Cake of the Month: Butterfly Cake by Verity Westgate (January 2012)

February 10, 2012

The first Cake of the Month of 2012 is a wonderful butterfly-shaped cake. It was made by our volunteer Verity Westgate for a 5-year-old girl. Learn more about the story behind the cake below.

Butterfly Cake by Verity Westgate

Butterfly Cake by Verity Westgate

Q: This is a massive butterfly, Verity. Was it a difficult cake to make?

The butterfly was the first time I’d ever tried carving a cake, and it was surprisingly easy once I made a template and found the right sort of knife. I was inspired by those painted butterflies that I used to make at school, where you cut out a butterfly shape, paint one half, and then fold it over so that the other half looks the same! I used a big tin and my husband enjoyed eating the off-cuts

Q: Who did you make it for?

It was made for a little girl who lives in Banbury and who was celebrating her fifth birthday. Apparently she is a very “girlie girl” who likes butterflies so I was happy to be able to make something pink and pretty for her – definitely my favourite sort of thing to bake since I am quite a girlie girl too!

Q: What actually happens when someone calls the Free Cakes for Kids number: how do you get in touch with the family?

When someone calls the Free Cakes for Kids number, they speak to Henriette, who coordinates the cake requests. She sends out an email to the Oxford bakers and someone volunteers to make the cake. Henriette passes on the contact details for the family – in this case a family support worker – and you call the family contact to see if they have any thoughts on what they would like for their child’s birthday cake. We also check to see if anyone in the family has any allergies that we need to be aware of and make delivery arrangements. In this case, the cake was transported from my house to Banbury by Anne-Marie, another Oxford FCFK-er.

Q: Isn’t it strange to talk to someone on the phone you have never met before?

I always get nervous calling up the families to make the arrangements, mainly because I am a nervous telephone user, but everyone I have spoken to has always been really nice and although their ideas can sometimes be a little challenging (my first cake was a SpongeBob square pants cake) it has really broadened my baking skills. One Mum gave me a huge hug when I handed over the cake for her one-year-old last year – the family’s benefits had been stopped and they were visiting the Oxford Food Bank to get food, so a simple birthday cake was actually a really big deal to them.

Q: How did you actually get into baking and decorating. You are not a professional baker, are you?

In real life I am a librarian, and I do a lot of sport which I fuel by eating cake, so cake is something that has always been important to me. Since my husband arrived on the scene 5 years ago, I have done a huge amount of baking since he is so appreciative, and a friend told me about FCFK. As we try to eat less cake these days, it is nice to have the opportunity still to bake. I have not had any training in decorating cakes, I have picked it up as I go along by reading books and practising. Last year I made my own three tier wedding cake!

If you want to learn more about Verity’s activities, have a look at her personal blog. And if you think you could become a volunteer yourself, don’t hesitate to drop us a line.

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