Cake & Bake: Let Them Eat Cake

After a six-year hiatus, brisbane’s queen of baking Jocelyn hancock is back in a big way, with her recently opened West end haven of sweet and savoury delights, cake & bake.

From the West End brownie made with halva, tahini and coverture chocolate, to her classic, vibrant, fresh lemon tarts, Cake & Bake has got it going on. Jocelyn has always been about creating quality products, which anyone who visited her previous James Street store, Jocelyn’s Provisions, would be well aware of.

Not only does Cake & Bake sell some of the most delectable sweet baked goodies in town, customers flock to the store to buy savoury items made fresh daily, along with biscuits and slices, and barista coffee to enjoy it all with. There’s even lovely bottles of jams, fruit compotes and relishes made with produce from Jocelyn’s farm to take home and savour.

Cake & Bake has a modern, bright, clean and sleek appearance. It’s enticing and inviting, with classical touches and a wholesome, farm-fresh ethos.

“We’re about provenance basically. If we stock something we can tell you where it came from and who grew it. And we use quality ingredients in all of our products. My philosophy is still the same, it’s just different in the way I present things,” Jocelyn said.

While Cake & Bake stock a regular range of cakes, they’re anything but ordinary.

“We do a few classic French things, we do a concours, which is a beautiful layered meringue with mousse gateau, we do a couple of flourless cakes, a classic lemon tart, a red velvet, a lovely baked rich New York-style cheesecake, we do a range of biscuits and little slices people can have for morning tea, and lovely fresh tarts,” Jocelyn said.

Some of the most popular cakes are the deliciously dense red velvet, and the chocolate hazelnut cake. The caramel-topped slice is also a hit, as is the mille-feuille, a vanilla slice, sold on Fridays and Saturdays.

hazelnut cake

On the weekends a few special items are on sale, such as beautiful brioche twists with almond cream and quince puree or chocolate and raisins, and one of Jocelyn’s favourite items – fresh éclairs. Saturdays are shorter days but they have a wonderful, relaxed vibe, with customers coming in to pick up their made-to-order cakes for parties, or dropping in for a coffee and pastry in the morning,” Jocelyn says

“We sort of remind people when they come in to the shop that we have coffee and they say that’s fantastic, so they sit at the table, have a latte and a friand or flaky croissant in the morning.

The coffee is blended in Brisbane and it’s a blend Jocelyn created with a local roaster. She says it’s lovely, rich, creamy, and strong – but not overpowering.

Every small detail about Cake & Bake is evidence of Jocelyn’s passion for province, and quality, seasonal, fresh produce, which Jocelyn incorporates into the menu, with what’s growing at her own farm in the forefront of her mind.

“We have a property out at Killarney we’ve built a house on and we have our citrus and stone fruit orchard there. We also have hives that we use the honey from in the shop, and we use the fruit when in season in the shop,” Jocelyn said, adding they do fresh tarts every day with ingredients like pear and quince in the summer and lovely fresh salads daily, made from seasonal produce.

Jocelyn says the salads are always a hit, as is the compote that is sold under her label Hancock & Farm. Jocelyn says this is particularly rewarding, as it’s a driving force behind why she wanted to open Cake & Bake in the first place.

“I was looking to do a bottled fruit product for retail and I couldn’t find anyone to actually process it for me, so I was looking for a kitchen to do it myself. I was doing a lot of baking at the same time and I was thinking I wouldn’t mind throwing my hat in the ring again. I felt like I was ready – I felt energised to be dealing with butter and flour and eggs again, on a commercial scale.”

In Jocelyn’s sabbatical, it wasn’t exactly time spent disengaged from the baking world. She sold Jocelyn’s Provisions in 2009 and worked as a consultant for a few years, as well as doing food-related jobs on the side.

Jocelyn worked as a food consultant to one of Brisbane’s top food entrepreneurs Damian Griffiths for two years, who owns popular hipster haunts such as Alfred & Constance, Chester Street, Alfredo’s, Kwan Brothers and Doughnut Time.

It’s no secret Brisbane is emerging as a foodie capital, and Jocelyn says competition is one of the big challenges that has emerged in the past few years.

“Competition has always been there, but I guess now there’s a bit more in my field. I’m certainly at the higher end of the market – quality has always been my mantra and people associate what I do with quality. I haven’t changed as such, but things around me have changed.

“You have to be pretty adaptive, inventive and innovative no matter what you do. I just happen to be in food.

“Jocelyn cites social media as another big change, where “everything is available all the time… or expected to be available.”

This might be so, but there’s something utterly romantic about strolling into a store where there’s something different and delicious to be discovered, dependent on what’s growing at the farm.

Jocelyn’s Cake & Bake


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