I have three primary-school-aged children and that means a huge amount of my time is spent making stuff for school. So far this year, i’ve made a woodland fairy costume from scratch, modified a yellow onesie and old house t-shirt into a Winnie the Pooh costume (fondly known as the Pooh suit), a cardboard box car, a pirate costume, chocolate easter nests for a flower show competition, numerous cupcakes, cake pops and biscuits for cake sales and that’s long before the sponsorship, trips, concerts, plays, charity events and social functions. Basically, parents of primary school aged children are not supposed to work, or have social lives, or do anything that doesn’t involve the school in somewhat shape or form… I have to admit that whilst I feel It’s incredibly important to be involved, to be present at events, to show an interest in your children’s education and your local community, it’s just so flipping hard to fit it all in!
So, the cake sake, the bake sale, the ‘please don’t let mine be the last ones left that the committee have to hand out to the stoic few left clearing up at the end’ sale…inevitably falls on that week that you have flu/gastroenteritis/jury service/the biggest career opportunity in 10 years. So there seems a choice – either use precious time (3am?) trying to make something from scratch, or doing a ‘I Don’t Know How She Does It’ (you must have read the book?) style supermarket-made-to-look-homemade offering. Incidently, that did once happen at a nursery cake sale. I bought cakes which, when I ate them, I discovered had been shop bought, and had Betty Crocker icing piped over the existing fondant icing. Now, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with shop bought at a cake sale, I just felt really sorry for the person who felt the pressure to create something home-made when not everyone has the skill, time or inclination to bake.
So it got me thinking, what are easy things to make that also look nice? Well this week, I had four commissions including a three tier wedding cake so time was an extremely valuable commodity. It was, of course, my week on the cake stall and as I was worrying about what to make, I inadvertently managed to bake an 8″ rather than a 9″ carrot cake for the wedding which made an interesting conundrum…eat it or use it! Whole cakes are hard to sell at cake sales in order to raise a reasonable amount of money but having rooted around in the cupboard I found some rather useful loaf tin liners which gave me an idea (this would also work really well for a shop bought cake because I appreciate most people don’t have accidental cake lying around!).
SImply slice the cake into 12, cut the liners in half and arrange in a circle – ta daa! easy to eat, easy to package in a little paper bag, unlike cupcakes which squidge everywhere, and easy to sell for a slightly higher price which, after all, is what it’s all about!