Watch out Cake Boss, you’ve got some competition — and from a 14-year-old yet.
Jacob Kalina, who goes by Jake, is a Rochester ninth-grader, and while he has many interests, right up there is cake baking. In fact, he has a nice little business going, Jake’s Cakes, and is developing quite a reputation for not just delicious cakes but the unique and imaginative ways he decorates.
You want a cake in the shape of a turkey? He figured out how to use a bundt pan to form the bird. Spider-man? A princess? A Hobbit house? He’s got those down, too.
How did this all come about? “A cousin introduced me to the series ‘Cake Boss’ on the Food Channel a couple of years ago, and I ended up watching all of the videos,” Jake said. “It looked like fun — a cool thing to do.”
Jake got right into it and ended up baking his birthday cake when he turned 11. That was the first, and he has been at it ever since.
An inspiration at the start, the “Cake Boss,” Buddy Valastro, continues to be a part of Jake’s entrepreneurial spirit. A line of “Cake Boss” products, like cake mixes, are things Jakes takes advantage of, though he does make some from scratch. (Chocolate is his favorite.)
Same goes with frosting. Jake has become an expert at making his own, but will also use pre-made frostings. Fondant is another frosting he has mastered.
What Jake can do with decorating is quite remarkable, especially considering his age. His mother, Michelle, points out, however, that Jake is very artistic in other ways, and that his cake decorating demonstrates that.
He also recently took a series of cake-decorating classes at Michaels, the arts and crafts store. The class was sponsored by Wilton, known for a wide variety of decorating products and tools.
And speaking of tools, one section of the Kalina kitchen is devoted to his many cake pans, which he points out come in all shapes and sizes. He also has an arsenal of decorating tools, tips and coloring gels.
As long as his cakes are for family and friends, he can bake them at home. However, if Jake is going to sell or donate them, he is able to use the professional kitchen at Tonic restaurant.
The cakes have also been part of a recent school assignment. “We were to go into the community and assist an organization in some way. I decided to bake cakes, sell them and donate the money to the Boys and Girls Club,” Jake said. He distributed flyers with the information and did indeed sell a few cakes.
A recent highlight came on a trip to Las Vegas to visit family. They were eating in one of the “Cake Boss’s” restaurants when his mother mentioned to the waiter that Jake was also a cake baker. The waiter then took him back into the kitchen, showed him around and introduced him to the “Cake Boss” himself.
So does this young entrepreneur see himself as following in the “Cake Boss’s” footsteps? Probably not. As most young boys his age, he has many other interests, including anything having to do with technology, golf, rowing, music and taking things apart and putting them back together. The baking will likely just remain a satisfying hobby.