Local sisters bake birthday cakes for children during COVID-19 lockdown

A cake made by Sophie Rywaczuk for a local child’s birthday. (Jamie Hughes photo)
Little Ava Rywaczuk looks up to her sister Sophie Rywaczuk as they show off two cakes they made together. (Jamie Hughes photo)
Little Ava Rywaczuk and Sophie Rywaczuk show of a cake they made together. (Jamie Hughes photo)
Ava Rywaczuk and her sister Sophie Rywaczuk shows off two cakes they made together. (Jamie Hughes photo)

For the last three months, Sophie Rywaczuk has been working to brighten the lives of birthday boys and girls with their own custom cakes.

Since April, Sophie, 11, with help from her little sister Ava, 7, and mom Jamie, has created eight unique cakes for boys and girls in the community. Her mom usually bakes the cakes, while Sophie decorates them with icing and fondant. Jamie and Ava help by cutting the fondant and adding personal touches on the cake, like unicorn horns.

“I wanted to bake the cakes because I felt bad for kids who couldn’t have birthday parties,” Sophie said. “We posted on Facebook (offering to bake cakes) and strangers reached out.”

Sophie came up with the idea of making birthday cakes to cheer up local children after viewing a few photos of drive-by birthday parties on Facebook, her mother Jamie said. Shortly after posting the offer on the 100 Mile Moms Facebook page, the orders flooded in, with people messaging Sophie through her mom’s account asking for specific birthday cakes for their children, which they’d pick up on completion.

Sophie, who has loved baking since she was eight, said she is inspired by baking shows on television such as Cake Wars and would like to go to culinary school and open her own bakery one day. Her sister Ava also likes decorating cakes, Sophie said, and whenever she helped out it was always “extra-fun.”

“I had a lot of fun,” Sophie said. “My favourite moment was probably seeing how happy the kids were to get their birthday cake, it made me feel happy.”

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It was so much fun that Sophie said she’d like to continue to make cakes for the community after the pandemic ends. In addition to the eight cakes they have made so far, Sophie is also working on a ninth birthday cake and a gender-reveal cake. The girls have slowed production during the summer, however, due to their schedule and the fact it takes an entire day to do one cake.

Her mother Jamie said she is proud of the work her daughters have done and was happy to help them by baking the cakes in whatever shape Sophie needed. In exchange, some of her patrons would gift Sophie some money or treats for her hard work.

“It was a really cool experience,” Jamie said. “It makes me feel that my husband and I are doing a good job of parenting and I’m just proud of them. They’ve got big hearts and they’re good kids, they put others first.”

Jamie wholeheartedly supports the idea of Sophie going to culinary school.

“It’s pretty cool to see them both in the kitchen. Sophie, she works really hard and comes up with things on her own and then she’ll make mistakes and fix them on her own,” Jamie said. “I think the most rewarding part is when she’s been handing the cakes over to the people. Quite often they’ll bring the kids over to the door and they’ll be amazed and surprised. The feedback has been really positive.

“It’s easier to get through a time like this when you focus on the positives and stay busy.”


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