WI members in Somerset were asked to contribute cakes and biscuits. The organisers thought they might sell at least 1000 servings of tea and cake each day during the Festival. The ovens in Somerset were switched on and in true WI style, the women got baking and delivered a staggering 5000 cakes. Mindful of the centenary, I decided to set myself a challenge of baking 100 bakes, a variety of cakes and biscuits for the stall. Deciding what to bake proved tricky. As it was the first year, without any previous selling experience at the Festival, no-one knew what would be popular with the customers. I made a range of tried and tested recipes. Sticky Gingerbread, Victoria Sandwiches, Miranda Gore Browne’s Chocolate and Double Chocolate Chip Cookies and Lemon Curd and Almond Bars, Richard Bertinet’s Fruited Tea Loaves and Mary Berry’s Crunchy Lemon Syrup Loaves to name a few,
Centenary Coffee Cake
With only three weeks to complete the bakes, an offer of help from John Holland saved me from taking up a lengthy residence in my kitchen. John arrived one Tuesday complete with ingredients and an infectious enthusiasm for baking and music. John made and decorated coffee cakes which became known as the Centenary Coffee cake, a fitting tribute to the WI Centenary Celebrations.
My bakes were due to be collected on the Thursday of the Festival. I underestimated how much time it would take to package 100 bakes. Suffice to say I was happy to hand over the bakes to a well organised transport team. After all the excitement ( yes it was fun once I stopped thinking every bake had to be to a competition standard!) I felt at a bit of a loose end. I wondered how long it would be before my ovens were switched on once more. Within a few days, I was eyeing up over-ripe bananas in a fruit bowl and making Miranda Gore Browne’s Blustery Banana Loaf from “Bake Me a Cake as Fast as You Can.” I am full of admiration for the organisers of the WI Cake Stall.