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Subspecialties Other, Comprehensive, Glaucoma

Bake My Day

We have reached final week fever in The Great British Bake Off (aka The Great British Baking Show)! Needless to say, baking rates amongst ophthalmologists and other medics spike during this important time; here, we showcase some of our readers' technical challenges and showstoppers to make you both jealous and hungry.

We'll be updating this article with more baking masterpieces throughout the week. Send yours to [email protected].

Let us know in the comments who your favorite is!

Harpreet Kaur, an Ophthalmology ST1 at Sheffield Hospitals NHS Trust, has presented us with these eye popping biscuit bakes! 

"I am by no means a baker, but who can resist freshly baked biscuits with a cup of Yorkshire tea! Especially when they're shaped like this.

I think baking is a wonderful way for everyone to connect at work. Nothing quite cheers me up during an Emergency Eye Casualty shift than when one of the team has brought in treats! I've managed to get my hands on a secret lemon drizzle recipe which I can't wait to try and take back in."

Sarju Athwal, Consultant Ophthalmologist and Oculoplastic Surgeon at Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust, UK, baked this eye, featuring orange and vanilla sponge, with chocolate buttercream and chocolate icing, especially for The Ophthalmologist. 

"As someone who pays close attention to small details, I was naturally drawn to ophthalmology, and in particular oculoplastics. While I don't think baking helps with my surgery, I do think that my surgical skills help with my more imaginative bakes."

Sarj has also created a shockingly gorey and delightfully tasty kidney bake.

"Vanilla sponge with raspberry coulis 'blood' and fondant icing.

I may have gotten a little carried away with the details..."

Manuela Lahne is a post-doctoral scientist at UCL and a member of Mariya Moosajee's research group based in London, UK.

"This is my patient stem-cell derived retinal organoid cake, also known as a chocolate layered cake – it was delicious! 

Most experiments in science involving following a protocol or recipe, so baking is a very relatable pastime. We often make up chemicals like a cocktail with specific measures, weighing powders and adding various ingredients. I always found it funny when we used powdered milk to make blocking solutions for antibody staining! 

When I arrive at the lab with bakes, it most certainly makes everyone smile!"

Scroll for the original retinal organoid image.

Neely Mozawala is the founder of Baking Medics and Specialist Diabetes Podiatrist at Somerset NHS Foundation Trust, UK.

"I founded Baking Medics because I find that baking is such an important skill to have as a healthcare professional. It is an important part of our wellbeing as it allows us to relieve our stress from work and allow our creativity to flow into our bakes. The best bit is being able to share our bakes amongst family, friends and colleagues to show them how much you appreciate them. 

I am really proud of how far Baking Medics has come, it is wonderful to have seen it grow into such a positive and supportive baking community."

Neely Mozawala with New York style chocolate chip cookies.
Geode cake with orange buttercream, orange sponge and orange drizzle.
Pistachio, raspberry and rose cake.
Persian cake consisting of almonds, saffron, rose, pistachios, lemons and cardamom.

 

 

Elsa Lee is a medical student at King’s College London, UK, intercalating in Ophthalmology at UCL.

"Below is an all-butter chewie brownie that’ll make you want to see the dentist. Use full-fat milk and butter because life is too short, and I bet you won’t tell it’s a box-mix. The trick to making your baking look better than it tastes: only bake on sunny days.

Baking is the 10th wonder of the world (did Einstein say this?).

It's a creative outlet that soothes the executive brain, a craft of precision and spontaneity. It’s a shame that my bakes are usually divided and conquered too quickly to save for hospital colleagues."

Dolly Sud is Senior Mental Health Pharmacist at Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust, UK.

"I just love baking! I would consider myself an amateur home baker and I do it for the joy and pleasure of it. I guess my attention to detail and my love of chemistry and maths helps. Good baking is underpinned by chemistry, right?!

I love to bake and share my creations with my colleagues and friends. Food is a cultural anchor, and it helps to bring people together."

Drip cake
Squirrolls & Cinnamon Rolls
Hanging sloth bread
Sachertorte
Blueberry and raspberry pie

Gwenllian Evans is a Neurosurgery ST1 at St. George's Hospital in London, UK.

