Cheryl catches the Baking Fever

FOODPAK and cake artist Cheryl Govender of The Cake House, share a passion for baking and cake decorating.

Their vision to inspire and equip local bakers is evidenced by the number of courses and demonstrations they offer, as well as Foodpak’s popular Facebook Competition — “Foodpak’s Baking FEVER with Friends”.

They would like to invite members of the public who have a passion for baking and cake decorating, to get involved, get learning and baking.

Cheryl’s passion for cake decorating started almost accidentally when at age 14 she inherited her sister’s unwanted cake-decorating kit.

Her parents didn’t have the resources to send her on a course and so she found inspiration from the community library and started experimenting with icing sugar and water to model roses.

A defining moment in her life occurred when her school home economics teacher, Mrs Geebodh, caught her modelling a play dough rose under her desk.

To her surprise, the teenager did not receive a scolding, but rather an offer to join a cake decorating class in Northdale hosted by Saro Govender.

“Mrs Geebodh was actively involved in the guild and she, along with Aunty Saro, took me ‘under their wing’ and encouraged me to pursue my passion for cake decorating. Mrs Geebodh even sponsored my tools,” said Cheryl.

Cheryl did not disappoint her mentors and her passion, patience and perseverance were rewarded when in 1992 she won first prize for her cake at the Royal Show in the “Novice Wedding Cake Category”.

This opened another door for her as she was then invited to lecture cake decorating skills part-time at the local technical college. Cheryl did this for 15 years while working in the corporate sector.

During this time of her life, she also took orders and established herself as a popular novelty cake specialist in Pietermaritzburg.

Cheryl sees her passion for baking as a “gift from God”, which has empowered her to overcome a number of obstacles in her life, including domestic violence and alcoholism.

The Cake House was launched as her divorce came through, but her business faltered as she dealt with the aftermath of the divorce. “But God is faithful and gracious and not only have I overcome adversity, but I now have an amazing team and am engaged to a wonderful man who believes in me and invests in me and my business,” said Cheryl smiling at her fiancé Alan.

“Alan helped me position the business for take-off.” The business is truly now flying, with an average of 13 specialist, novelty cakes produced a week.

Cheryl says that you have to be passionate if you wish to pursue a career in cake decorating as it is such hard work. She confesses that she literally works non-stop from Thursday to Saturday in order to achieve their goals. “As the creative person in the team, I just don’t have time to get any sleep when I am on deadline,” she said.

“My team will get the cakes to a certain point, but then I take on the creative role to meet our client’s expectations.

“New bakers have to understand that an order is not complete until the cake is safely delivered and set up. This is a risky and important aspect of the business” she stressed. She is also a firm believer in laying a strong, traditional cake decorating foundation with her students. Do not skimp and take short-cuts is the wisdom she offers her students.

Cheryl was one of the judges at Foodpak’s Festive fair — the culmination of a year-long 2017 Facebook competition where members of the public baked and entered actual cakes. Cheryl says she was most impressed by the quality of the entries. “Challenge yourself, your friend, your consumer studies class to enter the competition, you will be amazed at what you can produce and it is such fun!”

— Contributed by Lara Edmonds of Just Boutique Marketing.

Foodpak’s Baking FEVER is won each month by popular vote and so experienced and amateur bakers, including children, have a chance to win a R1 000 hamper from Foodpak, Rolkem and Hulamin Containers.

The Maritzburg Fever is delighted to partner with Foodpak and would also like to challenge all our budding, local bakers to catch the baking fever and enter. The theme this month is “Love and Passion”, and all competition details can be found pinned to the top of Foodpak’s Facebook Page.

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