1. Why do you run these bake offs?
Raising money for Together Co is a way for us to provide some small financial support to help you to continue to provide valuable and vital services. The idea came to us over a social evening with colleagues. A number of us like making baking cakes for special occasions at work and jumped at the opportunity to make them more frequently. We also wanted to challenge ourselves each month with a different category to push ourselves out of our baking comfort zones, and so that we were experimental and made something we hadn’t baked before. Until we started this bake off, I’d never made a Simnel cake, or even thought about making a Norwegian Cream Cake. I’ve brushed up my pastry-making skills, discovered savoury cakes, and had a lot of fun making a Mojito Cake for our alcohol cakes competition.
2. What do you like about it?
I love that it beings the team together in shared creativity. It’s the talk of the team in the lead up to the week that we do it, and a lovely topic of conversation to have with both baking and non-baking colleagues each month about possible recipes. And of course, we raise money for charity.
3. What sells like hot cakes? Is there a favourite?
Our most popular cakes were the ‘Alternative Living Cakes’ we made at the beginning of the year: we had our largest number of bakers joining in and had an array of delicious entries, including vegan spiced pumpkin cheesecake, gluten free Victoria sponge, and a clean blueberry mousse cake, as well as a chocolate ‘alt’ cake (an alternative cake to alternative living cakes). We raised the most money from this bake off for Together Co.
4. Tell us a bit about the process of running the bake off, how does it work?
I run the bake off , and send notices to everyone in the team to let them know the next category of bake off and then remind them about it about a week or so beforehand. Most often, we hold them on a Thursday as this fits the working pattern of the majority of people in my team, and it means if there’s any cake left, we’ve got Friday to continue consuming or selling it. We hold a bake off about once a month and everyone at Children’s Services at Moulsecoomb Hub South is invited to buy cakes on the day (we provide an honesty box for donations). Normally, the usual cake baking lovers (a handful of us), bake cakes each month. We usually ask someone to judge the cakes who’s got a special occasion on the day of the bake off (someone who’s birthday it is, or to mark a team member’s departure from the team). We have also asked buyers of the cakes to take part in a people’s vote to choose their favourite cake. The winner is awarded the ‘bake off’ crown or tiara, and chooses the next category of cake.
5. Is there anything else you’d like to add?
In November we held a cake sale with difference. We did it in collaboration with the Partners in Change hub in Children’s Services who were holding an internal launch event. Partners in Change hub comprises specialist practitioners in areas such as mental health and drug and alcohol recovery, who work alongside social workers to provide the best support to families. We used the launch event as an opportunity to promote Together Co and we raised a further £62 for you. Instead of a theme, we decided to make any cake we liked and made:
- Chocolate Bundt Cake (Lore)
- Spiced Apple Cake (Jim)
- Chocolate Malteser Cake (Jen)
- Lemon and Lime Cake (Emma)
- Vegan (Soya-free) Strawberry Cake
- Vegan and Gluten-free Chocolate Cake (Deanna)
- Amaretto Biscuit and White Chocolate Brownies (Raff)
- Fairy Cakes (Emma)
- Chocolate Cornflake Cakes (Michaela)
They were all too gorgeous to really single out a winner, but Emma’s Lemon and Lime cake sold out the quickest. Here’s a photo of the array of cakes for sale:
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© 2019 Together Collective a Company Limited by Guarantee registered in England and Wales: Company No. 03895574, whose registered office is Brighthelm Centre, North Road, Brighton BN1 1YD. Together Collective is a registered charity: Charity No. 1083390