Working Women: #3 Roxanne Gerber

Roxanne Gerber owner of Cherry on Top at her home in Grahamstown, Eastern Cape, South  Africa.

Roxanne Gerber owner of Cherry on Top at her home in Grahamstown, Eastern Cape, South Africa.

While most artisan cake bakers have a background in design, Roxanne Gerber is starting her artistic and baking adventures all at once.
“It was a procrastination project while I was studying, to take my mind of work. But then everyone started to ask, ‘what do you do for fun besides cooking’,” said Roxanne. “When I wasn’t in the kitchen I would be watching videos about stuff in the kitchen, so it just evolved from there”.
However, Roxanne’s notion of baking is far from prosaic. Three tiered geometrical structures covered in ornate flowers, a hot air balloon, a woman’s face on a long elegant neck, or an owl perching on a branch – all made of cake. These are the designs in the Elisabeth Marek cake book, Roxanne’s “cakespriation”. Marek began the Artisan Cake Company whose Facebook page and sub-groups gives Roxanne the support she needs for this difficult culinary art form.

“It’s one step further than just being creative, it’s about using all the design elements in a coherent way,” said Roxanne.

“I’d call them edible masterpieces, there are a lot of different parts that go into it, the structure, that’s like engineering, the inside is like chemistry and decorating the outside is design,” she said.

Roxanne says she no longer feels post-academia aimlessness, baking has become an unexpected vocation. “I have never been a person who has just one dream. I’ve always been good at a lot of different things. This is something that makes use of all those skills and combines them,” she said.

South Africa commemorates Women’s Month in August as a tribute to the more than 20 000 women who marched to the Union Buildings on 9 August 1956 in protest against the extension of Pass Laws to women. This August, GAP is publishing a micro-profile a day on women working in Grahamstown in 2015.

About the photographer: Jane Berg is a photojournalist working in Grahamstown finishing her Bachelor of Journalism Degree at Rhodes University. She is the Media Officer for The Gender Action Project. You can see more of her work at and on her Facebook page.


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