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15 year-old business owner makes her mark, in frosting

Jenna Long, better known around Southern Maryland as “JennaCakes” has been baking for as long as she can remember.

“I’ve always been around cooking and into baking,” Jenna said. “I think I’ve always had that fascination for cake decorating.”

Most freshmen in high school spend their time doing homework and hanging out with friends. At 15 years old, Jenna balances her schoolwork and social life with running her own bakery.

Since officially starting JennaCakes Bakery in November 2014 under her grandmother, Lynn Brady’s, catering license, Jenna has gained experience in all facets of baking.

“I’ve learned a lot,” she said. “It’s crazy how much you can learn in such a short amount of time.”

Though she specializes in cakes, JennaCakes Bakery also sells pies, brownies, cupcakes, cake pops and cookies that are all custom made to order.

“Customizing is one of my favorite things to do,” she said. “Someone can come to me with an idea that they have and I can make it come to life for them.”

All of Jenna’s baked goods are made from scratch, and some are made from her own recipes.

“On days that she’s not busy filling an order she will experiment,” said Brady. “She’s developed her own french vanilla cake with an almond frosting.”  

Jenna not only creates all of her products from scratch, but also makes all of her decorations free hand. She refuses to put artificial decorations on her cakes.

“For me it’s easier hand cutting to get it exactly how I want it,” she said.

According to Brady, people are often surprised by Jenna’s age based on the quality of her work.

“I think the big wow factor with (customers) is that she’s 15,” said Brady. “They expect to see an adult when they come to pick up the cake and are greeted by her. Everyone has loved everything she’s done thus far. She has a lot of repeat customers.”

Jenna enjoys seeing the customers’ reactions to her work.

“One of my favorite parts (of the business) is seeing what people think,” she said. “When I’m finished with a big project, it’s worth it. All the effort I put in; I see what I’ve created and I see the look on their faces; it’s just all worth it. I love it.” 

Jenna sees this business as only the beginning.

“I definitely want to take it as far as it can go,” she said. “The sky’s the limit so I’m going to keep on going with it as long as I can.”

In addition to her own experimenting in the kitchen, Jenna has also taken a four month decorating class at Michael’s and plans to take another decorating class at the College of Southern Maryland this summer.

Jenna plans on keeping up with her business throughout the rest of her high school career and then into college.

She plans to attend college locally and earn a business degree so that she will be able to better handle that aspect of her company in addition to attending culinary school.

One day Jenna wants to expand her business and have her own storefront bakery and incorporate all kinds of desserts and pastries.

“When I was little it was always something that I had in my head,” she said. “It’s just starting to come alive now and it’s been cool.”

Jenna said that baking has not lost its appeal since it has become her job.

“It’s still fun to me,” she said. “It’s something that I love and that I always want to do. It’s never really been a chore for me, there are times where it’s hard but it’s something that I love doing and that I’ll definitely always do.”

JennaCakes Facebook page

JennaCakes website

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