Thursday, 9 September 2010

I'm still (cake) standing.

I liken my first experience of bona-fide cake-selling, to giving birth. At the time it felt like an endless, and very stressful, labour. But with a few days passed since I sold the last slice of apple cake on Saturday afternoon, I reflect on it all with misty affection and quite fancy doing it again!

Of course, the whole thing would have been a lot less arduous if it had been possible to suspend my other parental and day-job duties and just stay home and bake till it was all done. As it was, and with the inevitable intervention of the Rest Of My Life, I found myself icing chocolate cakes and slicing brownies at 3am for several nights on the trot, and was so sleep-deprived that I actually burst into tears during the baton-twirling task in Ultimate Big Brother. And it wasn't all about the baking; I also had to get my head around other perplexing issues, such as how to provide enough napkins, paper plates and forks without actually buying them. (I was virtually chased out of Wholefoods Market by a security guard after wandering back onto the high street with 50 serviettes stuffed into my bra), and how on earth I was going to transport everything in the boot of my car without it all hurling sideways. Oh, the perils of trying to set up a little cottage industry!

But nonetheless it happened, somewhat haphazardly, and it was good fun and also, as I had hoped, an incredibly useful exercise in what works, what doesn't and who buys cakes when they're wandering around a film festival getting sloshed on cheap red wine.

For the record, the Tahini flapjacks, Rye brownies and Honey and orange syrup cake all went quickly, as did the two lots of cookies (the Dark chocolate and sour cherry variety are pictured below). The cupcakes, which I included rather grudgingly, were ignored by the adults at the evening event, but sold out during the kids' screening (though I did discover that one little girl of about three, who returned to the stall several times, was systematically dropping them on the floor and stamping on them! I had to fight the urge to march into the cinema and demand that she sit on the naughty step until an apology had come forth. I think I'll have to seriously de-sensitise if I want to carry on with this selling lark). I also learnt the hard way that toiling over an admittedly lovely, but quite complex Blueberry and creme fraiche cupcake recipe is not a good use of time, as 3-year olds are unlikely to notice the difference.

The Light chocolate cake (pictured) went well, and was a great talking point due to its virtuous ingredients. And the Apple cake with maple icing was a slow-burning, word-of-mouth triumph - people were coming up to me asking for a slice long after I had sold out, having seen other satisfied punters roaming around with enraptured expressions on their faces. As I've said before, I take no credit for this. It's a wonderful recipe which really has the wow factor.

I'm doing it all again next weekend, and have already started to plan what I'm going to include for Round 2. Being a glutton for punishment, I don't intend to repeat anything! After all, where's the fun in that? So I'm going to make some little lemon and poppy-seed tarts that I've never tried before, and having trawled through my scruffy old recipe folder, have decided to revisit one of my absolute perennial favourites - a Cherry and polenta cake. Yum. I'm excited already.

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