Little Treasures - - BIRTHDAY CAKES - Face­book: cakesforkidssouthauck­land In­sta­gram: Give a lit­tle: givealit­

Gabrielle Dent, 34, Ac­counts

A friend posted on Face­book that she had made a cake for Cakes for Kids so I looked into it. My son was just about to turn five and it hit home that there were chil­dren like him out there who had never had a birth­day cake of their own. I love mak­ing and dec­o­rat­ing cakes for fun and this was a great way to prac­tice my skills whilst giv­ing back to the com­mu­nity. I love the fact that you are giv­ing your time and re­sources to a child rather than just do­nat­ing money. I learnt to bake with my mum. I don’t think it’s hard to bake if you fol­low a recipe to the ex­act mea­sure­ments. I have done a few dec­o­rat­ing classes but mainly I have learnt through Youtube and trial and er­ror. I love the plan­ning, get­ting a theme and re­search­ing ideas. I get my kids in­volved in the process and they in­spire me. Things don’t al­ways work out the way I ex­pected so I never know how it’s go­ing to look un­til I’m fin­ished. I al­low eight hours to dec­o­rate each cake but tend to make fon­dant el­e­ments be­fore­hand to give them time to firm up. Some of the kids don’t have much to call their own and/or have been through a tough time in their short lives. It’s such a small thing to do that can mean so much. I still re­mem­ber my fifth birth­day cake that my brother made for me. You are po­ten­tially cre­at­ing a happy life­long mem­ory for them.

Amanda Lee Coker, 37, Pro­fes­sional cake dec­o­ra­tor

I love mak­ing cakes for kids be­cause so many miss out. See­ing their smiles and happy cheers be­cause there’s a cake, just for them, de­signed for them, it puts a lump in my throat. I try and do my own de­signs based on a theme the kids love. The cakes are all about what the child is into. I’ve been bak­ing for 10 years but only been in busi­ness for four. I have my nana to thank for my gift; she was a cake dec­o­ra­tor for over 30 years. If it wasn’t for my nana push­ing me, I’m not sure what I would be do­ing now. Be­cause I also do this as a busi­ness I bake six days a week and dec­o­rate four of those six days. I have my home kitchen reg­is­tered, which means my hours are more flex­i­ble than if I worked in a shop. When I was grow­ing up there were birth­days when I wouldn’t get a cake or a gift and I know how it made me feel and I don’t want any child to feel sad on their birth­day. A birth­day is to be cel­e­brated. There are so many kids that miss out on im­por­tant child­hood mem­o­ries. For some kids a cake from us is their very first cake or gift – that’s why every time I do­nate a cake they also get a gift with it. I ap­plaud Emily. She is such an amaz­ing, kind, friendly per­son. She’s man­aged to start some­thing many peo­ple only think about.

Mariah An­tonie, 13, Stu­dent at Ran­gi­toto Col­lege

My mum found out about Cakes For Kids on Face­book and then told me. I vol­un­teered be­cause I wanted to help kids have a cake – it’s not their fault that they can’t af­ford a cake. I love the re­ac­tion I get once they re­ceive it. That’s the best kind of gift. The cakes make the kids feel spe­cial and it also brings joy: it makes them feel loved and that it’s their spe­cial day, just for them. My mum in­spires me. She is very cre­ative and crafty. If she has a prob­lem she al­ways finds a way to fix it. I bake on the week­end, make dec­o­ra­tions af­ter school and put it all to­gether the morn­ing of the birth­day. I’ve been bak­ing for a year and a half. I learned to bake by fol­low­ing the recipe and I learned to dec­o­rate by do­ing it for fun at school and then tak­ing classes and prac­tis­ing a lot. My tips? If you make a mis­take try and try again, don’t just say ‘it’s good enough’ then it’s not spe­cial and doesn’t look as good as it could be. For be­gin­ners: Don’t rush; prac­tice first; take some classes if you want. Buy a pack of fon­dant and prac­tice some flow­ers. Don’t race ahead.

Shayna Law­ton, 27, Stu­dent

I heard about Cakes For Kids just be­fore I left my pre­vi­ous job. A col­league who is in­volved let me know about it af­ter I brought a cake in to work. I think Cakes For Kids is a bril­liant char­ity. What kid doesn’t like cake? It shows the chil­dren that some­one has thought of them on their birth­day and cares enough to spend the time to make them a cake. For me grow­ing up the cake was the most ex­cit­ing part of hav­ing a birth­day and that is some­thing I think all kids should be able to ex­pe­ri­ence. I en­joy know­ing that I will be mak­ing a cake for a child who likely oth­er­wise wouldn’t get one. I also love the colour and de­tail that mak­ing chil­dren’s cakes en­tails. It takes an hour or so for the bak­ing and about three hours for the dec­o­rat­ing. I don’t find the time, I make it: of­ten the cakes are baked and dec­o­rated late at night. I’ve been bak­ing for around 17 years. My mum taught me ini­tially as she al­ways used to make awe­some birth­day cakes for us. I taught my­self fur­ther tech­niques and now have a hobby-busi­ness.

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