Discover the stunning cake creations from Channel 4’s Extreme Cake Makers
PUBLISHED: 12:34 09 June 2020 | UPDATED: 12:59 09 June 2020
Channel 4’s Extreme Cake Makers reveal some of the secrets of their success
From levitating wedding cakes to scaled-to-size sweet versions of Stonehenge, it is easy to see why Christine and Phil Jensen became the stars of Channel 4’s Extreme Cake Makers. The couple founded Peboryon, their Penzance-based luxury cake making business, in 2014, and have watched it grow into an internationally recognised cake design studio. The couple have launched their latest venture – a conference for custom cake makers in the UK. The Cake Professionals event aims to create opportunities for cake-making professionals and help their businesses to flourish.
Peboryon’s innovative cake creations have been sought out for both flavour and design flair and are delivered across the UK.
“We love to share the joy of cake, and so we also frequently speak and demo around the UK at national cake shows, business events and food festivals,” says Christine.
The cake-making duo’s first Cake Professionals Awards ceremony took place in March, presented by chef, Cherish Finden from Bake Off: The Professionals.
“The best way to think of The Cake Professionals Conference is as a business conference about cake,” says Christine. “Ironically, there’s no cake! There are also no trade-stands or competitions, and no baking demonstrations. Instead we scour the country for experts from outside the world of cake to offer talks and workshops, bringing great business advice, skills and inspiration. This year we had everyone from an online marketing expert to one of the UK’s leading stand-up paddleboarders.”
Following a nationwide search for the best custom cakes designed, made and sold in the UK, the winners of the award categories, which include Cake of the Year, Baker of the Year and Business of the Year, walked away with a national title and cash prize.
Entrants to the awards were all from registered UK custom-cake businesses with all cakes entered having been enjoyed by clients in the past year. The cake designs were judged by world-renowned cake artists including Rosalind Miller and the Tattooed Bakers with the baking category judged by leading names in the industry including Cherish Finden, Patisserie Chef and Chocolatier, Will Torrent, Royal Pastry Chef Kathryn Cuthbertson MVO, and Pastry Chef of the Year 2019, Sarah Franklin.
Now in its second year, the conference, which takes place on the day of the awards, is a place for cake business owners to invest in themselves and their businesses, addressing some of the biggest needs of independent businesses such as developing business skills, growing confidence, finding community and avoiding burn-out. “What is most important for us is nurturing community, so we also like to have plenty of space for people to connect and build relationships that last much longer than the conference itself,” adds Phil.
The Jensen’s have themselves experienced many of the challenges of starting and running a small business such as isolation, long unsociable hours, and not knowing where to look for reputable advice. The experience highlighted the need for expert business support. “The idea for The Cake Professionals came about from our own experience of starting up a cake business. Often we found ourselves wondering where to go to for authoritative advice, and sometimes there was a sense of isolation as we work on our own. We want to see custom-cake businesses and their owners flourish and not struggle financially and personally the way many have,” says Phil.
The couple’s journey was born out of a love of baking, but more so a passion for people. “Cake and sweet treats are simply a way of celebrating them ridiculously deliciously!’ Says Christine.
The couple’s kitchen, studio and stores are connected to their family home, so the daily commute ceases to exist. ‘The kitchen is small but perfectly formed. Each season has seen us tweak its flow and efficiency, so now it’s just a dream to work in.”
Each of Jensen’s designs are custom, meaning they’re as unique as the clients who commission them. “We try and make each commission as personal as possible, which means that we start with the client, the springboard to creating something that is uniquely theirs,” says Christine.
But the Jensen’s don’t stop at cakes - they’re also commissioned to create entire tablescapes. “Delicious desserts from nougat to fresh marshmallows can be created according to a flavour profile or a colour brief,” she adds.
Christine loves the challenge of creating a show-stopping wedding cake, with a focus on the finer detail, whereas Phil enjoys designing sculpted cakes.
“In each and every commission, our aim is to bake and deliver a high quality centrepiece for the occasion,” Phil explains. “There is something deeply satisfying in hearing people say ‘That’s a cake?’”
It’s not hard to see why these custom-designed cake creations capture the attention of such a diverse clientele, with the Jensens making thousands of cakes and baked-treats to date, from traditional wedding cakes and bold colourful high-fashion designs to floating cakes for corporations and private clients and statuesque museum pieces for royal occasions.
“We’re in it to create moments that surprise and delight,” she adds. “Whether it’s a wedding, birthday or corporate celebration, we’re crafting cakes with a wow factor. That’s what makes for a memorable moment.”
A celebration cake usually takes a couple of days to create, though some of the show-stopping creations take a little longer. The team spent three days and ten hours to create more than 2,000 sugar flowers, leaves and butterflies, to dress a custom kosher wedding cake for a magician in New York. “The couple wanted something a little magical, so we made the top tier levitate for the day,” she adds. “I was so proud of how we worked together, keeping each other going in snowy 16-hour working days, so that we could deliver something remarkable and beautiful for their wedding day.”
For The Cake Professionals, Christine and Phil are working towards creating an association that will gather custom cake-makers together under one recognised body in the UK. In the hope to see business skills developed across their community, an improvement in connection and a creative hub to get expert small-business advice for custom-cake makers.
“There are loads of bucket-list cakes and dessert tables I’d love to be involved with. Cake has already taken us to so many amazing places and we’ve met some inspiring people. We’re just going to keep going and see what adventures cake takes us on next,” says Christine.
With Peboryon at peak performance, and a focus on The Cake Professionals; it looks like the Channel 4’s cake-creating stars finally get to have their cake and eat it!
This article first appeared in the June issue of Cornwall Life.