At Jack & Beyond, we believe that making a cake is truly a little bit like magic and has an artistic element to it: A baker starts with several, individual ingredients and transforms them into a beautiful cake through a skillful process that involves several steps. These steps have to be carefully executed to achieve the best possible results in terms of taste and finish of a cake and we are receiving many questions from our customers about how our cakes are made.
So, whether you are an aspiring hobby baker or simply curious, let us take you on a little journey behind the scenes and into our kitchen where the ''magic happens''.
Our Head Baker Corrine has kindly shared the many steps she and her team go through to create one of our handmade, scrumptious Celebration Cakes:
Step 1: Baking the sponges.
All cakes start with a fluffy layers of sponge. We carefully measure and blend ingredients following our approved and tested recipes to make the batter, which is then baked to perfection.
As many hobby bakers will know this can be quite a tricky process: The baking time and oven settings need to be spot on to not end up with a partly raw or dry and overbaked result.
Choosing the right ingredients is part of the success here: At Jack & Beyond we only use the best ingredients such as free range eggs and Belgian Chocolate for our baking. Once baked, the individual sponge layers are then left on the side to cool down.
Step 2: Preparing the frosting.
Next the frosting needs to be prepared so it can be ready when the sponges have cooled down enough to start assembling the cake.
For this we measure the right amount of Cream Cheese or Mascarpone (depending on the cake flavour) and carefully blend it with butter, icing sugar and an additional ingredient for flavour such as cinnamon, melted chocolate or vanilla extract.
To achieve the perfect creamy texture it is important to use good quality dairy. At Jack & Beyond all of our frostings are made with British dairy from carefully chosen suppliers.
Step 3: Trimming sponges and getting a cake board.
Once the sponges have cooled down completely we trim them to achieve even and smooth layers and choose a cake board that is the appropriate size, it should be approximately 2“ bigger than the cake.
Step 4: Stacking the sponges and applying the first layer of frosting.
We then proceed with assembling the cake by adding a generous bit of frosting to the middle of the first layer of sponge and carefully spreading it out evenly with a palette knife before then putting the other sponge on top.
The second sponge can only be added when the frosting is perfectly even to prevent sliding or a wonky finish.
The remaining frosting is then applied to the sides and top of the now assembled cake and spread out evenly using the palette knife and a turntable.
Step 5: Setting the cake.
The cake now gets 30-60 minutes to set in the refrigerator (depending on the outside temperature and type of cake / frosting).
This is a very important step that should never be skipped or rushed as the layers will start to slide and come apart if the cake has not been set properly.
Step 6: Finishing the outer layer.
Once the cake has set enough and looks stable, we add a second layer of frosting which is again spread out evenly to achieve a beautiful smooth finish for the cake without the sponge being visible through the frosting.
Step 7: The final design.
The last and one of the most important steps is the final design.
Most of our standard borders include a half moon shaped design created with different toppings such as chocolate chips, meringues, candied lemon, fresh fruit or freeze dried raspberries. We have to apply these very carefully to avoid them getting accidentally stuck to the frosting on the sides or all over the top of the cake which would result in a very messy finish.
If the customer has requested a personalised message, we then mix our homemade Royal Icing in their colour of choice and write on the cake using a piping bag filled with the icing.
The cake should then set again in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before it can be handed over or delivered to the customer.
Baking and finishing a Jack & Beyond Celebration Cake from scratch - including all the steps mentioned - takes 2.5-3 hours on average.