From our files: a Bestcovery staffer tries out a new hobby during the 2020 lockdowns
During last year's coronavirus-related lockdowns, many people took up new hobbies or passions such as potting, painting, and woodworking. Me? I tried my hand at baking. Thanks to having had ample time to binge-watch countless baking shows on Netflix, I was determined to create something worthy of the judges' approval. Now, my expectations were realistic enough to understand full well that I could never build a 5-tier Space Odyssey-themed cake with planets as the surprise inside, but I also knew I wanted something more than what comes with those store bought brands that contain ingredients only a chemist could pronounce. Enter The Caker.
Jordan Rondel (aka The Caker) got her start in 2010 and opened up The Caker bakery in New Zealand. Today, Jordan and her sister Anouk run two bakeries - their flagship in Auckland and another in Los Angeles. The driving philosophy behind The Caker is twofold:
1. Real ingredients that people without a science degree can pronounce
2. Sheer simplicity, meaning using items you would find in your grandma’s kitchen.
In fact, even Jordan attributes her inspiration to her grandparents. Given the widespread lockdowns and the desire to avoid LA traffic regardless, I chose to try one of their cake kits that can be purchased on their website. There are three decadent flavors to choose from: Matcha Cherry, Lemon Strawberry Poppy Seed, and Flourless Dark Chocolate Gold Leaf. The novelty of eating 24k gold won me over, so I went with the third option.
As far as first impressions go, The Caker absolutely nails it before you even open the packaging. The box is reminiscent of old-timey European cookbooks full of generations-old recipes, yet somehow gives off a modern vibe with its simple text presentation and large, minimalist pictures. Of course, this has nothing to do with the flavor, but it does prepare you for the richness and quality of the contents inside.
Glancing at the nutrition facts box, I was reassured to find that the whole kit contained only 5 ingredients, all of which are gluten-free and non-GMO. The only two items that are needed to complete the recipe are eggs and butter; since both are staples of any non-vegan kitchen, there's no need to run out to purchase additional ingredients. The kit even contains a non-stick liner, which was a pleasant surprise, as well as an instruction card.
The instructions were easy to follow, but they're more than just well-written. Rather than the typical recipe directions that state “add 5 eggs”, I truly appreciated the fact that The Caker went above and beyond to clarify exactly how to add those 5 eggs: “Now add 5 eggs one by one, making sure they are each completely combined into the cake batter before adding the next.” This attention to detail ensures even the most amateur baker executes each step like a professional would, leaving very little room for error or omission caused by ambiguity.
Nine steps and approximately one hour later, I had a cake worthy to move onto the next round on a baking show. Every bite was moist and rich with flavor. The dark chocolate was sweet but not overbearing and the gold flake made you feel like you were a celebrity. If you’re an avid baker or just starting out but don’t want to settle for low-quality ingredients, you must try The Caker cake kits. I for one will be trying their other flavors very soon!