Kochi-based home baker Jeny never in her life thought that she would be starting her own brand of customized handcrafted cakes. Since childhood days, Jeny has always enjoyed having cakes. Her Mother used to bake cakes at home and as a young kid, Jeny would patiently wait for the finished delicious end product. However, her urge to try baking was absent during those days. After completing education, she entered the corporate sector and worked for almost ten years. When her daughter turned a year old, she had to put an end to her corporate career to manage her family properly. During this time, Jeny discovered the world of baking and entered into it. In 2014, she launched Jenys Cake Corner and started offering customized designer cakes in Kochi. This was the beginning and since then, Jeny never looked back. The positive responses on her Cake Artworks pushes Jeny to bake even better every next time!
There are many talented home bakers in Kochi. Jeny is definitely one among them. In this interview session, Jenny, the founder of Jenys Cake Corner joins us to share her inspiring story.
Hi Jeny, welcome to this interview session of conflatingVisions. To begin with, please introduce yourself to our readers.
Firstly, thank you so much conflatingVisons for this wonderful invite, and I am glad to be a part in here. Well, I am a Microbiologist. Did my Bachelors from Madras University and Masters from Bharathiyar University. I worked in different corporates (which included Education Consultancy and Banking) for almost ten years. When my daughter was a year old, I had to quit my corporate career. I am the Mother of two naughty kids. I love to draw, read, travel. Did a few online jobs and then stumbled into baking accidently, which opened a new world for me.
How did you learn baking? Did you go to any baking school?
No, I didn’t learn baking by attending baking classes. I am a self-taught baker. As in most cases, where artists and bakers had a passion for baking from childhood, I was very different. Very very different indeed! I loved to eat cakes, but was never so fond of baking. I remember my Mom baking great cakes, but never once tried to be with her or see the process, but just gobble up the yummy end product. But once I stumbled into baking (quite accidentally though!) and it changed my world! I work with all mediums on my cakes, like buttercream, whipped-cream and fondant. It all depends on customer preferences.
How was your first baking experience? Did everything went right?
As mentioned, I was never into baking and after I quit my corporate job, with the time in hand, thought of making my first cake for my daughter’s birthday. I did not even have an oven at that time, but did in a microwave. It was not that great, had many flaws, but it did ignite the fire in me. I love art and the possibility of bringing my creative side into edible form interested me in trying baking. From then on, my journey in acquiring information related to baking and cake decorating is a never ending process.
Jeny, tell us about your baking venture Jenys Cake Corner. What motivated you to become an entrepreneur?
I used to run a blog in my free time and seeing my cake experiments my daughter’s playschool teachers requested me to do a cake for their Christmas Celebration in 2013. Though I was hesitant, I gave a try. That marked the beginning! My Facebook Page – Jenys Cake Corner later took place by Sep 2014, which did help in promoting my works on an online platform. Having worked in corporate companies for so long, sitting idle really made me go crazy. So in my search to have a balance between home and work, I stumbled upon baking and designing cakes where my creative side is put into use and I could manage my home.
Today, I am glad I took that decision. It was not easy at that time as I knew nothing about baking or business and had no one to turn to ask on my doubts. Thanks to my family and close friends who stood with me to get this far.
Creativity and commerce are integral parts of a business. How do you strike a productive balance between the two?
Striking a balance between both is not an easy task. Here, art in edible form is given out and definitely it comes with a price, yet by understanding the targeted audience. Considering the time involved and the quality of ingredients that goes into the making of a product, at times it does not make a match (definitely in the commerce side). However, when I get to know how happy and content my customers are, it makes it all worthwhile!
What are some of the signature items of Jenys Cake Corner?
Jenys Cake Corner not only specializes in customized cakes and designs but also in flavor. Understanding customer palate is very important. Hence after discussions, we do put forward suggestions of our signature flavors, which has been put in the list after several rounds of tests. Along with cakes, Jenys Cake Corner’s most in demand goodies include brownies, cookies, cupcakes, dessert shots, to name a few.
What is your favourite cake recipe?
I love developing recipes, and I experiment a lot on the recipes that I have had earlier. I have had great feedbacks from clients on my Spiced Vanilla Cake, Pumpkin Cake, Rich Caramel Cake, Tres Leches, Chocolate and Peanut Butter Cake to name a few.
We have the Masala Chai Cake for the tea lovers exclusively and the Mulberry Cake made from organic mulberries, which is seasonal!
Narrate some of your success stories.
In my two year journey as a home baker, I was fortunate and blessed to be featured in a few leading magazines. Vanitha – being a leading regional magazine and Wedding Life – an all Kerala wedding magazine had me featured. I was also featured in a couple of online platforms at different times. Apart from that, my clients who repeatedly come over is my greatest achievement that I could consider my greatest success.
Jeny, how has the decision to take up baking as your profession influenced your life?
Though it was never a planned thought, the journey has been wonderful and each cake, that leaves my kitchen is a learning experience. Cake Art is a vast subject that needs to be understood deeply and yes, it does keep changing. This profession has made me learn a lot of things that I once was not even bothered to read on. It brings in great satisfaction when you get feedbacks from your customers saying their day was great with our treats and they enjoyed. And yes, I have had wonderful clients who have even corrected me on my little mistakes during my earlier days, which has helped me to get better and built a relation that has gone in depth from a customer to a great friend.
How challenging is baking as a profession for you?
As mentioned before, I am a self-taught baker and I have made umpteen mistakes in my learning days. It is really challenging when you learn on your own and take the courage to craft cakes that could make or break you. I have taken several risks on several occasions and kept my fingers crossed. Fortunately, things went well.
Secondly, when customers come in at the last minute and have great ideas and plans on cake, which is indeed not an easy task to craft one within a short notice.
What are your future plans for growth?
I would love to bring in more unique flavors and more options in my menu and get people to explore. I would like to equip myself with immense knowledge in Cake Art and get my clients the best that they could dream off. Bettering myself each day is something which I always aim to achieve!
If you want someone to bake something special for you, who would it be and what would be the product?
Anything from my two little munchkins, it would be the tastiest cake in the world for me!
Some baking lessons that you would like to share with us…
Stick to the measurements, get creative, have the fire in you. Do it with passion. Mistakes do happen, but that is not the end. Practice, practice and practice, results will show then.
And, one final question of this session Jeny, if you have had one wish…
Sharpen my skills more, so that I could go that extra mile to create some real tough art on cakes that I have been having in mind for long!
If you too have a story and want to share it with us, then drop us a mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or drop us a message on our Facebook Page.