A Northwest Indiana Life in the Spotlight: Jenny Yednak

A Northwest Indiana Life in the Spotlight: Jenny Yednak

Jenny Yednak may have grown up in the Philippines surrounded by a mother and grandmother who loved to bake, but she never thought she’d start her own bakery, especially not a bakery in the United States. Yednak’s story goes to show how a love for your culture and a little bit of faith in yourself can go a long way. 

Like most incredible tales, Yednak’s story began with love. One day, Yednak’s friend thought it would be fun to sign her up for a dating site. The next thing Yednak knew, she had met the love of her life, who lived in America. In 2012, after a year of dating long-distance, the couple decided they didn’t want to waste any time. Yednak married her husband and moved to the United States to start her family. 

Yednak had three beautiful children and for the longest time was a stay-at-home mom. As the years passed, though, Yednak began to miss the flavors and foods she grew up with. She couldn’t find anything similar here in the Region, so she decided to start baking. 

At first, Yednak just baked for herself and her family and would occasionally bring a cake to a party or gathering. It didn’t take long, however, for people to absolutely fall in love with her cakes and ask if they could order from her. 

Yednak was beyond excited but a bit nervous: she didn’t really know how to decorate cakes. She was up to the challenge though. She went out and bought over 15 cake decorating books and taught herself to decorate cakes in less than three months. 

In 2020, Yednak started Jen’s Gourmet Cakes and began selling cakes out of her home. Her business was a huge success, and now, nearly three years later, Yednak is working on opening her first shop in Chesterton. The shop is still currently under construction but will be opening soon. 

Jen’s Gourmet Cakes will be Indiana’s very first brick-and-mortar Filipino bakery. Yednak is incredibly proud to represent the Philippines and loves sharing her culture with the Region. She can’t wait to introduce even more people to the recipes of her childhood. 

“My goal is to introduce the flavor of the Philippines to as many people as I can. I am very proud of my recipes, especially the recipe that my grandma created, the Ube cake. My grandma finds happiness in feeding people, so I just want everyone to try what she created. Baking is our love language,” said Yednak. 

Not only does Yednak aim to share Filipino flavors with the Region, but she also wants to share the flavors of other cultures as well. She currently offers 41 different cake flavors that come from all over the world, including Hawaii, Italy, France, and Japan. Yednak hopes that by giving people the opportunity to experience different flavors and cultures they will learn more about themselves. 

“It’s important to explore and discover everything that’s out there. You’ll never know if you like something if you don’t try it. For example, I didn't know if I’d like strawberry Chantilly cake – I didn’t grow up with it, I’d never had it – but I tried it and I loved it. Exploring the flavors of different cultures is so special because it helps you learn more about yourself and what you like,” said Yednak. 

Yednak knows better than anyone that taking a chance and trying something new can be intimidating, but she encourages everyone to push away their self-doubt and just believe in themselves. 

“Believe in yourself. It took me a while to realize this when I first started baking, but as long as you believe in yourself, keep working, keep learning, and do what you really want to do you'll be just fine,” said Yednak. 

Of course, surrounding yourself with people who support you goes a long way, too. Yednak was nearly brought to tears thinking about all the wonderful people who helped her succeed. Nobody is dearer to Yednak than her husband, who has always been her biggest cheerleader. 

“He's really the one that supported me even when I didn't feel like I had a chance to do this. I kept thinking to myself 'I’m selling things from home and no one knows me,' but he was always there and pushed me so much,” said Yednak. 

Yednak is also extremely grateful to all of her customers who have been with her every step of the way. 

“I'm really thankful for my customers. I started doing this in 2020, and I have customers from back then who are still ordering cakes now. I'm just so grateful and honored that they’ve stuck with me and allowed me to start a commercial kitchen,” said Yednak. 

Last but not least, Yednak is grateful to David Cincoski, Chareice White, and all the kind people at the Duneland Chamber of Commerce for welcoming her business into Chesterton with open arms.