Cheryl Gobernatz-Jones makes sugar cookies
Twenty-eight-year-old Cheryl Gobernatz-Jones didn't like seeing her mother left out at dessert time during the family's frequent get-togethers because of her allergies to food preservatives.
So she started baking from-scratch, all natural cakes and cookies to replace the usual store- and restaurant-bought goodies on the table. Now mom can join the festivities.
Isn't that sweet?
"I feel blessed," says Nancy Gobernatz of Naperville. "I was so happy that she took the time to make something I could eat; she always goes the extra mile to make people happy."
Just ask Cheryl's Grandma Rita. Last year for her 80th birthday Cheryl created a three-tiered, snow-white cake with 80 pink frosting roses, each requiring 13 steps.
To learn how, Cheryl signed up for a cake decorating class just two months before the party and had to get special permission to skip the beginner levels
"I probably made 100 roses because some weren't good," Cheryl says. "I wanted the cake to be special and beautiful for her."
After that success Cheryl created an aerial view replica of Arlington Park for her Grandpa Ray's 90th birthday. She carved the grandstand out of cake baked in a loaf pan, frosted it and sprinkled on colored balls to simulate the crowd. "Seeing the cake put a huge smile on his face," she says.
For her husband, Rob, she created a golf-themed cake; for her niece's birthday party Cheryl baked individual cakes for all the guests: Cinderellas with cake skirts for the girls, mountains with a chocolate castle on top for the boys.
Married and the administrative manager at Pump It Up, a kids party palace in Lisle, Cheryl says baking has been "my thing" since early childhood when she helped her mom bake brownies.
She bakes three to four times a month, more often around holiday or during months when the family has parties or birthdays.
"It seems like all I do is bake," says Cheryl. But she's not complaining.
This week you can try her molded sugar cookies and watch her decorate these treats at dailyherald.com/food.
Consider trying a different chocolate chip cookie recipe, too. Cheryl adds pudding mix to the batter and increases the butter to create a softer result. All ingredients are natural, of course, from the pudding mix to the chocolate chips and vanilla.
"You can make the balls, freeze them and bake a few whenever you want," she says.
Baking doesn't feel like a task for Cheryl, who once considered becoming a pastry chef.
"I love to push myself to try new designs, new cake shapes; I could do it forever, all day long, and never get tired of it."