"I did a themed cake for the end of each Foundation rotation and even appeared on Great British Bake Off - Extra Slice with my heart cake. I tried to make the vessels as accurate as possible of course - my cardiology consultant loved it! 

I also made a lung cake featuring a 'malignant pleural effusion' (aka strawberry syrup) that I drained off my strawberry and white chocolate lung cake."

Clamshell thoracotomy cake - Red velvet heart, strawberry sponge lungs, swiss roll thoracic wall.
Heart cake - Red velvet cake with chocolate ganache. Was approached by Channel 4 to bring it to The GBBO: An Extra Slice chat show!
Below knee amputation cake - Life sized white chocolate tibia and fibula with honeycomb "bone marrow". This cake had 4 "compartments" just like a real leg does and I carved the muscle bellies of each muscle. The 4 compartments had different flavours and it was Christmas themed - red wine velvet, orange drizzle, Jamaican ginger sponge and cinnamon sponge.
Below knee amputation cake - Life sized white chocolate tibia and fibula with honeycomb "bone marrow". This cake had 4 "compartments" just like a real leg does and I carved the muscle bellies of each muscle. The 4 compartments had different flavours and it was Christmas themed - red wine velvet, orange drizzle, Jamaican ginger sponge and cinnamon sponge.
Heart cake - Red velvet cake with chocolate ganache. Was approached by Channel 4 to bring it to The GBBO: An Extra Slice chat show!
Brain cake - Vanilla sponge with swiss meringue buttercream and "ventricles" filled with "blood stained CSF" (strawberry syrup) and a white chocolate skull. I made a tract so I could puncture it with a mock "EVD" and the "CSF" came out. The skull had all the suture lines, superior temporal ridge and even temporal muscle!
Lung cake - Strawberry sponge with vanilla Swiss meringue buttercream, white chocolate ribs and a strawberry syrup "pleural effusion."

Felecia D'Souza is a fourth year medical student at Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry in London, UK. 

"I’m only a student, but I certainly think baking has helped to develop skills such as problem solving. 

When I first started baking for people’s events I felt immense pressure to deliver as I had a standard to uphold. Over time, I’ve become used to working under pressure, and I generally stay calm when things go wrong. Quite often I’ve been able to pull ideas from medicine to find a solution. Huge air bubble under fondant? Aspirate the air with a syringe! Difficulty placing sugar dragees or pearls? Use surgical clamps!*

I think that bringing bakes into hospital is a great idea! Especially in the early clinical placements when I wasn't able to contribute much to the team, baking allowed me to feel a bit involved. In turn, some of the relationships that formed over cake ended up being friendships and mentorships that have lasted until today."

*that were bought specifically for baking, please!

Steven Reeve is a maker of medical devices for IVF treatment who heard our call!

"I am not a doctor, but I have been accepted in to the wonderful baking medics group – a talented bunch!

Everyone has been super nice and very encouraging. Through meeting the founder and many others I’ve definitely made friends and improved my baking skills."

The Ophthalmologist's editor, Aleksandra Jones, here.

While I'm not at the level of our esteemed bakers above, I also occasionally bake for my family, friends, and the team at work. These days, I usually have to involve my very young apprentice, so the esthetic quality is often lacking. 

Baby Jones' baby shower cake.
Chocolate and raspberry cupcakes.
Pumpkin muffins topped with pumpkin seeds.
"Death by chocolate" cake for a fundraiser.
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About the Authors
Geoffrey Potjewyd

Associate Editor, The Ophthalmologist

The lion’s share of my PhD was spent in the lab, and though I mostly enjoyed it (mostly), what I particularly liked was the opportunity to learn about the latest breakthroughs in research. Communicating science to a wider audience allows me to scratch that itch without working all week only to find my stem cell culture has given up the ghost on the Friday (I’m not bitter). Fortunately for me, it turns out writing is actually fun – so by working for Texere I get to do it every day, whilst still being an active member of the clinical and research community.


Aleksandra Jones

Editor of The Ophthalmologist

Having edited several technical publications over the last decade, I crossed paths with quite a few of Texere's current team members, and I only ever heard them sing the company's praises. When an opportunity arose to join Texere, I jumped at the chance! With a background in literature, I love the company's ethos of producing genuinely engaging content, and the fact that it is so well received by our readers makes it even more rewarding.

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