Although the blast freezers in Junior’s Cheesecakes & Desserts, Burlington, NJ, are often full of produce, they don’t last long.
“The good news is that the cheesecake freezes really well because of the way it’s made,” said owner Alan Rosen. “If you let them come to room temperature, they’ll be just as creamy and rich as if they just came out of your oven. When I take them home, I leave them out all weekend. That’s me. So the key to enjoying a good cheesecake is room temperature.”
The bakery uses four FoodTools slicers for 10-inch cakes sold to customers who sell cakes by the slice, with paper dividers between slices for easy serving later.
Before being packed into one of five lines, frozen cheesecakes are sent through one of our short tunnel ovens, the Middleby Marshall and XLT pizza ovens, to aid in the installation process with ease. Jason Schwartz, Jr.’s president, explained that one was left in the building when the company bought it, and he bought another bakery for the job.
Workers place cakes on a disk to coat them. The cakes are wrapped with a cardboard lid before being put into the boxes.
“It’s a window box because this homemade feel that we just showed you in the baking process, people can see on the cakes,” said Mr. Rosen. “The reason we encircle it is because a lot of retailers like to stand on it, that way the cake won’t reach the front of the box.”
The Delkor box forming machine feeds two Junior orange and white striped box packaging lines. On this day, 6-inch cakes are wrapped in boxes with a window on top. The former chest makes the chests and sticks them before you go down the line. The bakery has five filling lines, where the cakes are placed in boxes or in transparent domed plastic, and each line is equipped with Shanklin sealing machines and heat tunnels.
Once the cakes are filled, they receive labels identifying the product, nutrition information, and batch numbers.
In another line, the cartons are folded manually before being loaded with the final product. Another features white chocolate raspberries inserted into clear domes. All cakes are run through a Safeline, Fortress or Mettler-Toledo metal detector before being manually packaged together in corrugated boxes. And at the end of the line is the Lantech pallet wrap.
The company’s Little Fellas are packaged in nine-count tea boxes that can be displayed in retail stores. Produced during the night shift along with Minis, the Minis are 1.5-ounce cheesecakes. Minis are packaged in 12 retail boxes and 24 club store counts.
The company will soon have four new Fanuc robotic arms up and running to fill Little Fellas. This will allow the bakery to fit up to four different types in one box.
The decorating and frosting process is mostly done by hand. However, along one side of the room is an automated Unifiller cake line, which the bakery installed a year earlier.
during Bread and snacksDuring his visit, Italian cream cakes were assembled. Workers put two layers of yellow cakes with walnuts side by side on the production line. Frosting is placed on one side, then the second half of the cake is placed on top by the employee. Cake drops below the line, frosting is applied to the top and sides of the cake, then a little touch up work can be done by hand as needed. Before the coconut is finished around the sides, pipe the Apex Motion Control Baker-Bot around the top edges of the cake.
“They can reverse anything a human can do,” Mr. Rosen said of Baker Pot.
It is a versatile piece of equipment that can handle a variety of different applications and finish patterns such as stripes or dots. Unifiller enrobing machine covers cakes in chocolate ganache. A large area of the room on this day is filled with workers applying whipped cream and sprinkles of sprinkles on heart-shaped cakes.
One of the Topos Mondial mixers and four Hobart mixers are used to make all of the cream and frosting for cakes, including buttercream, whipped cream, chocolate fudge and more.
“We don’t keep anything,” Mr. Rosen explains. “It goes from the blender straight to the cake.”
It’s also where specialized cakes are assembled, which can take some effort. Take 12 pounds of Skyscraper Devil’s Food, for example.
“We put the chocolate cake on the bottom, then a layer of fudge, we push the cheesecake down into the ring, then another layer of fudge, another layer of cake, another layer of fudge, another layer of cake. Push that down with the stamp,” explained Mr. Rosen. “Then we freeze it.” “We set the ring on fire, slip the ring and take it out from the outside. We finish with crumbs and chips.”
Terminal 4 is where cakes other than cheesecakes are baked. This includes cake layers as well as those sliced horizontally for cheesecake bases. The Topos Mondial mixer handles cake batter mixing, and the Unifiller line is used to lubricate the pans and set the batter. Two Gemini ovens and three Reed ovens are in this area for baking cakes.
“They’re making chocolate cake at the moment,” said Mr. Schwartz. “Today is Chocolate Day. We try to make the same cake all day long to minimize change.”
For cheesecake bottoms, refrigerated cakes pass through crumpin slicers. One cake provides 5-inch cheesecake bases, and the domes are used as toppings for the crumbs.
“When we started, we did it on a ready-made meat slicer,” Mr. Rosen said. “I’m talking about it when we were baking them on top of the restaurant.”
Mr. Rosen said the bakery’s capacity is around 40% to 50% at this point. He is looking at more automation to mobilize his next investment and is bullish despite inflation fears.
The bakery recently raised prices from 3% to 5% even though raw ingredient costs have doubled. Increasing volume, working smarter, and ensuring nothing is wasted is part of the plan to keep costs under control. The bakery remains vigil in the wake of supply chain problems.
“We’ll keep our eyes on it,” said Mr. Rosen. “We buy plastic in the summer that we will use in the fourth quarter. That’s a lot of money to keep on the floor, but we do it because you can’t put a cake in anything. You have to put it in a plastic dome or a corrugated box. We are up front on the packaging” .
He plans to continue his path of organic growth, sticking with tradition by sticking with the 72-year-old’s cheesecake recipe while researching new variations for it. He works on the philosophy that the bakery is as good as the last cake, so he and his team members need to keep up their game.
“I don’t think we’ll ever be the biggest bakery,” he said, “but I want to be the best.”This article is an excerpt from the June 2022 issue of Baking & Snack. To read the full feature on Cheesecake and Junior Desserts,click here.