Tina Ellis and Amanda Bowyer
Angels aren't always outfitted with halos and wings. Some are equipped with aprons, hand mixers and lots and lots of cake pans.
Well, at least that's true of the angels who bake for Angel Cakes Charity, a nonprofit organization in the Boise, Idaho, area that creates special-occasion cakes for hospice patients, underprivileged kids, vets
and other deserving people.
"Angel Cakes Charity was born out of my love for baking and the realization that there are children in Idaho not receiving a cake to celebrate their birthday," explains
Tina Ellis, executive director.
To remedy that, the organization honors the birthdays with the gift of a homemade cake. "The children might be in foster care where both
money and time are limited, or they might be homeless and in a shelter," Tina says.
"We also make very special birthday cakes for hospice patients. We ask about a person's life and bake a cake to capture an aspect of that life and the taste of a cake
they have always loved."
Launched in January 2008, Angel Cakes Charity now averages 50 homemade cakes each month and regularly bakes for nursing homes, families staying at the Ronald
McDonald house and a few other organizations.
About 60 volunteers, known as Angel Bakers, donate all of the ingredients, decorations and wrappings for the cakes. They range from beginning bakers to experts
and can choose to bake from once a month to twice a week.
One such Angel Baker is Amanda Bowyer of Caldwell, Idaho, who discovered the joy of baking in childhood when she received an Easy-Bake Oven.
"I just do this because I love to do it," she says. "I especially love decorating the kids' cakes. I love the bright, vibrant colors. Growing up, I always had a special cake on
my birthday, so it's hard for me to imagine a child not having one."
A Wilton-trained cake decorator, Amanda has taught workshops to other Angel Bakers.
She also has 200 cake pans that she lends out to make special shaped cakes for recipients.
"The recipients are so thankful. It means a lot to them that someone cared enough to spend the time to do that for them," she says.
Two of Amanda's favorite choices for her creations are White Chocolate Raspberry Cake and Orange Grove Cake.
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