Beyond the Badge

Life after Retirement: Counselor turns to cake art

Cake decorator stands at counter.
Regina Walker retired from CDCR and went on to find a new calling through cake decorating.

Counselor finds success in retirement through cake decorating

Meet Regina Walker, who has found success through her cake decorating skills, all in post-retirement as a correctional counselor.

If you were to conduct a survey for why staff chose careers with CDCR, chances are many would list retirement benefits as one of the top reasons.

After retirement, counselor created cake of actor Steve Harvey.
Regina Walker’s video of her Steve Harvey cake went viral.

Walker retired as Correctional Counselor II (Specialist) from Wasco State Prison-Reception Center (WSP-RC) in February 2019. She logged 11 years of state service after working 12 years as a Deputy Probation Officer for Kern County.

She is the owner and operator of a small business called Kake Walker, where she specializes in creating beautiful and delicious cakes.

Since retirement as a counselor, Walker has been able to focus on her business, teaching personal cake decorating classes and attending workshops to improve her skills. She created a YouTube channel during the COVID-19 pandemic, teaching people how to make celebration cakes while sequestered at home.

A video of her making a cake in the likeness of actor Steve Harvey went viral, catching the attention of news organizations as well as the actor. The video was reposted to Harvey’s official website and social media account, garnering over 3.7 million views.

Next, Walker can be seen on the new streaming show, “Foodtastic,” on Disney+, premiering December 15.

After hearing the big news about the show, WSP-RC staff reached out to Walker to get more information about her inspiring post-retirement life.

Finding new purpose after retirement

What are some of your accomplishments as a baker?

I received the Kern County Fair CEO Award in 2017, the Kern County Fair first place Advanced Decorated Cakes Award in 2017 and 2019, and was a judge for the International Cake Champion competition in 2020.

Can you describe the show “Foodtastic”?

Hosted by multi-talented actress Keke Palmer, Disney’s “Foodtastic” is an unscripted competition series for Disney+ where teams of contestants are challenged to create Disney-inspired works of art made entirely out of food. From vegetables and butter to fruit and cheese, these everyday items are transformed into works of art. Each episode is rooted in iconic Disney themes and the food-based builds are an extension of that world.

What was the experience of being on the show like?

It was the best experience of my life. I felt like a kid in a candy store. Disney is known for its magical scenes, and they did not disappoint. We had a wardrobe and make-up team. I walked on set and was star-struck. The set was huge, magical, colorful, and sparkly — just amazing. The host, Keke Palmer, was also amazing and down-to-earth.

Prior to retiring, what were your plans for retirement?

My retirement plans were like everyone else, to travel, see the world, spend time with family and exercise. I planned to take advanced cake design classes and turn my hobby into to a full-fledged business. I especially wanted to teach kids and adults the art of cake decorating.

Since retirement, how have your plans changed?

I still have the same plans for retirement, but now I want to be a TV cake-designing star. Why not me? Since retiring, I have learned you need to dream big and do the work to make those dreams come true. Being on Disney+ and the exposure I received from the Steve Harvey cake video has created a hunger to do more. God gave me this gift and I want the world to see it. I am so excited and I cannot wait to see what’s in store for Kake Walker.

Retirement is a new chapter

What would you tell people who are getting close to retirement?

Retirement is like a second chance. You get to start over doing anything you want. You can go to college, start a business or a new career, travel, or take up painting. The great thing about safety retirement is that you are still young enough to take advantage of all that life has in store.

To learn more, follow “Kake Walker” on YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram.

By Alex House, Correctional Counselor II, Wasco State Prison-Reception Center

Cake shaped like a motorcycle.
Motorcycle cake by Regina Walker.

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