Our story begins after I stumbled over the most beautiful tree stump fairy garden cake I ever laid my eyes on! Just kidding…kind of. I have been following the work of Jessica Hall, of Jessica’s Kitchen, for some time and when I saw this particular cake, I knew she had to be featured! This self-proclaimed, “New England girl” of Middletown, CT was so fun to connect with and I’m excited to share her work and wisdom with you! She has a fascinating family, and her work is simply stunning. She’s only officially been in business for 4 months, so get ready to be inspired! And learn how Jessica may be able to bring about world peace!
The Sweetest Trick Ever
Jessica started baking at a very young age, with the help of her grandmother, Jennie. And when I say “baking”, it’s not quite what you might think. You see, when Jessica was young, she would select ingredients she thought would create something fabulous. She would put everything in a bowl, mix it all up and then Jennie would say, “Now you go play and I’m going to bake these!” And upon Jessica’s return, there would be beautiful baked goods (sometimes store-bought) to which Jennie would say, “Look at what Jessica made!” Between her Grandma Jennie and Aunt Diane, the truly gifted baker of their family, Jessica learned that “There is magic in what bakers do.” And that lit a spark that has never gone away, in fact it’s only grown brighter.
Jessica’s mom, Laurie, is an excellent cook, but the first to admit, she’s no baker. Dad played for the New York Giants in the 70’s and her brother reached the ranks of the MLB and is now traveling as a musician. Jessica’s parents created a culture of excellence growing up, encouraging their kids to be the best they could be. If they wanted to do something, their mom was the most supportive person, but also held them to their commitments and taught a strong work ethic.
Jessica met her husband, Greg, in high school and they’ve been together ever since. Jessica refers to her husband and mom as her “triangle of trust,” and she is so grateful for them. Greg is a business owner himself and she describes him as “a Saint” and her rock. Their family supports each other unconditionally, no questions asked, and they wouldn’t have it any other way.
No INtention Of StaRTING a bUSINESS
With a love for Latin, Jessica majored in the classics and also went on to grad school. Still trying to discover her path, she took a job unrelated to her education, in which she “hated“. She read her books on her breaks to just get through her workdays. But there was something very valuable that came out of that experience and that something was a woman named Janne. Janne was the office baker, always the one to bring in treats for every occasion. To this day, Jessica believes Janne is “the best cake decorator I’ve ever seen.” Janne had a thriving bakery side-business and inspired Jessica to try baking. The spark was growing.
Jessica’s former high school called with an opportunity for her to teach Latin and she jumped at the opportunity. By this time Jessica had started baking cakes for family, friends and school functions. Her passion was the magic of the baking, not so much in the decorating, but that would come. One Thanksgiving, she made $200 and she was so excited, but still loved her students and teaching. Then the pandemic hit, and everything changed, especially in the world of education.
It was New Years Day 2021 when Greg told Jessica that if she wanted to focus fully on her baking, he completed supported it. Reflecting back, Jessica feels “eternally blessed to have my husband by my side and I know, without a doubt, that I would never be able to pursue this business without him.” Greg had added some fuel to that spark.
Jessica’s Kitchen is Born
In 2022, Jessica completed all the formalities of setting up the business and officially launched in Jan of 2023. She now has a bustling home bakery business offering custom cakes, cupcakes and also offers brownies, some cookies and holiday specialties. She admits, “It took a long time to develop the style that I like.” She doesn’t do characters, logos or sheet cakes; she’s happy to pass those types of requests to other bakers who are great at them. She’s honed her style over the last couple of years and is really passionate about creating unique pieces. She encourages customers to look at her work and connect with her if her style resonates with them.
She loves working with fresh florals, geode cakes and her tree stump cakes. She makes about 3-5 cakes per week and really gives each one the attention it deserves. She is also able to squeeze in smaller orders for her coveted brownies and other items. Jessica shared that, “I never set out to be a cake decorator. I just wanted to bake. The decorating has developed with me.”
Jessica also loves to work on pieces where, “the decoration reflects the flavor,” such as in the s’more cake below. Or when she gets to play with fun flavors, because that’s where her baking passion can really shine. In fact, she claims, “I would put my chocolate mousse cake in front of Gordon Ramsay and wouldn’t flinch. It’s that good.” That’s a taste test I’d pay to witness!
The Future And Thoughts on Entrepreneurship
As for what the future holds, Jessica knows she does not want a traditional storefront bakery; that’s just not where she thrives. She loves the quiet and the ability to create. She can see herself having a baking studio space where she can be creative and also have space to meet with clients. After all, her pathway to her bakery has not been traditional so why would her bakery? She loves being a baker, owner of Jessica’s Kitchen, and is grateful that her two greatest passions, Latin and baking, have been a part of her journey. She wouldn’t change a thing; that spark is glowing strong.
When I asked Jessica what advice she has for aspiring bakers, she had some insightful feedback. “If you love doing something, it’s always a possibility,” referring to people considering entrepreneurship. But she cautions, “You have to treat it like a business.” Loving to bake Christmas cookies is not the same as running a bakery. And there’s nothing wrong with a creative side hustle or having a hobby. Entrepreneurship is not for everyone and if you’d prefer to work for someone else doing what you love, that’s great too. “Educate yourself on the business side before deciding to open a business”. The moral of the story here is that Jessica loves her business, but it’s not all just playing with cakes all day. Before taking the leap, make sure you love all the parts of owning and running a bakery first. Solid advice!
Faith, Magic & Peace
Jessica and Greg took a leap of faith even when many people told them they, “were nuts for even considering opening our own businesses.” But she now knows this was the path all along. The spark was lit by Grandma Jennie many years ago and has only grown brighter by others while lighting the pathway here.
Jessica believes that “Baking is the closest thing humanity has to magic; and it’s something we can share with others to bring magic to them.” The baker has turned the individual ingredients into something special and when others get to enjoy that experience, it is magical.
While Jessica has spent years developing her cake skills, it is actually her brownies that are a bakery favorite. Coined world peace brownies, because “if we could just air drop a brownie to everyone on earth, we’d achieve world peace.” Let the record show, I’m in full support of this initiative.
It was such a pleasure to get to know Jessica and to share her experiences with you. I’m looking forward to watching where the path continues to lead her, knowing her spark won’t be extinguished. I hope you enjoy this beautiful gallery of work by Jessica’s Kitchen. And to see even more, you can visit her website HERE or follow her at the links below.
I hope you enjoyed this Featured Baker story all about Jessica’s Kitchen. I know next time I’m on the east coast, I’m making sure to get one of those famous brownies! Thank you, Jessica and congratulations on all your success!
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