The baking and cake decorating business in Amman has been steadily growing with the increasing demand of artistic and visually pleasing cakes and celebration desserts. While scanning through different bakery/cake design pages on Facebook, I was captivated by the unique cake displays of a pastry chef and a cake artist fan page: Ban Bakes. The elegant and well-designed cakes and the attention to the smallest details aroused the curiosity in myself to meet the mastermind behind this outstanding venture. The young and talented Jordanian Ban Tell tells us more about her life journey, and how she switched from being a web developer to a certified pastry chef and cake designer.
Ban’s passion for baking started at the age of 13 watching her mother do her magic. “As a child, the kitchen was a major part of my life and I developed a strong admiration for cooking and baking. My signature desserts as a teenager were chocolate cake and éclairs.” says Ban. However, when it was time to pick career paths, Ban didn’t take the culinary path. “I never really thought of baking as a career. I actually wanted to be an architect, but with IT being all the hype back then, and with the influence of my family, I ended up in the technology field. I graduated from Jordan University with a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Information Systems (CIS), and ended up working in the IT field.” adds Ban. After two years of a rewarding web development career at Media Plus, Ban started to wonder if a desk job was not for her. Despite the long office hours, Ban managed to teach herself more about cake design, and discovered in herself a concealed passion and talent for cake decorating. “I started with online tutorials, forums, YouTube videos and Cake design books to acquire more knowledge in that field.” explains Ban. “The practical part was the most interesting and enjoyable for me. I started experimenting at home, practicing what I’ve learnt and coming up with techniques of my own. I started with small items like decorated cupcakes and cookies, and moved on to bigger and more detailed cakes as my skills sharpened.”
The whole business started unexpectedly. “It started with a cake I made to celebrate my architect best friend’s birthday: a simple decorated cake with a girl figurine and her architecture tools.” The cake was sent to the friend’s office and everyone was raving about the design and taste. A few days later, with the magic of word-of-mouth, Ban started receiving calls from people wanting to order decorated cakes for their own celebrations. Soon enough, she was busy with orders for baby showers, birthdays, engagements and weddings. With this increasing number of orders, Ban took a leap of faith and decided to quit her job as a web developer and focus on cake design full time.
Early 2010, Ban took her dreams to the next level and applied for a professional pastry degree. She started her journey as a professional pastry chef at Le Condon Bleu (LCB) Paris in March 2010. Although cake design is not part of the French pastry culture, Ban decided to join to learn all about the world of pastries. The 9 months program followed by an internship allowed Ban to learn more about French pastries, mousse cakes, macaroons, sophisticated desserts, chocolate work and poured and pulled sugar art. Her passion and dedication and the love of what she does helped her to be ranked first among the diverse and talented students at LCB. Her experience there allowed her to gain more professional experience in the world of pastry and to develop her own recipes and self-taught techniques, taking her passion to a whole new level.
In 2011, Ban continued her cake design career by joining the design department at Berko Paris: an American-style bakery specializing in cheesecakes, cupcakes, and decorated cakes. The three years that she spent with Berko as a cake designer enriched her experience and widened her design imagination. During that period, Ban had the chance to work with TopChef France, giving the contestants a cake design training session to help them decorate a cake in one of their challenges. After a fruitful career at Berko, wanting a new challenge, Ban flew back to Jordan and started a plan to establish her own cake design business in Amman.
In September 2014, Ban Bakes was established, providing the market with outstanding decorated cakes and everyday sweet delicacies. “We’re blessed to have continuous orders coming in, despite the fact that we’re still not operating at full capacity, and are still light on the marketing side. We get orders for a variety of items and themes. Themed dessert tables are the most requested, where the customers can enjoy a selection of different desserts decorated and arranged according to the theme of their choice.” Ban says. The delicious layer cakes, moist and fluffy cupcakes, themed birthday cakes and dessert tables are handcrafted treats and pure pleasure for both the mouth and the eyes!
*Pictures courtesy of Ban Tell