In conversation with Jenna & Ashley from Jenna Rae Cakes

Inching closer to the launch of Jenna Rae Cakes x Colour Mill, we sat down with Jenna & Ashley from Jenna Rae Cakes to chat all things baking, business and how JRC was born.
    In conversation with Jenna & Ashley from Jenna Rae Cakes

    Twin sisters and best friends from Canada, this dynamic duo are best-selling authors, judges on Food Network Canada's Wall of Bakes and successful business owners of Jenna Rae Cakes Bakery.

    Jenna (a cake designer) and Ashley (a graphic designer) have merged their skill sets to create a brand of baked goods, baking essentials and custom cakes. Known for their whimsy and wonderful baking, Jenna Rae Cakes x Colour Mill collaboration pack entails the perfect playful colour collection.

    We spoke to Jenna and Ashley to chat all things baking, business and how JRC was born.

    Jenna Rae Cakes x Colour Mill Collab
    Jenna and Ashley with the new JRC x Colour Mill collab pack
    Jenna Rae Cakes Sugar flower cake using Colour Mill
    JRC signature sugar flowers using colours from JRC x Colour Mill Pack

    How did you get started in the baking and business world? What was it that lit the spark?

    We got our start in the baking world as little kids with our mom, baba and granny. We’ve been surrounded by women who love to bake our whole lives, and they definitely ignited that spark in us at an early age, especially with holiday baking.

    We never imagined it would become our career! Ashley was set on becoming a creative director, and Jenna was set on becoming a dentist. But one day in 2009, Jenna watched an episode of Cake Boss, and with a simple thought of “I can do that”, she unknowingly set us off on a whole new path! 

    How did JRC get started?

    Jenna had a knack for cake decorating from the very first fondant cake she ever made. She was instantly hooked! It started out as a creative hobby, which quickly snowballed into friends of friends placing orders for custom cakes, and then complete strangers began reaching out.

    She was juggling her budding cake business side hustle with her schoolwork and serving job, and was struggling to find time to sleep. She was getting severely burnt out. She knew she had to either give up on her cake dreams or give up her dental career, and she chose to quit school (one credit away from a diploma, sorry mom!) and jump fully into the cake world including beginning the process of opening her own cake shop.

    Ashley was always close by in the early days, helping Jenna get her feet off the ground with a proper brand, logo, photos and a website. When Jenna signed her lease for what is now our flagship location, Ashley came on board to help Jenna out at the shop. We assumed that Jenna could get her design work done in between customers.

    When Jenna Rae Cakes opened our popularity took off— lines formed on weekends, daily sell outs made it so hard to keep up with demand, and our curated instagram page’s audience was climbing. We quickly realised that we could build this business together; Jenna with her cake skills and Ashley with her design and marketing skills, and the rest is history! 

    What’s your favourite thing about working as JRC?

    Working side by side everyday! We’re best friends and it’s been a dream come true to work together! It’s truly become a family business; Ashley’s husband, Trevor, is our COO, and our dad, Jeff, is our Supply and Office Manager. Running a business can be so hard, and it’s filled with highs and lows every day, so being surrounded by family who loves and supports you is so priceless. 

    Ashley has had so much fun designing the brand and building it over the last 10 years with packaging, JRC products, interior design, book design, and more… it’s every designers dream to build a brand from scratch! 

    Jenna’s dream of focusing on cake design and teaching has started to take off as well. She’s been loving sharing her knowledge of starting as a self-taught cake designer and baker through workshops and plans to do a lot more in the future!

    JRC x Colour Mill collaboration pack
    Jenna Rae Cakes x Colour Mill Pack
    JRC x Colour Mill collaboration pack colours
    Jenna Rae Cakes x Colour Mill pack colours

    What’s your favourite baking hack/tip?

    Mise en place… everyone will tell you that and for good reason! If you’re a perfectionist like we are, getting your ingredients out and pre-measured before you begin the baking process makes life SO much easier. The amount of times we’ve had to run out and grab a missing ingredient mid-bake would make you laugh! 

    For cake decorating, Jenna’s motto is “a cold cake is a happy cake”. If you’re having trouble getting those smooth sides, stacking, carving, etc., just throw your cake back in the fridge for ten minutes and continue. Also, never judge a cake before it’s done!

    What’s the biggest business lesson you’ve learned in your time at JRC?

    You can’t please everyone. Being people pleasers by nature, it can be really hard to build a business with so many positive and negative opinions coming at you every single day. It’s a hard balance to be open to new ideas and constructive feedback, while also being firm in your vision of what you’re building. We don’t always get it right but we’ve gotten much better at it over the years! 

    Developing tough skin is important in this day and age, and not to get lost in everyone’s opinions of what you should be doing. Having the confidence in yourself and your business will drive you through any of the doubt or uncertainty! It also really helps having each other through the tough times, being an entrepreneur can definitely be isolating!

    What’s your favourite thing about Colour Mill?

    The quality, of course, but also the design of the brand! It’s so refreshing to see such a force in the cake and baking industry who truly cares about product, packaging and brand design. Colour Mill is a triple threat! 

    What’s your favourite thing to bake/colour with Colour Mill?

    We love using our Colour Mill set for macarons and buttercream. The colours are beautiful all on their own. It’s nice having the colour you’re looking for right at your fingertips, instead of having to guess and mix colours to find the one that you want. A lot less wasted buttercream!

    Tell us a little bit about why you picked the 12 colours in your pack.

    We wanted to cover our bases and include every colour we use daily in our JRC kitchen. When someone buys this set, they will be set! There are a rainbow of options that’s slightly elevated but still approachable and fun. The colours are great on their own, and the tints and shades of each hue will make sure you’re covered for all of your baking and decorating needs.

    Learn to colour and decorate the JRC way with the Jenna Rae Cakes x Colour Mill collab pack. Launching November 23rd!

    Written By Colour Mill