Rachel Peterson

Interview With a Cake Artist

I had the pleasure of getting to talk with Jackie from Jacqueline Rose Cakery today. Jackie creates unbelievable wedding cakes for local couples and is truly an artist when it comes to creating something delicious that is also a stunning masterpiece. Did I also mention her cakes are delicious!? We asked her some questions about what her job is like, and got a few morsels of advice for you upcoming brides.

McCain Cake

Jackie graduated from Le Cordon Bleu culinary school in 2010, and interned at the Enchantment Resort in Sedona, Arizona. She started her company 3 years ago this March. She recently did a show-stopping cake for Meghan McCain, which you can see above. Amazing.

Rachel: What made you want to become a baker?

Jackie: Well, I knew I always loved to bake. I guess when I graduated from college, I hit a sort of quarter-life crises and I couldn't figure out what I wanted to do. So, I just up and left and went down to Phoenix and said 'I am going to Cordon Bleu. I'm just going to start there.' I love the art and creativity behind cake. And I love eating it!!

Rachel: What are the most popular wedding cake flavors?

Jackie: Red Velvet isn't going anywhere, and of course, chocolate. Another one of our post popular flavors is an almond cake with almond buttercream. It's more of an old-fashioned recipe. That's what my husband's grandparent's wedding cake flavor was. It's like a traditional, classic wedding cake, because it's white.

And you can't go wrong with the Lemon-Raspberry. It's just a really great combo.

Cupcakes!

R: Have you ever created a flavor or invented a cake flavor? Is that even possible?

J: Oh, we are always screwing around with different stuff. We did a Crème brûlée cupcake one time- a caramel cupcake with a vanilla pudding frosting and we burnt sugar on top. I'm sure if you Pinterested it, it would be on there somewhere, but it was fun, and I liked that a lot! It was different.

R: What's your favorite flavor?

J: Hmm that's hard, but I guess I'm a die-hard vanilla cake with chocolate frosting. You get the best of both worlds. You know, it's kind of plain, but it works! (Jackie turns to her mom, Jeanie, who also helps in the shop) What about you, mom, what's your favorite flavor?

Jeanie/Mom: I'd have to say Mexican hot chocolate with cinnamon cream cheese...

Cactus Cake

R: What's the hardest part of your job?

J: The hardest part of my job is the business side of things. I love to do the cakes, but not the paperwork side. And staying on top of emails. Just running a business in general. The cakes are the fun part! But I've never worked so hard in my life.

R; What's the best part of your job?

J: Designing the cakes! The art and creativity behind it- and for me, for example, on Sunday, this 5-year old kid came in to pick up his Batman Lego cake, and it was like, instant satisfaction. I worked so hard on this cake and he just lit up! He just loved it. So it's always encouraging to see the reactions of people. Or, if we do a really crazy cake, and people ask 'Wait- that's cake? I can eat that!?' Yeah, you sure can! So I like that. I like seeing the reaction from people. You know, they are choosing me to be a part of their wedding, and that's a big deal. And, eating cake.

Burrito Cake

Burrito Cake!

R: What do you wish all brides and grooms knew when planning a wedding?

J: The first thing would be to trust me! Trust me with your design. Give me some key aspects- colors, themes... then trust me to come up with a cool design. Let me make it cool, let me make it something that your guests will talk about and not just something directly recreated off Pinterest.

And have fun with it! It's your wedding! It's your one day to really express yourself. Nothing is traditional anymore, so have some fun with it. Who cares about your guests? Who cares if so-and-so doesn't like chocolate? If I could go back and do my wedding, I think I would do a Star-Wars cake or something. 

R: What did you have for your wedding?

J: I had seven different cakes- all sorts of different textures and flavors. And I made them all myself, the day before. Very stressful, haha!

R: If couples knew this one thing, this would make planning their wedding easier:

J: Leave it to the professionals! Don't ask your friends or family to make your cake.

R: What are the differences between buttercream and fondant?

J: Well, people come to us mainly for the design aspect of the cakes, and so we mainly work with fondant. Fondant just gives you that perfectly flawless finish. But fondant has such a bad rap, as far as taste. I think people have usually had the really cheap-o stuff from Michaels that's thick and chewy, and nasty. We use a really high-quality fondant, and it tastes like marshmallows, so when people do try it, they are usually really pleasantly surprised. And I always tell people- there's buttercream beneath the fondant anyway- to make it it stick to the cake. So, if you don't like it, you just peel it off!

Or, if people want a more organic kind of look, we'll go with the buttercream. There is only so much you can do with buttercream- there are different textures and things you can try, but I cannot make a realistic aspen tree, for example, with buttercream. 

Aspen Tree Cake

R: What's the best way to save the top tier of a wedding cake for the first anniversary:

J: So the process is to take it off, and wrap it in Saran wrap, wrap that in aluminum foil, put it in a box, and stick it in the freezer. But we found that a lot of people nowadays will keep their top tier and eat it the night of their wedding. After the wedding is over, they go back to their hotel or wherever, and eat it then. Because during the wedding, they are so busy talking to everyone, dancing, and having a good time, that they forget to even eat their cake! So that's been a big thing. Then, come a year later, we recreate their wedding cake, fresh. 

R: How to do you pair a cake with a cake stand to show it off to it's best advantage?

J: Well, a round cake needs a round stand, and a square cake should be on a square stand. A short cake will look really good on a stand that gives it some height. If the cake itself is already tall, I don't think it's necessary to have a really tall stand, but it's nice to have something to finish off the look.

If you are going with a small cake and cupcakes, you will want something to make the cake the focal point, like putting it on a tall, tall stand. A lot of times what we will do is put a crate under the tablecloth, and then put the stand with the small cake on top of that, because you want the focal point to be the cake and not the cupcakes around it. 

I always tell my brides: A cake stand to a cake is like shoes to a fancy outfit. You are going to spend all this money on a cake, and it's going to be beautiful, and then if I get to the venue to set it up and it's just a round table with a tablecloth, it's going to look unfinished. I wish everyone would get a cake stand.

Pretty Wedding Cake

 R: So people shouldn't expect the baker to provide the stand for the cake?

J: Not unless we have pre-arranged that ahead of time. I will let people know what dimensions they need for their stand, but I don't usually provide the stand because it's too hard for me to get them returned. I can't tell you how many cake stands I've lost.

R: What's the hottest trends in wedding cakes right now?

J: Well, in Flagstaff (Northern Arizona): aspen tree cakes! And metallics are really big right now, everywhere. And they say that's going to continue into 2018. The past two years, the big trend has been cupcakes. A small cake for the bride and groom, and then cupcakes for the guests. What's coming back are the large, elaborate cakes that are big focal points. And I really hope that's coming to Flagstaff, because that's what I love to do. 

Macaroon Wedding Cake

 You can see more of Jackie's past work on her website, jacquelinerosecakery.com. Thanks, Jackie!!

All photos property of Jacqueline Rose Cakery

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