Renee Whitelocke,Youthlink Writer
At age 19, Talented Teen Jessica Hylton is on the verge of establishing her own business, thanks to her superb baking skills. It is passion and perseverance that have made her a cut above the rest.
School: University of the West Indies, Faculty of Law
Youthlink: What do you enjoy most about baking?
Jessica Hylton: I bake everything from scratch, so I would say I really enjoy seeing the great end result after so many hours of work. I think that’s why I can spend such a long time doing a cheesecake or baking and decorating a cake for eight hours straight. There is something about hard work that allows you to reap immense satisfaction at the end.
How long have you been baking and what is your favourite thing to bake?
I have been baking since I was seven years old. I started serious baking from scratch about four years ago, and baking for my business about eight months ago. My favourite thing to bake is bread; to see how the dough rises over hours is just amazing to me.
The cookies posted on your BlogSpot feature intricate, colourful designs. How long does it usually take to produce treats like those and what is the process like?
The decorated sugar cookies take about three days in total to finish. On the first day, you have to shape and bake the cookies, then the same day you have to outline them with icing which takes 24 hours to dry. The final day and a half is spent adding the finishing details and allowing them to dry. It’s a very long but rewarding process. It’s tempting to speed up the drying time but it is well worth doing it the right way.
Have you had your share of baking disasters?
Oh definitely! There was one time when I had to bake a sweet-16 cake and, of course, I left the sugar out of the first three layers; had to do it over. There was also a time when I was baking cupcakes and realised too late that the butter was still on the counter; had to do them over too. A blender has also exploded on me. I have learnt from these disasters though … never bake when you are tired!
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I hope to just keep growing as much as I can; continue working hard. Law is my real focus, but hopefully, by then, I will be baking cakes and treats for celebrities and will have a thriving online business!
If you had the opportunity to bake for anybody, which one person would you want to bake for?
Well, my baking/decorating idol is Peggy Porschen, a UK baker best known for her exquisite wedding and miniature cakes, so I would love to bake something for or with her.
Do you create your own recipes or do you mimic/modify others?
I started out just mimicking recipes, then I began to modify them to make them better. Now, I’ve created quite a few of my own recipes. However, if I find a recipe that is perfect; I don’t tweak it at all. Why mess with perfection?
Any useful advice to share with other talented teens like yourself?
It sounds cliché but it’s true; Leonardo da Vinci didn’t paint the Mona Lisa overnight. If you want to achieve success, be patient; you have to keep at it. If you’re in it only for the money, with no true passion, then it will be even harder. Also, as @RevRunWisdom (the Twitter account of Rev Run) once Tweeted, “Your dreams are your dreams. Not everyone will understand them.” Some people will doubt you and that’s okay; achieve your dreams for you and prove those people wrong.
To view more of Jessica’s creations and to contact her, check her out at:www.jessikerbakes.blogspot.com