Blooming Great Tea Party for Marie Curie

Last weekend, my friend (who writes this gift ideas blog) and I organised a Blooming Great Tea party as part of the Marie Curie fund raising initiative. The idea is you bake lots of nice cakes and eat them with cups of tea whilst giving a donation! We had perfect weather and our guests enjoyed summer berry muffins, strawberry and buttermilk scones with clotted cream and jam, plus lemon drizzle cake. The berry muffins were amazing, I must try the recipe out for myself sometime. This was all washed down with tea, coffee, iced tea or Pimms! We raised over £100 for Marie Curie and had a lot of fun in the process! I’d recommend getting involved and holding your own tea party.

This is the lemon drizzle cake recipe which I used from Easy Living’s website. It is totally idiot proof, quick to make and is my trusty fall-back recipe if I’m short of time/need to bake a cake with minimal effort. I would definitely recommend this recipe and there’s no need to tweak anything either. Good luck!

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The cake swapping party

Cupcake Break tea partyLast week I was invited by my friend to a cake swapping party to raise money for charity. What a great idea I thought! The party was all part of the Cupcake Break which is an initiative cooked up by the Ovarian Cancer Action charity.  The idea is that we all love cupcakes and cake, so why not raise money whilst we eat cake! It struck me that this cake swapping party was the modern twist on the coffee morning. When I arrived, I was met with a mind boggling display of beautiful cakes and I quickly stuffed in my £5 to the charity pot. My contribution to the table was a batch of Hummingbird Bakery lemon cupcakes (I had tweaked the recipe – more on this later). In return, I sampled at least five different cakes including two firsts: my first ever whoopie pie and my first ever macaroon – yum! I also tucked into chocolate millionaire’s shortbread, some homemade fudge and a delicious chocolate brownie (Nigella). I hasten to add that the cake party was instead of lunch! We all had a fantastic afternoon munching on cakes, exchanging recipe ideas and general gossiping whilst stuffing in more cake.It was a great afternoon and I would encourage more people to host their own cake swapping party and help Ovarian Cancer Action with their great fundraising initiative. Sign up here to get involved!

Cakes for Haiti

Friday 26th March was a national cake sale fund raising day, known as Cakes for Haiti, set up by Janet Mohapi-Banks to raise money to help the disaster relief initiative for the people of Haiti.  Janet asked if I could organise a cake sale at my work and along with some very talented bakers (9 in total!) we cooked up a feast for our colleagues to raise money for Cakes for Haiti (you can make a donation here)and two additional charities.  I think the most cakes anyone ate in one day was 7 and I managed 6 although luckily I went to the gym afterwards to burn off my sugar high!

A big thank you to all the bakers  for their cake delights – we had some really impressive cakes on sale including mini banoffee pies (combo of these two recipes but mainly this one), Hummingbird bakery red velvet cupcakes (you can buy the recipe book here), strawberry and buttermilk scones with clotted cream and strawberry jam, rice crispie squares, chocolastic cookies, chocolate and pistachio slices, Nigella carrot cake cupcakes (made by me and I’ll be reviewing the recipe soon), plus chocolate cornflake crispie cakes with Lindt and mini eggs and last but not least Nigella chocolate coca cola cake!

In the afternoon, we received some surprise savoury and sweet snacks from a colleague’s wife called gateaux piment (literally chilli cake) which is a Mauritian savoury snack with chick peas and chilli. And finally Ladoo – Indian sweet balls with raisins and coconut. These were incredibly popular as an afternoon snack. What a fantastic and varied selection!

Everyone had so much fun talking over which cake they would eat next and swapping notes on each cake.  It was really interesting to see which cakes were popular. Sometimes I really do think simple is the best way forward. Dark chocolate crispie cakes with Lindt and mini eggsThe old favourites like chocolate cornflake crispie cakes went down really well – the trick is to use very good quality dark chocolate with a high percentage of cocoa solids.  The prize for being the most conscientious and talented baker has to go to my colleague and co-organiser of the cake sale – Victoria Marnoch – who not only made the mini banoffee pies and choc and pistachio slices but also made a full blown banoffee pie comissioned by one of our colleagues for a dinner party! She must have been baking for hours! The red velvet cupcakes (a signature recipe of the Hummingbird Bakery) were another favourite and some colleagues who insisted they didn’t eat cake succumbed when they clapped eyes upon the mini banoffee pies. I thought they worked really well because they were small so you could easily eat one without being too over faced after a main course.

Nigella carrot cake cupcakes with cream cheese icingWe haven’t counted all the money just yet, but an estimate is over £120. This will be split between Cakes for Haiti and two other charities – Well Child and Twenty First Century Legacy Youth for my colleagues who are running the London Marathon this year.

Thanks to everyone for their baking, cake consuming and donations! Cake for humanity is a wonderful thing.  Let’s hope our money will contribute positively towards re-building Haiti.

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