21 November 2009


Every year at about this time we have a cake stall at work and sell home-made cakes for the BBC charity "Children in Need".

Raspberry and banana muffin.
I hadn't tried this recipe before.

Nick works for a large company in premises where there are upwards of 1,500 employees. For years I had been making a chocolate cake for him to take for the cake stall there and it would be sold for £1 a slice.

I'm sometimes a bit concerned about the possibility of wasting ingredients on a new recipe if the cake or buns don't turn out too well.

It was a very easy "all-in-one" chocolate cake recipe from my ancient Homepride Flourgraders recipe book. The book cost 13 shillings and sixpence. I know this because there are coupons in the back where you can send for more copies !

It's always a relief when they turn out just like the picture in the book.

The cake is pretty much idiotproof but always looks great and tastes scrummy. Getting it to work in one piece was the greater challenge as until last year Nick went on his motorcycle, virtually all year round.

One year he handed it over to the lady running the cake stall and someone immediately snaffled the whole cake for the princely sum of £20. Nick's colleagues were somewhat miffed so the next year I sent him with two.

This was another "first time bake"

Blueberry and lemon drizzle cake. It was lovely.

So we decided in our very small company of just five ladies that we ought to have a cake stall too. I don't know why we didn't think of it before. The first time we did it was in 2003 and we made £135. Gradually over the years word has got around and lots of the surrounding small businesses and residents look forward to our cakes arriving. We know this because they tell us so !

This one did not sell so fast. Coffee and walnut cake, cut into squares.

It was light and equally delicious with a crunchy, nutty topping but looked a bit uninteresting alongside some of my colleagues' more elaborately decorated chocolate cakes. I brought the last two bits home to enjoy later with my Dad.

I paid for them, of course.

Last year, when I walked into the office with my cakes I was already surrounded by a sea of cake and other goodies. I thought we'd be dead lucky to shift it all but we did and we made £575. So this year, that was our target to beat.

For the last four years I have made a Nigella Lawson Chocolate Guinness Cake.

It looks superb and tastes divine. The Guinness makes it very dark and not too sweet. The sharpness of the cream cheese topping goes well with it.

The recipe for the cake is here.

We were assisted this time by a couple of volunteers who offered to deliver stuff on foot to the local shops and offices for us AND they baked 50 butterfly buns to add to the stock as well. They did a great job. Our delivery couriers also take away a supply for their colleagues to enjoy.

Personally, I have always loved baking and eating home-made cakes since I was a little girl and would help my mother do the weekly bake on a Saturday afternoon. Her standard recipe book was the Bero Book and sometimes by Wednesday it would all be gone so she would bake some more.

After the first year I bought a cream cakestand in a sale, which sets off the cake perfectly.

By lunchtime there was only one slice left. I had that. I have never managed to get a piece before it all disappeared until now.

Nick is not fond of too much cake so I bake much less often these days. I therefore look forward to the opportuntity to have a proper baking session and try out new recipes once a year, all in a good cause. This year I also made some Christmas earrings to sell at work. You can see them here if you're interested.

Other things on sale were: sausage rolls, numerous fancy chocolate cakes, scones, date and walnut loaves, fruit cakes, coconut and cherry cake, carrot and orange cake, chocolate cheesecake brownies, toffee apple brownies, blackberry and apple crumble cake and of course the 50 butterfly cakes. Curiously, there were no mince pies, which is unusual.

Not all the money is in yet but so far it's looking like we've made well over £600.

UPDATE - On 4th December we banked £640. There's still some trickling in to start us off for next year, too.


  1. Hi Jean,
    My mouth is watering just looking at, and reading about your cakes. They look delicious!
    Well done to you and your colleagues for raising a lot of money for such a good cause.
    Great to read another post!
    Keep up the good work, and I hope the house decoration is going well (you couldn't have chosen worse weather if you'd tried).

  2. These cakes all look and sound delicious. How many people did you say did all this baking?

    I don't know what a butterfly cake is; can you describe it? Is it a small cake?

    Congratulations on a successful bake sale!

  3. Very impressive baking! They all look great, including the coffee/walnut cake, which would likely be my choice if I were buying a slice.

  4. Oh, and I forgot to add that I love how the chocolate cake is served with a Guinness. Over here it would be Beaujolais Nouveau.

  5. Gaynor, Carolyn and Walt, thank you !
    There were just five ladies baking plus two volunteers delivering.
    A butterfly bun is a small cake like a cupcake.
    Here is a picture:


    Walt - the Guinness was not served with the cake, I just put the bottle in the photo so you could see what went into it ! The usual accompaniment is a cup of tea or coffee. Your suggestion of a glass of wine sounds better !

  6. Oh, that lemon drizzle cake looks absolutely impossible to resist.

    I'm known as the cake man at work...because I'm one of the lucky few who can eat it without implications.

    Well done Jean, you've done brilliantly!

  7. Wish I was there!