Boutique Cakery and Patisserie, Bakes by Jean was founded in 2015 by Jean Cleary-Coyne, a professional pastry chef now living and working in Melbourne Australia.
Jean’s sweet and cake making skills led her from Ireland (where she began baking sponge cakes and apple tarts with her mum at the age of three) to London where she worked at the famous Harrods of Knightsbridge for three years before travelling the world and landing in Australia in 2005.
In Melbourne, Jean worked for The Big Group, Australia’s largest privately owned catering events company. TBG is held in the highest regard amongst peers and clients for its exceptional record of delivering the consummate catering experience. At The Big Group Jean headed up the specialist in house bakery and patisserie, lovingly called Buttercup Bakery where daily she and the team created sweets and cakes. On behalf of The Big Group, Jean has also travelled to Abu Dhabi, UAE and Doha, Qatar to help cater for Royal weddings.
Bakes by Jean has grown by word of mouth through Jean’s large catering and peer network. She is known for her bespoke creations, unique to each event, and for her exquisite attention to detail- AND, did we mention the superb taste and flavours in everything she produces?
Interview with Dancing with Her
Who is Jean from Bakes By Jean?
I was born in Ireland into a family of 5. My Dad has 15 siblings and my mother 7. The door was never locked, so we always had people in our house. From a very young age, I loved spending Saturday mornings baking scones, apple tarts and sponge cakes with my mother in her kitchen. Moving to London when I was 20 to work in Harrods and enjoyed every moment working there. I now call Melbourne my home and became a dual citizen in 2007. I do miss Ireland but love the life my husband and I have built here.
What do you mean when you say sensory and textural flavours?
A lot of aromas and textures bring me back to my childhood which makes me nostalgic. I love the smell of homemade honeycomb and how it cracks under the knife when set and sticks to your teeth while eating it! The cloud-like appearance of freshly made Marshmallow and how unbelievably light and fluffy it is to taste. The smell from cutting up fresh strawberries and the gorgeous colour it adds to a frosting. We taste first with our eyes – if it doesn’t look appealing we don’t want to eat it! I want to make cakes that not only look amazing but taste even better!
What is your favourite cake flavour?
I do love my ‘Chocolate Caramel’ cake as the homemade dulce de leche filling is incredible! Then again, the frosting in my ‘PB’n’J’ is ridiculously moorish! But, ‘Nuts About Nutella’ means I get to finish off the leftover Nutella, right? Too many to narrow it down to one!
You’ve travelled the world baking, what has been the most memorable ‘pinch me’ moment?
When I was asked to travel to Abu Dhabi and work at a Royal Wedding as part of a team was very special. I also feel very humbled when the same customers keep coming back and recommend my cakes to other people. There is one lady and I have baked for her bridal shower, wedding, baby shower, son’s Christening and her son’s 1st Birthday. That to me is equally special.
Is there a recipe or baked treat that you sometimes whip up for yourself?
Rice Pudding, apple crumble or bread & butter pudding! I come from a cold part of the world and comfort food is heaven for me. To curl up on the sofa with a bowl and spoon with simple old-fashioned food is perfect!