Hazel is a resident at Hunters Down Care Home who has many talents but is most known for her baking skills.
Her passion for baking stemmed from a hobby she picked up when living in South Africa. She would regularly bake cakes for family and friends on special occasions. She recalls making her daughters 21st birthday cake, which was shaped like a horseshoe. When her wider family noticed her skills she was quickly asked to make more. She made a panda-shaped cake for her granddaughters birthday, a bake she is still very proud of.
Throughout her life, Hazel made many cakes for weddings and anniversaries. For these types of cake, she said, they would usually have three tiers and be baked using 9, 11, and 13-inch tins. Sometimes, when people requested shaped cakes, her husband would hand-make the tins to achieve the desired look.
Hazel took lots of pride in her baking. So much so that she would usually attend the weddings of those she baked for, to taste what she made and get opinions from the guests. This helped her to shape her recipes until they were perfect! She can still recall some of the techniques she used when baking certain cakes;
- She hand made her own royal icing using egg white and icing sugar
- She would make and shape almond paste to achieve intricate details
- She was also skilled at lacework and making edible flowers which would feature on many of her cakes
One of Hazel’s most memorable creations was a fruit-cake she made that was shaped like a church. She used four 12 inch fruitcakes and spent many hours shaping it. When churches in the local community saw this, they all put requests in to have their churches sculpted into cake.
All of her cake decorating was done in a dedicated room in her house, where she had all the tools and ingredients she needed. This caused problems sometimes though, as when she baked big cakes they would be difficult to get through the door. One time, she had to call the local carpenter to saw off a piece of cake board in order to get it out the door!
Now living at Hunters Down Care Home, Hazel finds baking more of a challenge but still enjoys taking part in cake making activities, which her daughter sometimes joins her for.
The most important thing is that Hazel is still baking and enjoying it just as much to this day!