Gossip and cake is proving to be the perfect recipe for blind cooks to raise their confidence.
Keen bakers – and talkers – cook up a storm at the popular class held by Sheffield Royal Society for the Blind.
And, with the help of special ingredients such as a talking microwave and speaking weighing scales, they are turning out precisely baked buns, cakes and other sweet treats for family and friends.
Great great grandmother Ivy Andrews, of Stannington, revealed the class was the highlight of her week as she admired an immaculate ginger sponge.
The 90-year-old, a Sheffield Woman of Steel who was a crane driver at English Steel during World War Two and has glaucoma, said: “I can’t bake at home now, it’s difficult to use the oven but it’s lovely here because we are tutored and looked after.
“I give some of the cakes to two of the men in my sheltered accommodation – they are waiting with their mouths open every Wednesday.
“My favourite cake is ginger and if we’ve made Bailey’s buns, I’m a big Bailey’s fan and have one in my coffee – why not?”
The smell of fresh baking fills the society’s headquarters on Mappin Street every Tuesday and Wednesday.
Traditional baking techniques from years gone by are shared, as are jokes about baps, as volunteers supervise the bakers in weighing, mixing and dishing up everything from lemon drizzle cake to bread.
Ovens in the kitchen are also equipped with special tactile buttons which point to the correct settings.
Great grandmother Jean Linton, 75, of Wincobank, said: “I can see a bit better than some of the others in the group so they print the recipes out for us afterwards
“It’s the company that’s the best thing about the group, we talk about all kinds of things and how things were made in the past.
“It’s surprising how we managed back then, there was nothing like a talking microwave to help you out.
“You get to learn all about different things, today we’ve been talking about avocado pears which I’ve never used so I think at least I’ve learned something as well.”
The class has been running for three years and organisers say it helps boost users’ confidence and increase their independence.
They are looking for more volunteers to help out so the number of sessions can be increased.
Volunteer and client Sue Walker, who is also registered blind, said: “I’m registered blind but I have never given in and I’m not prepared to – you’ve got to keep going.
“When you lose your eyesight you can lose confidence so it is about getting that back.
“It’s only making cake but this seems to make a massive difference.”
n To help out at the baking group call the society on 01142 7222757.