Formerly a waitress, Jessica Macrae was made redundant in April 2020 as the pandemic quickly took its toll on the hospitality sector.
From Elgin, the 26-year-old had spent a number of years baking for friends and family in her spare time prior to losing her job, but it was this experience that pushed Jessica to pursue her true passion.
For no reason other than loved ones “really enjoying” her cheesecakes, the young entrepreneur quickly began focusing on producing them in a variety of tempting flavours including Biscoff, chocolate orange and Toblerone.
And just like that, Cheesecakes by Jess was born.
Everything happens for a reason
“I have always enjoyed baking from a young age, Jessica said.
“But I love making cheesecakes because they are different from a typical sponge cake.
“I worked as a waitress for around a year before the pandemic and started making the odd cheesecake for family and friends, which I posted on social media. People then started to message me and ask if I would ever consider selling them.
“In April 2020 I sadly lost my job due to the pandemic. I say sadly but now I look back and think I would never be doing what I am if it wasn’t for the pandemic.
“When I was made unemployed during lockdown I thought, “why not just see how it goes, I have nothing to lose.” I did my health and hygiene, applied to the council to register my business and haven’t looked back.”
Since launching, Jessica has operated in a 3m x 3m renovated outbuilding at her parent’s home in Elgin.
Her social media following is constantly growing, the total of which – including the Cheesecakes by Jess Facebook and Instagram accounts – is currently sitting at roughly 3,750 followers.
“I realised people actually really liked my baking and thought maybe I can do this,” she added.
“Now I absolutely love what I do and working for myself.”
Life tastes better with cheesecake
The entrepreneur doesn’t create just one variety of cheesecake, but multiple.
Cheesecakes by Jess customers can order large or miniature cheesecakes, cheesecake cups and even cheesecake filled donuts.
They come in a variety of tempting flavours, including:
- Chocolate orange and Bueno
- Reece’s peanut butter
- White chocolate and raspberry
- Jammie Dodger
She said: “Cheesecake stuffed donuts are definitely a favourite, especially for those that have a sweet tooth.
“All of my ingredients are sourced locally. Some things are online but they’re mainly all from local shops.”
In terms of how many cakes Jessica creates on a weekly basis, she went on to say that every week is different.
“Some weeks I can do as much as 20 cheesecakes, while others I may only do a couple.
“Christmas and New Year are by far my busiest times. I did over 50 large cakes and around 60 minis in around 10 days this Christmas past. It was crazy.”
In the coming year, one of the baker’s main aspirations is to have her cheesecakes on the shelves of more local stores.
“When I look back and think it’s been nearly two years now since I launched and it’s still a success, I’m proud of myself.
“But I wouldn’t be where I am now without all the support from my family and customers.
“I’ll hopefully continue to grow. I supply some local businesses in Elgin already, including The Humble Burger, but this is something I would like to do more of – getting my cakes into local cafes and shops.”