Jess Miners-Bromley advancing in 'The Greatest Baker' competition
BY SCOTT STEPHENSON
Jess Miners-Bromley is used to seeing her cakes sitting pretty - she spent years honing her skills before opening Bakery Bliss - the home baking business she operates in Blyth. More recently, the baker has found herself sitting in the catbird seat as she has enjoyed a confidence-boosting outpouring of support from the community as she competes in “The Greatest Baker” - a global competition hosted by Cake Boss Buddy Valastro.
Miners-Bromley was kind enough to chat via telephone with The Citizen while she waited for one of her confectionary concoctions to cool down enough to receive its first layer of her expertly smoothed icing.
Miners-Bromley first discovered this big bake-off via social media. “I found out about it from Facebook - an ad just popped up on my page and I decided just to go for it and see what happens.” Part of the potential pastry prize would involve meeting Cake Boss star Buddy Valastro. Valastro got his start at the legendary bakery Carlo’s Bake Shop in New Jersey before going on to become one of reality television’s biggest baking stars. The chance to meet him was one of the biggest draws for Blyth’s newest competitive baker. “I watched his show growing up, and I just loved his work. I wanted to be like him.”
Miners-Bromley took the lead in the early stages of the online-voting competition - a true indication that the people of Huron County are behind her all the way. “I’ve been holding the lead since Sunday… I’m hoping I can keep it all the way through the competition. Each week that passes I get more and more excited, and I am just in awe of the community for all the support.”
It’s easy to understand why people are more than happy to cast a vote her way - even if you’ve never tasted one of her pastries, just taking a look at the creations she posts on Instagram and Facebook is enough to start your sweet tooth singing. She’s already run the gamut of decadent desserts - sometimes serving up a slice of the surreal, like when she constructed a dirt bike track out of cupcakes, or when she added a side of sugar cookie fries to her double cheeseburger cake. On other occasions, she’s experimented with the extremes of elegance with metallic rose cakes and towering modern wedding masterpieces. No matter what she’s making, each and every completed cake, cookie, square and sweet looks ready for its close-up - a good thing, considering that part of the winner’s prize is being featured in Bake From Scratch magazine!
But how does Miners-Bromley achieve the flawless finish that makes all her desserts oh so so photogenic? “I always adjust my recipes… when you have an icing that’s a really good consistency, it’s really easy to pipe and frost and get a nice smooth even coat.”
Most recently, she made some custom cupcakes that truly do justice to the area’s beloved Highland cattle. And while all those “gram-worthy” images are worth a thousand words, Miners-Bromley never forgets the most important part of baking. “Cake has to taste good… a cake can look awful, but as long as it tastes good, it’s going to be OK… I think looks are kind of the least important!”
Right now, Bakery Bliss may be reaching towards that brass ring of wider recognition, but for Miners-Bromley, things all started out on a much more intimate level - with her family. “I’ve done a lot of baking with my grandparents and my mom, and they’ve taught me a lot… I’ve been baking ever since I was little when I got my first-ever Easy Bake Oven.”
It was clear, even way back then, that she was destined to become a baker extraordinaire. “The very first thing I made was a chocolate chip cookie in the Easy Bake Oven. I want to say it was kind of messy and probably tasted like it was cooked in a microwave - but it was as good as a five-year-old could make it!”
This Blyth baker’s journey of edible edification has brought her to a number of monumental conclusions - brownies have to be fudgy, maple syrup is good in everything and vanilla cake with lemon curd filling is a winning combination.
Even without the attention of a baking competition, the holiday season is a busy and joyful time for the young baker. “Christmas is the best time, when my family gets together and we bake a lot! And currently I have a whole holiday menu going on at the bakery.” Miners-Bromley makes a lot of elegant and whimsical cakes, using classic cold weather ingredients in innovative ways. If you are a fan of a classic gingerbread, ask her about her whipped ginger ganache! More into old-school striped peppermint?
Check out her candy cane cheesecake shots! She offers a little something for everybody, and she also does custom orders for those with a particular vision for a specific festive treat. While dreams of someday opening a brick-and-mortar bake shop are still just sugar plums dancing in her head, if you’re interested in tasting a little bit of Jess’s blissful baking, you can enquire at firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact her on Facebook at bakerybliss or on Instagram at bakerybliss_jess.