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To find complicated cake recipes unnecessary, especially for a school cake sale

(86 Posts)
Vickisuli Fri 23-Oct-15 22:00:36

We had cake sales at both schools today. I did my usual and baked a massive batch of basic sponge cakes and then put some garish halloween themed icing on top, nothing massively complicated but just fun pumpkin shapes, strips of white icing to make mummies etc. It took me a little while doing the icing but I quite enjoy it and the kids LOVED them.

At said cake sale I find the usual selection of similar to mine, a fair few chocolate crispie cakes with halloween sweeties on etc but also some (to my mind) weirdly complicated cakes eg medjool date brownies. One of the mums told me she'd tried out a new recipe which involved cream cheese icing and realised it couldn't be left out so had had to bring them down at the last minute. Another one had made salted caramel brownies. They are bloody lovely but they cost an absolute fortune to make (I know because she gave me the recipe a while back) and are very labour intensive as you have to make the salted caramel separately first. When I said to her, "They're lovely but they're way too good for a cake sale, I'd only make them as a treat", she replied "They're the only thing I know how to cook".

How can this possibly be true? And why do people do such expensive/complicated recipes for cakes which are going to be eaten by kids? I have tried many cake recipes in my time and the vast majority (salted caramel brownies are an exception) are a lot of effort for a cake which is pretty blah. I tend to just use a basic sponge recipe and tweak it. I made cakes for DH's work, and just to make it a bit more interesting and less kiddy, I added cinnamon and mixed spice to my basic sponge. He had people asking for the recipe.... I was like, it's just a normal sponge cake with some spices thrown in. I bet if I googled cinnamon cake I'd find some super complicated recipe involving expensive ingredients which probably wouldn't taste any better than mine.

Seriously, I really don't get why people bother with cake recipes most of the time. Just use eggs, flour, butter, sugar and whisk it all up. It takes about 10 minutes and makes delicious cakes. And primary school children only care about the icing anyway.

DoveCazzoEIlMioCaffe Fri 23-Oct-15 22:05:18

I agree with you. Nine cakes out of ten that I make are made with Nigella's 6/4/4/2 recipe with whatever added. I make red velvet cake with this recipe. To my way of thinking the best cake recipe is the one with the least fucking about!

Passmethecrisps Fri 23-Oct-15 22:07:56

Having not got to the horror of the cake sale yet in my stage of parenting I would imagine people are anxious and stick to the thing they have made before as they know they can get it right.

Had someone asked me 5 years ago to make something for a bake sale I would have probably have done something much more complex as, ironically, I had less experience

BreakfastAtStephanies Fri 23-Oct-15 22:08:23

Agreed. Lemon drizzle cake is easy and cheap ( a lemon costs what, 40p ? ) and goes down well at a bake sale.

DisappointedOne Fri 23-Oct-15 22:09:01

My chocolate cake has soured cream in it and last year I did a gingerbread cupcake with cream cheese frosting and glitter. My then 4 year old loved it, as did many of the children (and the parents did too).

So you're being unreasonable, I'm afraid.

Fishfingersong Fri 23-Oct-15 22:11:33

You could always try one of these biscuit.

Passmethecrisps Fri 23-Oct-15 22:13:37

I have been making empire biscuits recently as my dd has decided that they are the best thing ever. Butter, flour and icing sugar. Then jam and more using sugar. Bosh!

AryaOfWinterfell Fri 23-Oct-15 22:17:43

Tbh I find it even easier just to buy some cakes. My youngest's school sells cakes for £1 for 4!
Waste of my money, time & effort baking anything, I'd rather just give the school a couple of quid and be done with it.
OP, in my experience people bake super complicated cakes, just so that other parents will ask them about said super complicated cakes wink
No bake sales, charity bags etc is one of the best bits about kids reaching year 7 I find grin

TheExMotherInLaw Sat 24-Oct-15 00:16:46

I totally agree with you! I make cakes for sale at least once a week, and have 3 basic recipes, one for choc/coffee/ginger cake, one victoria sponge, and one banana bread. Oil, eggs, flour, milk, sugar, cocoa, bicarb and treacle for the choc one.
Even quicker than faffing round with a lemon is to do a standard cake, but replace 100g sugar with 200g marmalade, then do the drizzly icing on top. People make such posh faffy cakes, it's daft.
The only exception to this is a friend who makes Mary Berry recipe cakes - they are superb, but only affordable for a very special occasion.

