SPOTLIGHT: Chantelle Abruzzo, Bake a Wish Volunteer
When asked why I started baking, the answer is simply that I absolutely love dessert! While I’ve always liked to bake, my love of decorating started when my daughter wanted a special birthday cake for her 21st birthday. Looking back to that first decorating challenge I can remember researching everything I could about cake decorating. The final outcome was a three-tiered stacked cake covered and decorated with homemade fondant. Why start small, right?! My passion for cake decorating has grown ever since.
After seeing an advertisement for Bake a Wish offering “Free Cakes for Kids” in 2009, I immediately wanted to learn more and get involved. I loved the idea of doing something meaningful and practicing my decorating techniques at the same time, and I have been with Bake a Wish since November 2009, a few months after the organization formed. In the beginning, there were only three volunteers. It’s been an incredibly rewarding experience to watch Bake a Wish grow over the years and to be able to serve more people, expanding our mission from celebrating children to also serving Austin’s elderly and disabled adults in assisted housing communities.
As a dessert lover and baking enthusiast, every year I look forward to the annual “That Takes the Cake” Sugar Art & Cake Competition, which we’re fortunate to have located here in Austin. The competition gathers sugar decorating enthusiasts of all skill levels from across the country and beyond. I was first drawn in as a spectator and eventually became a competitor and volunteer. It’s a lot of fun to see all of the wonderful cakes created by such talented bakers and culinary artists – and Bake a Wish offers me the opportunity to practice skills I want to learn and new ideas I’d like to try.
As a volunteer baker, Bake a Wish has been a great fit for me, personally. I am able to do something good for the community and I have the flexibility to sign up to respond to cake requests when I have the time. Being a part of an inspiring group of volunteers who share the love of baking for a good cause is an absolute joy.