… and learn how to make your own gummy bears at home!


 Rhiannon Jenkins is the face behind Rhiannon’s Cake Emporium which specialises in bespoke cakes for all ages and events.

Jenkins says she knew from the age of eight that pastry and baking was in her blood: “My late grandmother Daphne is the one who sparked this interest in me. She introduced me to many flavours and textures and always shared her secret tips with me over the years.

“Mine is still a home-based business, so you know love is put into every bite! I’ve always been well known for my attention to detail and for the delicious quality of my bespoke cakes. My business started officially in 2018 when I decided I wanted to be my own cake boss and that’s what I’ve been doing ever since.”

Jenkins – who studied at Boksburg’s Capsicum Culinary Studio and graduated in 2017 top of her class with a triple distinction – talks about her already impressive career and her plans for the future. She also shares a few easy recipes including how to make your own gummy bears and sweet treats during lockdown:

What do you currently do?
I own and run my own novelty cake company called Rhiannon’s Cake Emporium – which I run from my home in Parkrand, Boksburg – specialising in wedding cakes. I also teach classes and supply a handful of restaurants and cafés in Johannesburg.

How has your culinary journey been so far?
It has definitely been a rollercoaster adventure from the late nights and early mornings to the hours of traveling to set up the perfect cake for a client. I wouldn’t change a single thing, though! The cake industry is constantly changing and I try to challenge myself on a daily basis. I have a passion for people, learning and sharing what I have learnt with people through my custom crafted cake classes.

Why Capsicum?
From the moment I knew I wanted to study culinary arts, Capsicum was the obvious choice. Not only was the campus conveniently located for me, but the atmosphere was just so inviting and inspiring. Although my Capsicum journey was challenging at times, I would definitely say that the school created a firm foundation for me to build upon and it’s been nothing but up ever since!

How did Capsicum prepare you for the industry?
It definitely prepared me for the business perspective of it all. I was lucky enough to sit with the Head Chef of the Maslow Hotel working on costing for the hotel thanks to Capsicum.

What are your favourite cakes/pastries and desserts to make?
My absolute favourite cake is a simple rainbow vanilla sponge with a fluffy meringue filling (a rainbow amongst the clouds) and, of course, my signature Ferrero Rocher cake – it’s simple but to die for, even if I say so myself.

How are you coping with the current lockdown and what are you doing to keep yourself occupied?
It’s been stressful but I always try and make light of a tough situation, so I’ve been making use of the time to explore and experiment with techniques that I usually wouldn’t have the time for. Let’s just say there’s been a lot of chocolate involved! 

Where do you see myself in five years?
I see myself being the owner of my own coffee shop/bakery and expanding my business to a few locations over the next 10 years.

What is the cake you are most proud of creating (and explain what it was)?
A six-tier wedding cake I created two years ago. The three base tiers were made entirely of ruffles which took me eight hours to complete (these tiers were fake) and the top three tiers were made up of beautiful, intricate, handmade edible lace which took me about two to three days to make as they take time to set. The delivery and set up of this cake also tested my ability, as not only was it one of the warmest days of December, but the road to the venue was not a kind one! But all in all, the set up was a success and I’m extremely proud of the outcome.  

Do you do the cooking at home and what do you cook?
Thanks to my Capsicum qualification it’s expected of me to cook. That being said I absolutely love being the chef in the house, as not only do I get to cook what I feel like on the day, the plates are usually clean when they get to the sink. I love doing a variety of meals throughout the week to avoid the same old same old, although I’d have to say that I do cook a lot of pastas.

What three things would we always find in your fridge/pantry? 
I’d have to say butter, chocolate and gelatine (my latest obsession is creating my own flavour of gummy bears) 

Is there a chef you admire the most?
The Cake Boss Buddy Valastro. His remarkable ambition and creativity are such contagious attributes. Growing up, my goal was to meet Buddy himself and in 2014 this dream came true. He is my role model.

What is your favourite cuisine?
Haute cuisine.

How many different types of cuisine are you capable of producing?
Over a dozen cuisines, although my passion lies in making cakes. I also love making Indian dishes.

What do you do to stay current on new trends?
I spend a lot of my free time on Pinterest and Instagram, I follow a lot of cake and dessert pages and always do my part to promote new trends on my personal pages.

Describe two or three of the most interesting industry trends:
One of the biggest trends at present, is the classic fault line cake. This design gives the effect of a section missing from the cake, to display a design or pattern hidden underneath in accordance with the theme.
Another great trend is the Geode cake. This trend creates the look of a stone broken open to expose the beautiful interior of crystals. It relates to the communication with divine beings and uplifts any mood. It is a beautiful trend as no two crystals will ever look the same giving each cake its own unique finish.

What would be your advice to students who are currently studying towards becoming a chef?
Learn! Learn! Learn! And have fun! Although knowledge is extremely important, if you can’t find a fun way to learn about it, then it most likely won’t stick! So be creative, experiment, add your own personal touch and always make it fun!

Social media links:

  • Instagram: @rhiannonscakeemporium
  • Facebook: Rhiannon’s Cake Emporium
  • Linkedin: Rhiannon Sasha Jenkins

Homemade gummy bears recipe

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of juice or liquid of your choice (champagne gummy bears are quite delicious)
  • 1 cup castor sugar
  • 3 tablespoons gelatine powder

 This recipe is super quick and easy, basically just place all the ingredients into a saucepan and heat on a low heat until the sugar and gelatine are dissolved. 
Next step is either to pour into moulds of your choice or on a grease proof lined tin, leave at room temperature for 30 minutes and then pop into the fridge for a further 30-60 minutes.
Then just pop them out the moulds or cut them into blocks and enjoy! 

Sugar cookies

Ingredients:

  • 300g butter (softened)
  • 180g icing sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 500g cake flour

In a mixer combine the softened butter and icing sugar and beat until a fluffy buttercream texture forms. Add the eggs (don’t worry if it looks like it has split, it’s completely normal and does happen more than you think!). Finish off by adding the flour and mix until combined but be careful not to overbeat!

Place the mixture into cling wrap and make sure it’s sealed then put it in the fridge for two hours or in the freezer for 30 minutes (depends on how much time you have)

Knead it in some flour, roll out and cut out desired shapes. Then just put back into the freezer for a further 10 minutes before baking to ensure it holds its shape. Bake at 180 degrees for about eight minutes (depending on the oven).

Enjoy as is or dip them in melted chocolate for a more luxurious biscuit.

A nice variety is to add 2 tablespoons of ginger in the mix to make ginger cookies. 

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