Kindness is Baking a Birthday Cake for Someone You Don’t Know

. at . 10 comments

This post is part of #Write31Days where bloggers write every day in October on one topic. I am writing about Acts of Kindness, random and otherwise. It is my hope that my community and I are different as a result of this 31 Day Series.

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Is birthday cake an important part of your childhood memories?

My answer is, “Yes.” I don’t remember all the cakes my mom made. But I do know that she made our cakes. A family favorite was German Chocolate cake. I don’t think I ever made my kiddos a German Chocolate cake. But I did always serve them a specially decorated cake that matched the theme of their birthday party. Receiving a homemade birthday cake always made me feel special. Giving my kiddos a homemade birthday cake, was one of the ways I hoped my kids would feel special.

Did you know that there are kiddos who never get a birthday cake? Never.

This is one of my practice cakes.

In 2010 Libby Gruender from Sunnyvale, CA read about a young girl in a Midwest foster home who received a birthday cake. The girl reacted by running to her room while crying. Of course the foster mom thought she had done something wrong and went upstairs to right the situation. It turns out, the girl was emotional because this was her very first birthday cake.

Gruender decided right then to make sure kids in her community received cake for their birthdays. That is why she created Cake4Kids. There are currently chapters in ten CA counties.

Mary Barnes started Sacramento Cake4Kids in July, 2018. So far there are about thirty Sacramento bakers. Volunteer bakers are required to attend a one-hour orientation. All the orientations are on a Saturday and are from 12:30-1:30pm. The schedule for the 2018 orientations is as follows:

  • The October 20th­­­­­ orientation will be held at Arcade library.
  • The November 10th orientation will be held at Arden-Dimick library.
  • The December 22nd orientations will be held at Arcade library.

This vegan, chocolate, gluten-free cake was the first cake I delivered to the agency for a four-year-old boy.

Knowing firsthand how getting a birthday cake equals feeling significant, I am now part of Cake4Kids. My daughter, Elizabeth, also joined this ministry and so the fun is doubled. So far we’ve each made one cake. Although we used the same recipe for the cake, our two cakes looked very different. My marbled cake was for a four-year-old boy. Elizabeth’s flower bedecked cake was for an 11-year-old girl.

There is no minimum number of cakes a volunteer must make. We are advised to practice even before we accept an assignment. And we are advised to make our cake and decorate it a day or two early. That way, should there be a mistake, it is not a rushed scenario to correct it.

You don’t have to be a fancy baker in order to make a valuable contribution. I am not a fancy baker although I’ve made scores of birthday cakes. A fun aspect of Cake4Kids is learning new things.

  1. I learned to bake a vegan cake that was tasty. Two sample cakes were thrown away.
  2. The vegan frosting recipe was easy to create.
  3. A chocolate cake is much easier to coat with white frosting, if you lightly pre-frost it, and then put it into the freezer or refrigerator to harden before putting on the main coat of frosting. This is known as dirty icing or crumb coating.
  4. YouTube videos helped me to perfect marbled frosting.
  5. I made chocolate letters out of melted chocolate chips spooned into an icing bag. I was pleased with how the letters I made looked.
  6. One tip that made sense is to use a turntable and a bench scraper (yes, from the hardware store) to ensure that the frosting is evenly distributed.

This is my daughter’s cake. It was also chocolate, vegan, and gluten-free. Both our cakes had vegan, vanilla, butter cream icing.

And this is just the tip of the information iceberg. There are many resources on Pinterest, in books, and at the Sacramento Facebook Cake4Kids group. Plus, Cake4Kids gives each volunteer $100 to use towards classes at cake shops and online.

Barnes recruits volunteers to bake birthday cakes for kids who are homeless, in foster care, recent immigrants, or victims of human trafficking. Cake4Kids is for children and young adults up to the age of twenty-four. Bakers never meet the kids who receive cakes. We drop them off at an agency in order to protect the child’s privacy. More information can be found at their website, Cake4kids.org.

If you’d like to be kind and bring joy into a child’s life, attend an orientation. Together we can help Sacramento area kiddos eat cake.

Your Turn . . .  How important is cake to your birthday celebrations? . . .  If you live in California, consider joining in and making cake as an act of kindness. . . . If you are a cake decorator, what is your best tip? . . . Do you have any questions?  

You can practice being kind by leaving me a comment.

My Landing Page for This series . . . Scattering Kindness: A 31 Day Adventure.  Please leave me an idea or two that I can add to my acts of kindness list. The idea can be intentional or random.

Go here for yesterday’s post: Kindness is Organizing a Sock Drive

Related Posts . . .

Previous #Write31Days Topics

Thanks go to Elizabeth Symington for making my #Write31Days button and basic graphic for the kindness quotes. Elizabeth is writing a 31 days series on Summer of Service in Yosemite.

Entry filed under: Random acts of kindness. Tags: , , , .

Friday’s Fave Five October 5, 2018 Kindness is Helping a Teacher with Classroom Supplies

10 Comments Add your own

  • 1. sharybary  |  . at .

    Well this was a very tasty idea! I love it! In generally I purchase birthday cakes, but after reading this I kind of get the feeling that there’s more love perceived and possibly real shown buy a homemade cake. I’m going to think about this some more! I did have the wonderful privilege of getting a 1st birthday cake for a coworker this year!

    Like

    Reply
    • 2. susan2009  |  . at .

      How fun to have that joy of getting a first cake for your co-worker.
      I am not sure if there is more love “perceived.” I am sharing my experience with it. For me the bigger deal is celebrating the birthday person with a cake (or pie, cookies, whatever).

      Like

  • 3. Hopeful50  |  . at .

    I love this!

    Like

    Reply
  • 4. susan2009  |  . at .

    Thanks. And thanks for stopping by.

    Like

    Reply
  • 5. elainefaber4u  |  . at .

    Your article inspired me to join Cake4Kids. MY information meeting date is 10-20-18. This should be a fun experience. thanks for bringing this program to our attention.

    Like

    Reply
    • 6. susan2009  |  . at .

      So happy this post inspired you to sign up. It is a great ministry.

      Like

  • 7. suzi kneedler  |  . at .

    Isn’t it wonderful that something as simple as a cake can say “You are loved”. Thank you!

    Like

    Reply
    • 8. susan2009  |  . at .

      Yes, some things require cake, and a birthday is one of those things,

      Like

  • […] Fruitful Words blogger Susan Wright is spending the whole month of October blogging about acts of kindness. The one that caught my eye from this week’s posts was about baking birthday cakes for people you’ve never met. “In 2010 Libby Gruender from Sunnyvale, CA read about a young girl in a Midwest foster home who received a birthday cake. The girl reacted by running to her room while crying. Of course the foster mom thought she had done something wrong and went upstairs to right the situation. It turns out, the girl was emotional because this was her very first birthday cake.” The result was an organization called Cakes4Kids that has chapters in ten countries. […]

    Like

    Reply
  • 10. wendyj59  |  . at .

    That’s a lovely thing to be part of though it’s a shame you don’t get to see the child’s response. I spent hours making intricate cakes when the kids were little but as they got older and life got busy (and shop bought cake choices improved) I tended to buy a cake.

    Like

    Reply

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