By Hannah Phillips
A baker has created eight stunning and lifelike cakes for 5,000 NHS staff at her local hospital since the start of the pandemic.
Beata Maria Khoo, 52, from Saltdean, Brighton, spends up to seven days perfecting her masterpieces before dropping them off at the local hospital and did so once a week during last year’s lockdown in March.
Beata has made so many cakes, which have all been a hit with the 5,000 staff at the Royal Sussex Hospital, that she can’t remember which flavours she’d used for each one but they ranged from vanilla, lemon curd, strawberry, chocolate, orange and salted caramel.
On average, perfectionist Beata uses eight eggs and 450 grams of flour per cake and decoration alone can take up to four days as she carefully airbrushes the nurses.
She used hot sugar for the rainbow to represent the famous rainbow hanging in people’s windows throughout the height of the pandemic.
The former nursery nurse decided she wanted to do something to thank hardworking staff at the local hospital back in March last year and got the inspiration from her next door neighbour.
She said: “As soon as we went into lockdown, I panicked because we’ve never been in this situation before so I started getting anxiety.
“I believe that you should always give back and not just take.
“I wanted to thank the doctors, nurses, cleaners and all the staff there.
“My next door neighbour is a nurse so I asked if she thought I should make a cake for the NHS and she said the staff would love it.
“I wanted to do something a bit different and something big so everyone could have a slice.
“I made one every week over lockdown and she takes them to the hospital.
“I made sure I asked about allergies.
“I’ve had messages and phone calls from doctors and nurses thanking me.
“They love them, they have a good laugh at them and that’s what I wanted to do, something positive and not miserable for a change.
“People think the images are printed on but its airbrushed by hand.
“I’m a perfectionist so if it isn’t right I will strip it down and do it again and I had to make them big for all the 50,000 staff working there.”
Married Beata quit her day job as a nursery nurse five years ago to take up baking full time, taking the plunge to start her own business, My Sweet Passion Cakes.
She said: “I have always made simple cakes all my life and I started doing more creative cakes eight years ago just as a hobby.
“I would take them into work as practice and then a woman asked me to make a dragon cake for her which scared me at first but I thought I’d give it a go and challenge myself.
“I’m not big headed but it looked phenomenal so I thought I should start a business, if I didn’t give it a go then I would regret it.
“The woman never cut the dragon cake, that was five years ago and she still has it because it looked too good to cut.”