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MEET THE MAKER Jordan Rondel: The Caker



Jordan Rondel: The Caker

Jordan Rondel started The Caker, her boutique baking business, when she was just 21. Seven years on, she has a stylish shop and bakery on Auckland’s Karangahape Road, where she prepares more than 20 specialty cakes (including vegan varieties), biscuits and truffles to order, and also sells her cakes and mixes online (and in our stores). The 28-year-old lives in Ponsonby, Auckland, with two flatmates. Her boyfriend is a tattoo artist who lives overseas part-time and the couple regularly meet up in Los Angeles, New York and Auckland.

How did you get into baking as a profession?

My great-grandfather was a pastry chef in Paris. My father is French and when I was a child we visited them for holidays. My grandfather’s crepes with homemade jam were a treat he would make for me when we visited. I would always help him in the kitchen and this is where my love for baking grew. I’m completely self-taught with no professional training.

Is there a signature Caker cake or a cake that is most popular?
Definitely my Flourless Dark Chocolate cake. It’s the cake that the business was founded on in 2010 and is our absolute best-seller. It’s rich, fudgy and made with the best chocolate money can buy.

What's the biggest or best cake you've ever been commissioned to make?
We once made a cake banquet for an Indian wedding that had more than 300 guests, and went on for multiple days. That was a lot of cake!

How would you describe your cake-decorating style?
Relaxed and natural — everything I put on my cakes has to look beautiful and taste delicious. At The Caker, we couldn’t survive without freeze-dried fruit or fresh flowers.

What’s your one-step decorating tip for the home cook or for someone baking one of your cake mixes at home?
A few fresh rose buds in the centre of a cake is an easy and accessible way to make it look that much more special. Remember that odd numbers always look best and it pays to place your first flower slightly off centre and work out from there.

What new trends have you noticed in the baking world recently?
Unicorn cakes, cakes topped with doughnuts and macarons, and drip cakes [the ones with stylised drips down the side]… all trends that don’t apply to The Caker in any way!

Do you have any advice for home bakers?
Getting to know your oven is so important. Every oven is different and might have a specific hotspot or cook from the bottom or the top, so it’s good to know your favorite spot in the oven! Also, using high-quality ingredients will make a huge difference to your baking, especially when it comes to chocolate and cocoa powder.

What makes you most happy about The Caker?
Getting to work with my sister, Anouk, and my friends — it makes coming to work every day so enjoyable. Anouk co-owns the business with me. I’m the creative director and she’s the managing director. We work so well together because we have very different brains, but the same desire to take The Caker to great heights. It’s important to have complete trust in someone who shares the business with you, so I feel lucky to be on this journey with my sister. Right now, we’re working on getting our cake mixes stocked internationally, which is exciting. It’s my dream to have a branch of The Caker in LA.

When you’re not creating cakes, what do you most enjoy doing?
I love cooking, so hosting dinner parties for friends at home is my idea of a perfect evening. I love creating a Lebanese-style feast with plenty of salads, grilled haloumi, hummus, dates, herbs and labne.

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