Emelia Jackson is in the business of cake, which is to say, she’s in the business of making people happy.

She’s one of Australia’s most sought-after cake designers, and the release of her indispensable baking guide, First, Cream the Butter and Sugar: The Essential Baking Companion, has been met with plaudits and enthusiasm across the board.

In 2020, she took out MasterChef: Back to Win. Now, she’s taking us on a flavour quest through Melbourne. Here’s how she does it in her hometown.

My local is Jamsheed, because it does amazing wines and great food, and it just has a really lovely casual vibe. They change their menu weekly and put it on Instagram – you have to check it out before you go to know what treats you’re in for. Plus, they do trivia on Thursdays.

I know I’m in Melbourne when I do all the classics: eat great food, drink great wine and feel alive on a high street somewhere.

In the mornings you’ll find me… I am not a morning person, so you will find me lazing around in bed until about 8am.

My defining food moment in Melbourne was my most recent experience at Aru: it was my birthday and the food, venue, drinks and service absolutely blew my mind. Still the best dining experience I’ve ever had. The sausage, the tongue, the spanner crab fried rice! Everything on the menu is absolutely flawless.

My favourite place to stock up on supplies is the Preston Market because it’s walking distance from my house, the prices are great, and there is an amazing cake supply shop called Confectioner’s Favourite – it has absolutely everything you need for cake decorating: cake boards, boxes, fondant, tools, food colouring – the lot. I used to go with my baba as a little girl and now I get to take my daughter.

The best new thing I’ve found is Monceau kombucha. Probably not that new, but it’s such a great alcohol-free alternative.

My go-to spots for cake are Holy Sugar, Casa Nata for tarts, Beatrix back in the good old days – so many amazing options around Melbourne.

When I want to dazzle friends from out of town, I like to… I really love everything about entertaining: from setting my table to really feasting with friends. I recently did a suckling pig on the spit for Addie’s first birthday that was pretty impressive.

When I want to drink something Victorian, my first choice is Jamsheed. Loving their Candy Flip pét nat.

There’s no better value in Melbourne than Tammy’s Borek at the Preston Market: $4 or $5 for an amazing borek. My favourite is the spicy potato, Addie likes the spinach and cheese.

If I could change one thing about eating and drinking here it would be nothing, we are so spoiled for choice.

Emelia Jackson’s First, Cream the Butter and Sugar: The Essential Baking Companion (RRP $59.99) is out now through Murdoch Books, and available at good book stores such as Books for CooksPaperback Books and Readings