Baking for the Bazaar

Hazelnut Brownies

I’ve experienced some scary things in my life but there’s one that leaves me cold each time. I detest baking for cake sales. Not being an expert on such things, when the call goes out for cakes and baking I tend to make myself inconspicuous.But one of the challenges I set myself this year was to overcome one of the things I don’t enjoy- and fills me with fear. And so, with the village Christmas fair imminent and a request for cakes I decided to try.

I have made cakes for village events before, back in the summer. They weren’t as perfect as the other women’s offerings and the cookies were shaped a little strange. But what else could I do with all those cakes? If I ate them all I would balloon with weight and have another problem. I left them on the table when no one was looking and walked away. But as I turned I could see some of the village stalwarts examining my specimens with curiosity. It was that look that discouraged me from going near the cake stall again. A smug look of “perfect housewife” that comes from light sponges and symmetrical cakes. Unlike my attempts which should stay hidden.

I began baking last night with a gin and tonic cake, designed to raise an eyebrow and be a little different to the standard coffee and walnut. It seemed to be going well until I took my cake from the  oven and placed it on the side to cool. This was not an even cake. In fact the top was more like a mountain range. D looked up from his writing and said:”I think they are expecting better quality cakes than that.”

Maybe it would look better with some icing as camouflage. It didn’t. D looked up and dared me to take it to the village sale. We decided it might be best left here and tasted a slice. It tasted good and was very moist (all that gin)- it was just the appearance apparently. And I still need a cake to take to the sale. “You could always buy one in town,” he quipped,”No one would ever know.”

Day 2 and I was back ready to try another baking session. This time I found an easy brownie recipe topped with a chocolate and decided that if these did not work out I would just have to call it a day. Those hazelnut brownies looked good when they came out of the oven, and even better with a chocolate on top. Buoyed by confidence I made an apple fruit cake as well.

This time my cakes were admired when I took them to the bazaar. And most importantly they sold! When it comes to cake making for bazaars and sales I’ll stick to easy tried and tested recipes- and I have a lot more confidence with baking.

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