Sweet gesture takes the cake

Photo / Thinkstock
Photo / Thinkstock

British woman, Cath Webb, has set herself the challenge of baking a Victoria sponge every day for 12 months and giving it away, just to make someone smile.

The teacher was inspired after she made a cake for a friend who had been diagnosed with cancer, and was overwhelmed by her delighted reaction.

In the nine months since the 46-year-old has made sponge cakes, with a variety of jam fillings, for everyone from her mum to hospital staff and the homeless. She's so determination to complete the challenge that she's even baked cakes over a camp fire while on holiday with her husband and their three sons.

Webb, from Hale, Cheshire, says she came up with the idea after reading an article early last year about the power of doing good deeds for others.

"It was posing the question what can each of us do for others? And I thought - nothing. I've got enough on my plate - a job, a husband, three boys, not to mention two cats and a hamster. Then a good friend of mine got breast cancer and I really didn't know what to say, so I made her a Victoria sponge instead.

"I left it on her porch, with a note, and on the way home she sent me a text which just said: 'You can feed people with love'.

"It was really moving and made me think - wow, what an amazing thing it would be to take a smile from one heart, bake it, fill it with jam, ice it with sugar and land it smack bang into the heart of another, 365 times."

It didn't take long before Webb realised just how time-consuming her challenge would become.

"The night before I started I lay in bed thinking I must be out of my mind for considering it. I felt very daunted, but just couldn't stop thinking about what a good thing it would be," she said.

"On day one, as I started baking the first cake, I realised how much washing up and waiting around there was, how much cooking and cooling and what a long list of logistics.

"By day two I thought I wanted to give up already, but I was too embarrassed. I'd told everyone about it so couldn't admit defeat so soon."

A couple of weeks later, while waiting for a cake to cool, Webb decided to start writing a diary, recording the friends and strangers she had given sponges to and other anecdotes from her day.

"You can't rush a cake cooling down because it just goes soggy, so one day I sat at the computer and started making a diary of who had received a cake."

Her IT consultant husband, John, 45, and sons, Jack, 15, George, 13, and William, 11, who feature heavily in the diary, were initially sceptical about the challenge, but have since rallied round to help.

"My husband was typically grumpy about it to start with, he kept moaning about how much it was costing in ingredients and he's had to do all the washing and ironing for months because I haven't had time.

"But on days when I've felt like giving in - like the time when I sat in the kitchen and felt like weeping because I had come home without any sugar - he has stepped in and gone out in the dark to the shops for me, or helped deliver cakes."

She is due to complete the challenge on her birthday, April 6. By then, beacuse it's a leap year, she will have baked 366 cakes.

"I won't feel relieved," she said.

"It's been a really incredible, uplifting experience and I will be very sad when it comes to an end."

- DAILY MAIL

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