them…

Nina's IGA – so many European groceries which makes a dinner party that bit more special.

Vera Wine – is hands down my favourite wine shop and is conveniently located near BYO restaurants.

A good Timberlina gig – 5 Sawyers or wherever. I am always keen on a good laugh. 

If you’re needing a short break away from Newcastle, where do you go and why?

Easily the Hunter Valley. It is my favourite quick getaway. I love staying at The Station Hunter Valley, visiting some of my favourite wineries, and finishing with dinner at EXP.

What would you like to see more of in Newcastle?

I feel like we could all become a little bit more flexible with people's food allergies or dietary requirements. Having a good vegan option, gluten-free alternatives, and nut-free is really important. I always say if it was a table of 10 and one person was vegan, would you want to lose 10 customers? 

Lucky last – who would you recommend we interview next for SPILL? 

Kmac from Floozy Coffee!