MILROY - Janet Maben has made a lot of cakes for special occasions, including baby showers.
This one was different - a non-edible "diaper cake''- made as a centerpiece for her granddaughter's baby shower.
April Maben, of Yeagertown, was the guest of honor at the event, held last Saturday at Evangel Baptist Church in Lewistown.
Sentinel photos by MARY MARGARET PECHT
Janet Maben, right, created a ‘diaper cake’ as a centerpiece for a baby shower for her granddaughter, April Maben, left.
Janet was visiting in Florida when her daughter-in-law, Dottie Maben, "got the idea (for the cake) off the Internet. I saw a picture of it and I wanted to try it,'' Maben said.
Janet's daughter, Joan Burkey, of Reedsville, downloaded instructions for the cupcakes for the shower - edible ones - which Joan's daughter, Becky Burkey, of Reedsville, helped to make. They were decorated as rattles and pacifiers.
Nor did the special effects for the shower stop there. With the help of daughter-in-law, Penny Maben, of Milroy, Janet also carved a watermelon into a baby carriage, with orange-slice wheels, to hold a summer fruit salad.
Penny and a friend, Evelyn Fultz, also helped with the cake.
Nothing of the centerpiece will be wasted, Maben emphasized.
The body of the three-tiered cake consisted of newborn size, disposable baby diapers - some 70 of them - as well as a bottle of baby lotion in the center of the bottom layer, a small baby bottle on the top layer, and a slew of baby items - such as little socks, a rattle, teething keys, little book, little washcloths- in between. And, of course, ribbons on the outside of each layer and the "big bows,'' Maben added. The total cost: between $25 and $30.
Maben said she was not permitted to bake at home when she was growing up, but after she married Ken Maben 52 years ago, she started baking, not dreaming it would become an avocation.
"My aunt baked cakes and it fascinated me, so I took a 6-week course (once a week) through Central Novelty,'' she said. "From then on, I'd hear of someone having a birthday or an anniversary, so I'd make up something.
"I like to do stuff like this. I made all of my children's wedding cakes, my parents' 50th anniversary cake, and Joan and Mike (Burkey)'s 25th anniversary cake.''
Then there were other special cakes - one shaped like Milroy Fire Co., one with a guitar, a couple of typewriters complete with keys and paper in the roll, to name a few.
She has make cakes for her four children and nine grandchildren's birthdays and special events. She has also made cakes for her great-grandson, Logan Botdorf.
Her largesse also goes beyond the family - cakes may be made by request or as a surprise for friends, with decorations suggested or dreamed up in her mind.
"I loved her doll cakes, dolls with dresses made of icing. They were my favorites,'' said granddaughter Ashley Maben, of Lewistown. "She made me a three-tier clown cake once, too.''
Maben has another special project coming up - tiny doll cupcakes for a birthday tea party for a little friend, Sophia North, who will be 4 in August.
Although she had no formal training since that long-ago course, Maben doesn't miss any Taste of Home schools if she can avoid it - that's a special mother-daughter night together for Janet and Joan.
The Milroy resident was a cafeteria worker in the Mifflin County School District several times, a total of 10 to 15 years, she estimates. She also worked in the Call-A-Ride Services office for four or five years, and at one time took a few orders for cakes. But mostly she was a homemaker.
In addition to her baking and homemaking, she sings in the choir and sometimes plays piano at Big Valley Bible Church in Reedsville, and has been playing piano as a volunteer at Golden Living Center-William Penn in Lewistown for 15 years. She also does water aerobics at the YMCA and sometimes regular aerobics as well.
She's made many shower cakes, but the diaper cake was a first, Maben said, adding, "You're never too old to do anything. I enjoy doing things like this.
"I just make special cakes whenever I feel like it. It's all just for fun. But I'm baking something every day.''