North Taranaki Midweek
Putting the icing on the cake
Cake might be the main focus at this New Plymouth club, but ingredients for its success include huge dollops of frivolity and friendship.
While Christmas is still weeks away, the festive spirit was alive and well among Glenyse Hargraves and the rest of her cake decorating queens during a recent visit.
The women help make up the 17-strong membership of the New Plymouth Cake Decorators Guild.
For most of them cake decoration is a hobby, and their monthly get-togethers provide a chance to have a chin-wag and share their newly discovered tricks.
Hargraves was in the process of putting the finishing touches on the Santa-inspired topping she created to cover her baked fruit cake.
Traditional bakers claim the best Christmas cake needs a few months in the tin to mature, in order to reach peak deliciousness when the first piece is sliced on December 25.
It’s an adage Hargraves backed 100%, as she had the dried fruit, spices and other key ingredients up on the kitchen bench at Labour Weekend to make hers.
Club member Jo Corlett, who first joined two years ago, admitted to being a bit behind the baking eight-ball, as she only made her cake last week.
Corlett said she had loved the club and camaraderie with her cake buddies from the very beginning.
Her festive-themed icing project involves a reindeer and all the trappings Christmas usually conjured up.
Putting the finishing touching on the cake might take Corlett hours of work, but she was pretty sure her husband would make quick work of polishing it off over the Christmas break, she said.
The New Plymouth Cake Decorators Guild, which is a branch of the national body, has been operating for about 27 years, and its members range in age from 30 to 80.
It is part of the New Zealand Cake Decorators Guild and one of 32 clubs around the country, which represents about 500 members.
New Plymouth’s Pauline Allen-Hunter, who has been decorating cakes as a hobby for 40 years, represented the club at a recent national guild conference, and came back brimming with ideas.
One of the kicks she still gets after four decades is being able to learn something new and pass the know-how onto people who are just as passionate about making cakes magical.
‘‘That’s what it is about, sharing the knowledge and having a go,’’ Hargraves added.
Anyone interested in joining the New Plymouth Cake Decorators Guild can visit its Facebook page, or contact Hargraves on 021611773 for more information.