In The News
JB Bakery took on the challenge of creating a cake fit for a Hard Rock grand opening. Taking more than a month to plan and assemble, the cake weighed in at about 300 pounds and fed up to 1,000 people.
By Lauren Purnell / firstname.lastname@example.org / @LaurenPurnellNJ
Posted Jul 11, 2018 at 11:39 AM
Updated Jul 11, 2018 at 11:39 AM
BURLINGTON CITY — Seven PVC pipes, 200 pounds worth of sheet cakes, and lots and lots of butter cream — that’s what it took for JB Bakery to create a cake fit for the Atlantic City Hard Rock Hotel and Casino grand opening on July 2.
The owner of the bakery, Stephen Simon, is good friends with Jorge Vergaga, Senior VIP Host of Nightlife Operations at the new Hard Rock. The pair have been working together for years, creating cakes for DJ Steve Aoki, who is known for throwing sheet cakes at the audience during his shows.
“It was one of those things where, it’s the Hard Rock opening, my really good friend is there, we have a history of making cakes together … let’s keep it in the family,” said Simon.
The massive cake took about a month to plan and another full week to assemble and decorate, complete with working LED lights, toy cars, and the infamous Hard Rock guitar.
The platform for the cake was a half inch thick board of plywood, followed by the installation of seven PVC pipes to support the 20 sheet cakes that were stacked on top.
Baker Betty Cordero, a custom cake wedding specialist, spent 12 to 13 hours a day in the bakery’s decorating room for an entire week to ensure that they would make the deadline.
“I’m not doing this,” Cordero said of her initial reaction, followed by a peal of laughter. “It was worth it, it turned out great.”
The end product weighed in at an estimated 300 pounds with the cake weighing 200 pounds itself before the vanilla buttercream and fondant frosting was applied.
But Simon will tell you a different story.
“I delivered it and I can tell you, it was a realistic 400 pounds,” he said.
The delivery of the cake proved to be just as much of a process as it was to assemble.
“The cake was done, but that was half the battle” said Simon.
Simon and six other men attempted to lift the massive cake and carry it to the van but they were no match. As soon as they had it in the air the board cracked.
“We had to repair it,” said Cordero.
During the next round they utilized a cart and successfully transported the cake into the van, with only an inch of free space between the door frame and the cake.
“We had to get it there without somebody making a mistake, tripping, something falling on it, or someone getting into a car accident,” Simon said.
Simon drove 45 mph all the way to Atlantic City for fear of jostling the cake, often pulling over to let other drivers pass.
He eventually made it to his destination but was met by a new dilemma: how was he going to get it inside the building?
The Hard Rock sent out some of their bartenders to offer their assistance, whose plan was, “We’re gonna carry it, we’re gonna carry it across the boardwalk,” according to Simon.
Not wanting a draw a crowd, Simon decided to take an alternate route and drove his van to the opposite side of the building and back up a ramp that led to a part of the boardwalk that was closer to the building — only to be met by a security guard.
“You have fifteen minutes,” he told Simon, before he closed the gate.
Simon and the bartenders scrambled to shift the cake onto a cart and began slowly wheeling it across the boardwalk as while passersby asking Simon, “Is that the cake, is that the cake for Hard Rock?”
“I got there around 12 midnight, right when they opened,” said Simon. “They devoured it, that thing was massive.”
It was estimated that the cake would feed around a 1,000 people and was worth five times more than a traditional wedding cake, with an estimated value between $3,000 and $4,000.
“When we do something like this it can be a big challenge for us,” said Simon.
Being a holiday weekend made it especially hard. Cordero’s assistant was busy filling the front case and taking on Cordero’s usual tasks while nine tier wedding cake orders accumulated as she undertook the project.
Cordero said making this size of a cake in a local bakery is different than what you might see on the Food Network since there’s not a team of decorators, but just her and her assistant.
“We only get one shot at it, it’s not like we make these every single week,” Simon said. “We really all pulled together to make it happen.”