Bonnie Skinner has lived in Ladysmith for 20 years, and she’s been baking cakes, pies, and loads of goodies for that whole time.
Skinner’s entry at the Cowichan Exhibition this year— a Coca Cola bowl cake — was so good that her recipe was sent to a national competition in Aurora, Ontario.
“I couldn’t believe that this year I won the family favourite cake,” Skinner said. “I just enter for fun any way. I also got the country baking award, plus a $25 certificate.”
Submissions for the competition close on November 2. Winners will be announced on December 12. The winner of the competition will receive $200 for their recipe. Last year’s winner was chosen from the Cowichan Exhibition as well. Despite the exhibition’s history of success, Skinner does not expect to win.
Skinner has won countless awards from the Cowichan Exhibition, and the old Ladysmith Fall Fair (which stopped in the early 2000s). Skinner has been awarded for her baking, and canning. She has been a staple at the Crofton Bake Sale for years, and is affectionately known as the “Pie Lady of Crofton”.
She found her passion for cooking at the age of 10 after her mother passed away. Skinner was the only girl in a house full of boys, so she picked up cook books and taught herself how to cook.
“Nobody taught me how to cook, just me and the cook book,” Skinner said.
Skinner loves to share her passion for baking with the community. She’s applied for a table at the Ladysmith Festival of Lights to sell her baking, jams, and jellies. Skinner also shares her baked goods with seniors groups in Crofton and Ladysmith.
“There’s no way I can eat all this stuff. So, when I do stuff, I share it,” Skinner said.
Aside from baking, Skinner has an assortment of canned goods, jams, jellies, pickled goods, and pre-made cooking mixes. Skinner sources her fruit from friends in Crofton. She uses the proceeds from sales to help her family with holiday celebrations.
Skinner is looking forward to hear the results of the baking competition, and is on the hunt for local bake sales to share her baking with the community.