Jo Johnston, owner of The Cake Place decided four years ago to have a drastic change of career from her job as a dental nurse, finally taking the plunge and opening a cake shop in South Shields.
Now alongside her mum (who taught her to bake) she runs ‘The Cake Place’ baking an array of celebration cakes from baby gender reveal cakes to wedding cakes.
“I remember the first time I had to do a wedding cake” recalls Jo, “I was so worried about it, cause obviously it’s a really big thing. Now I could do it in a heartbeat, but originally it was so scary.”
At The Cake Place, Jo and the team bake everything fresh to ensure that the cake is of best quality for your big day: “we know that our cake takes a week to decorate and we know that it’s good for another week after that as long as it’s iced and covered up, so we know we’ve got two weeks that it’s absolutely fine.
“We also take a sample of each cake that we make and we label it up with whose cake it is, what day it was made and who made it and we keep that to one side. But obviously after doing so many we know how long they last.”
The cake that stays fresh the longest, however, is the traditional fruit cake. This is due to the amount of alcohol in the mixture. “The way you make fruit cake is that, you put loads of alcohol in it so it matures. So the longer you have them the nicer they are,” explains Jo. “In sponge cakes, we don’t use fresh cream or anything like that, we use products that are going to last quite well. As long as we don’t use fresh fruit or fresh cream they stay quite nice for a while”.
Although fruit cake is considered to be traditional for a wedding, it is not the most popular flavour for a wedding cake, says Jo: “it’s mostly sponge. As people tend to go for a three-tier cake, they tend to go for a vanilla one, a lemon one and a chocolate one or red velvet. Some people have really weird and wonderful things; we did a mint chocolate cake before and we’ve got a rhubarb and custard one coming up too.”
If you want one of The Cake Place’s amazing cakes, you’d better book in advance as Jo tell us that they usually take reservations a year before the wedding: “sometimes there’s last-minute ones and if we’re available we’ll take the order one but I would say about a year in advance.”