Cake may be the main focus of this New Plymouth club, but the ingredients for its success include huge dollops of frivolity and friendship.
With Christmas still weeks away, the festive spirit was alive and well among Glenys Hargraves and the rest of her cake decorating queens during a recent visit.
Women help form the 17 members of the New Plymouth Cake Decorators Guild.
For most of them, cake decorating is a hobby, and their monthly get-togethers provide an opportunity to have fun and share their newly discovered tricks.
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Hargraves was putting the finishing touches on the Santa-inspired filling she created to cover her baked fruitcake.
Traditional bakers say 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 a saying that Hargraves backed 100%, as she had the dried fruits, spices and other key ingredients on the kitchen bench over the weekend from work to make her own.
Club member Jo Corlett, who first joined two years ago, admitted to being a little behind on baking, as she only baked her cake last week.
Corlett said she loved the club and the camaraderie with her cake pals from the very beginning.
Her holiday-themed frosting project involves a reindeer and all the trappings Christmas usually conjures up.
Putting the finishing touches on the cake could take Corlett hours of work, but she was pretty sure her husband would do a quick job polishing it over the Christmas holidays, she said.
The New Plymouth Cake Decorators Guild, which is a branch of the national body, has been around 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 in the country, representing around 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 full of ideas.
One of the kicks she still gets after four decades is being able to learn something new and pass the know-how on to people who are equally passionate about making magic cakes.
“That’s what it’s all about, sharing knowledge and trying,” added Hargraves.
Anyone interested in joining the New Plymouth Cake Decorators Guild can visit their Facebook page or contact Hargraves on 021611773 for more information.