CultureSucksDownWords Sat 24-Oct-15 00:19:13

Maybe people enjoy making different recipes and trying new things out? For fun.

whatdoIget Sat 24-Oct-15 00:28:45

I don't bake often so if I do, I want to try something different that I'll enjoy making. I'd get no pleasure at all out of making a basic sponge. The icing bit sounds fun though.

GrizzlebertGrumbledink Sat 24-Oct-15 00:39:44

We need this salted caramel brownie recipe please. I'm aware I could google it but I want to be sure it's the right one

minimalist000001 Sat 24-Oct-15 00:45:07

Oh my, I'd kill for a salted caramel brownie. I'm not fussed by a standard kiddie Halloween goodie

minimalist000001 Sat 24-Oct-15 00:55:45

I wouldn't buy a shop bought cake at a school bash because id much rather eat a nice homemade cake

TheExMotherInLaw Sat 24-Oct-15 01:19:39

if I'm making something different as a challenge, I want to eat it, not give it away!

CakeNinja Sat 24-Oct-15 01:34:45

A lot of parents also buy cakes at a bake sale and I for one am far more inclined to spend my dosh on a more exciting cake than a basic cinnamon sponge.
I also always pay more than the standard 50p or whatever as it's always raising money for something for the school.
When I make cakes for school cake sales I'm sure I spend more than what's raised for selling them but that's not the point really.

Senpai Sat 24-Oct-15 02:42:10

I always made rice krispy treats or cookies for bake sales.

That said, I'm really, really not a fan of baking cakes or doing decorative frosting. Cookies, on the other hand I love. I could bake those all day, and practically do during Christmas season because I can justify giving them all away since I never eat them.

DD has some food allergies, so it's always interesting to see how my cakes and cookies come out with substitute ingredients.

Turquoisetamborine Sat 24-Oct-15 04:34:09

Maybe they enjoy doing it? It's not really something to get upset about.
People tend to be really impressed if you can bake but it's really not hard. As you get older you build up a repertoire of go to recipes.
My are banana loaf cake which I add dark chocolate or nuts too. Sometimes Nutella.
Hummingbird Bakery chocolate brownies recipe which sometimes get raspberries added.
Chewy oat choc chip cookies.
My H makes amazing cheesecake which always impresses and chocolate cake.
We are very good at desserts in the UK!
Of all of those I would send the banana cake to a school bake sale as it's the cheapest.

TheDowagerCuntess Sat 24-Oct-15 04:44:14

I can't believe I'm going to say this because I HATE it when people say this, but, um, I think you're over-thinking things slightly!

People have the cake repertoire that they have, and they tend to fall back on what they know for a cake sale.

Besides, I bake a lot and have made all sorts in my time, but cannot for the life of me bake a 'simple' sponge. It's beyond me.

One woman's simple is another women's kitchen nightmare.

Chottie Sat 24-Oct-15 05:18:38

Does it really matter what cakes other people make? surely the point of the cake sale is to raise money and having a wide variety of cakes for sale means there is something for everyone to buy?

TheSkiingGardener Sat 24-Oct-15 05:31:08

How can you do a red velvet cake with a basic sponge mix? Surely it's the reaction between the bicarbonate and the vinegar which makes it red?

I do agree in one way with you OP in that sending a fortune on cakes to be sold for 20p a time is slightly silly. But baking is fun and if that's what people want to bake then why not?

Duckdeamon Sat 24-Oct-15 05:41:36

I dislike cake sales at school or work because:

1. It's almost always women baking or buying for them, WOH or not - classic "wifework".

2. The economics are depressing. I get that some people are more likely to buy stuff than just donate cash to the PTA or whatever, but people baking and buying for sales spend more more (money - and time) than the school gets.

3. Lots of us (adults and DC) are overweight and / or eat too much crap. We don't need social pressure to eat yet more crap "for a good cause".

LovelyFriend Sat 24-Oct-15 05:48:54

Good for you for being so utterly brilliant OP. Other people do have minds and ideas of their own too you know, no matter how flawed you judge their reasoning.

YABU biscuit

LovelyFriend Sat 24-Oct-15 05:50:38

The secret ingredient in any cake "red velvet" I've seen is a shed load of ref food colouring.

Duckdeamon Sat 24-Oct-15 06:17:11

Oh, and OP you are stealth boasting and being judgy: how appropriate your contribution was, with just the right amount of expense and effort, not too much like those other, extravagant or OTT mums.

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