A talented cake decorator from a centre of excellence for Welsh food has been picked to help celebrate cult musical The Rocky Horror Show.
Hayley Roberts, who works as a supervisor at the farm shop at Bodnant Welsh Food Centre in the Conwy Valley, is part of a UK-team creating cakes to mark the 40th anniversary The Rocky Horror Show.
It comes after she collected three gold awards for her cake designs, and was named Cake Decoration Student of the Year at Coleg Llandrillo in Rhos on Sea.
The 26-year-old from Conwy is completing her fourth year of studies at the college under award-winning patisserie queen Sally Owens – who is also a tutor at Bodnant Welsh Food Centre’s cookery school.
“I got into it when I started making cakes, and realised I was really interested in the design side. I went to study sugar craft and decoration at college, but I only started to enter competitions a few months ago,” explained Hayley, who has worked at Bodnant in the Conwy Valley since it opened in 2012.
Her sugar craft creations landed her Best in Show and two gold awards at Cake Cymru, held at the college, plus a gold medal at the prestigious Cake International show – followed by an invite to take centre stage in autumn with designs to mark Richard O’ Brien’s spoof sci-fi show.
Hayley explained: “I am part of a collaboration for Cake International in the NEC in Birmingham – 40 cake artists have been invited to all make a show piece to celebrate 40 years of The Rocky Horror Picture show.”
She is now working on the designs – which will be a long way from her previous cakes for the prestigious contest, which were inspired by her love of the books by Welsh children’s author Roald Dahl.
She said about the gold-medal winning hexagonal shaped cake: “I made plaques to go on the side featuring Roald Dahl’s books – Fantastic Mr Fox, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, George’s Marvellous Medicine, The BFG, The Giraffe and The Witches. The plaques are inset into the cake, a technique called bas relief, which stands out well.
“On the top is Matilda with her books, all Roald Dahl’s one – in all that cake took me about 40 hours. There was a lot of work in that, but it was smaller.
“I loved Roald Dahl’s books as a child – you often see cakes with Peter Rabbit and other children’s books, but you never see Dahl ones.
“For Cake Cymru I got Best in Show, Best in Class and two golds for my mermaid creation. That came about because I was making a cake for a friend who loved the film Little Mermaid. So I had a think about how to it, and came up with an initial design.
“Once I made it I showed it to Sally and then worked on it to improve it for Cake Cymru, which was held at Coleg Llandrillo. I was delighted when it was announced as Best in Show by the judges – as when I’d made it for them last autumn at Cake International at the NEC they only gave me a silver. It was the same panel of judges, so obviously they realised I’d improved on it.
“It took me a long time to make it – probably around 50 hours of work. Just the eyelashes on the mermaid took me two hours, while her tail took me five hours,” said Hayley, who will be passing on her skills at a Halloween cupcake class at Bodnant’s cookery school in October.
Bodnant Welsh Food Centre managing director Chris Morton has praised Hayley for her wins.
“Her cakes are very impressive, and we are most proud of her decorating skills, and the way she combines work with her studies at Coleg Llandrillo,” said Chris.
“I’m now looking forward to seeing the class she will be teaching later this year at the cookery school.”
Hayley, a former Ysgol Aberconwy pupil added: “I just love doing cake designs, and I am quite creative as I did Art A Level. It’s a hobby that combines really well with my job as supervisor in the Farm Shop at Bodnant. Eventually I’d like to teach sugar craft so the class for adults making cupcakes at Bodnant’s cookery school for Halloween will be a start.”
Bodnant Welsh Food Centre has its own dairy making cheese and ice cream, plus an on-site bakery and butchery, with award-winning pies. There’s also a wine store and tea rooms plus the Hayloft restaurant and farmhouse accommodation. To book a place on the course with Hayley, and for more details on other courses at the Cookery School visit bodnant-welshfood.co.uk