How can one woman empower others through baking?

Ma’am Lilibelle has a passion for cake making. She also has a passion for sharing her skills with others so that they can improve their lives.

With the help of VFV she’s set up a baking class for the parents of the dump site project children. The aim: teach parents to make cakes so that they can set up a small business selling them to support their families.

I joined the class for their final lesson before their evaluation.

In previous sessions the group learned about basic cake making tools, hygiene and techniques.

This session is about steaming. The parents do not have enough money for an oven so Ma’am Lilibelle wants to teach them how they can use a steamer to make cakes.

the steamer with cloth to catch vapour

The steamer

yellow measuring cups and a whisk

Baking equipment







The participants start trickling into the room: Ellen, the school caretaker, Day Day, Zenaida and Mary Ann – parents of children in the dumpsite project. They are soon joined by others. They laugh and joke with each other as they start putting on the aprons and hairnets that they got in their first session.

Ma’am Lilibelle has laid out the ingredients on a table. She explains what they will be making today. She will play videos of the cakes being made and each person will get a print out of the recipe to keep.

Ma’am Lilibelle tells me that they were really nervous in the first session. They were hesitant when measuring ingredients. They had no idea how to follow a recipe. She has seen them become more confident. Now they can read a recipe and correctly measure out the wet and dry ingredients. They are having to ask less and less questions.

ladies making cakes

Everyone jumps in

two ladies filling cake molds

Filling the puto molds

cake ingredients

Cake ingredients







After watching the first video (how to make leche puto)  the group is split in two. Each group gets to work measuring out the ingredients.

They work out what each member of their team will do and coordinate the various steps of the recipe. If they have any questions Ma’am Lilibelle is on hand to help.

Soon people are mixing, stirring and whisking way and the mixtures are ready to be poured into the puto molds. The groups tidy up after themselves as they go.

These sessions have taught them to work effectively as a team. Vital for when they are making cakes to sell.

Once the puto leche are steaming away the group goes on to learn how to make kutsinta, chocolate muffins, banana cake and chocolate chiffon cake.

4 different types of cake

The finished cakes











The cakes smell amazing, look professional and taste great (I had to try one of course!). I ask the group what their favorite cake is – ‘Chiffon’ they shout.

Ma’am Lilibelle says the course is not just about teaching them to make cakes, it’s about raising their self-esteem too.

I ask Ellen what she has got out of the course, she smiles: “making cakes makes me happy”

If you have a passion you’d like to share check out how you can volunteer or donate to make more classes like this one happen.

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