Background to the Gift of Sight charity fund
I am part of the Deal Advisory business unit at KPMG’s community outreach team. Each year we select two new charities to support with various fundraising events within our business unit and we also support The Gift of Sight. The Gift of Sight is a charitable endeavour to assist the son of the lady who helps organise all our meeting tea requirements. She is a wonderful woman, happy and cheerful, despite having one child who suffers from a chronic eye allergy and one child who has a heart condition. Danny’s eyes were perfectly normal when he was a young boy. At the age of 10 years old, Danny contracted an eye infection, perfectly treatable from what I understand, but due to incorrect and inadequate treatment at the local clinic, Danny developed a chronic eye allergy. When I met Danny five years ago his eyes were so inflamed and red that he could hardly open them in the sunshine. He had developed little brown bumps all around his irises in response to the chronic allergy and was at risk of going blind. Our business unit adopted Danny as one of our charitable causes and over the past five years Danny’s eyes have almost normalised. The aggressive treatment programme he underwent has reversed the adverse effects of the allergy and the allergic bumps are gone. The awful itchiness and aching that he experienced all the time is also gone and his treatment is now maintenance. Every three months during the school holidays, Danny comes to Johannesburg and sees the ophthalmologist. He now has glasses and the allergy is controlled. Danny’s marks at school have improved tremendously and his is in his final year of schooling this year.
As part of our fundraising endeavours, we hold a tea event three times a year. For this event all the bakers in our business unit make a yummy sweet or savoury contribution and all of the staff can buy these during tea on the chosen day for a donation to the fundraiser. I also make a cake which is raffled with the proceeds going to the Gift of Sight charity. My colleague, Donna, an extraordinary baker, has also been roped in by me and makes the second prize, a jar of her wonderful cookies. For our February tea event which is taking place tomorrow, 13 February, I have made a camping cake.
How I assembled the cake
I wanted a big cake with lots of height that would look quite dramatic. To this end, I decided to use a placebo cake as the bottom layer made from polystyrene [sorry folks, you can’t eat the bottom layer!]. I iced the placebo cake with royal icing and covered it with a layer of desiccated coconut, coloured green, to give a grass-like effect. I attached this firmly to the wooden cake board [I get my Dad to make my cake boards out of wood for me – they need to be really strong to support the weight of some of my crazy cake ideas].
The top cake is a real cake. Quite delicious, if I do say so myself. It is a marble cake made from vanilla and red velvet cake mixtures. I cut a hole in the top of the cake, once it had cooled down and filled it with chocolate covered shortbread bites [rich and decadent!]. I made a double quantity of vanilla butter icing and applied it generously to the cake which I then placed carefully on top of my placebo cake. I sprinkled the top cake with my green desiccated coconut mixture. I am being a bit sneaky today and am not sharing my recipes. You can use any vanilla sponge and red velvet cake recipes, there are lots available on the internet, but if you want mine, you will have to wait for my new book, Silly Willy goes to Cape Town, coming out in July 2017, which includes both of these recipes.
Decorating the cake
I had previously made the camping tent with two small boys. The step-by-step instructions to make this from fondant are as follows:
I made the chocolate rocks and attached them to the placebo cake using royal icing. I added a sprinkling of flowers that I made from bright pink fondant using a small flower cutter.
I made the picnic from fondant. Each item on the picnic blanket was made separately and my step-by-step instructions for making the hamburgers and chips are here:
Happy cake making and let me know if you decide to try and make any of these items or this cake. I would love to see some pictures.
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