Get prepped for a coffee morning or cake sale with freezable batters, cakes that keep and easily adaptable recipes. This is how to wow the crowd...
If you're hosting a coffee morning or bake sale, we've got you covered with easy prep that you can tackle in small steps starting a week ahead of the big day. We've got simple base recipes for sponges and biscuits that are designed to be adaptable and freezable plus all-in-one and no-cook cakes to sit alongside your chosen showstopper.
Whether your guests are in the mood for biscuits, cupcakes, a classic sponge or a slice of creamy cheesecake, they'll be satisfied customers. Our guide to hosting a coffee morning will help to get you organised, especially if you only have a single oven to work with.
One week to go...
Batters to freeze and bakes to store
You'll only need to carve out a bit of time on three or four evenings leading up to the cake sale or coffee morning to prepare your cake and biscuit batters before freezing. Don't forget to label the containers! In addition, we have bakes that keep wonderfully moist in airtight storage for around three days.
Our basic biscuit dough is perfect for adapting with storecupboard ingredients like chocolate chips or chopped nuts. The dough is easily doubled, too, and you can stick it in the freezer days ahead. It makes around 30 cookies.
Think about whether you'll want to cut out, roll and slice, or scoop your biscuits when it eventually comes to baking them, then pick a flavour (or two) from our ultimate guide to making biscuits.
Ready in just 35 minutes, our vanilla cupcakes are so easy you don't have to spend all evening sweating in the kitchen. You'll spend even less time on these midweek if you put the batter in the freezer, then tackle the coloured frosting on the night before, or day of the event.
Try swirling different flavours into your buttercream like cocoa powder, coffee, peanut butter or a splash of booze for something a little different. If you have more time and feel like pushing the boat out, try these variations:
- Chocolate fudge: Use rich plain chocolate and light brown sugar for an indulgent bake.
- Coconut & raspberry: A fruity variation using a little fruit purée and desiccated coconut.
- Coffee & walnut: Add a little instant coffee and chopped walnuts to your batter.
- Coconut chai traybake: You must include at least one traybake and these pretty spiced slices are inspired by one of our favourite teas. These will keep for three days, sealed.
- Cherry mallow traybake: From start to finish, these take less than an hour to make. They have a pretty Bakewell look about them with a cherry on top, but the icing is made with shop-bought marshmallow. Freeze the batter and make the icing later.
- Chocolate brownies: Always a winner, squidgy brownies are the king of traybakes and our top-rated recipe is foolproof. They're astonishingly low in fat, too (made with a surprise ingredient) and they’ll keep in an airtight container for two weeks – in the freezer for a month.
See more traybake recipes for inspiration.
A few days before the coffee morning, prepare at least one showstopper. Our easy celebration cakes look like professional centrepieces, but the recipes are so simple, you may be tempted to whip up two. Our selection of all-in-one cakes (see below) also have the wow factor.
- Pineapple passion: Your guests will be clamouring for a slice of this beautiful tropical bundt cake with passion fruit drizzle. It takes just 15 minutes to prep and the batter freezes well.
- Blueberry dazzler: This gorgeous cake topped with blueberries and soured cream frosting is one of our most popular showstoppers. Again, it has a freezable batter, but will also keep in the fridge for a couple of days after baking to save you rushing around at the last minute.
- Chocolate heaven: What about an intense chocolate hit? Our ultimate chocolate cake is tempting enough without adornment, but a crown of chocolate shavings will give it pizazz. It keeps moist and gooey for three days, so it's another bake you can make to completion ahead of time.
- Raspberry & amaretti cake: A fantastically easy yet impressive bake that boasts the crunch of amaretti biscuits and sweet bursts of raspberry in the sponge. Pile more berries and amaretti biscuits on top and dust with icing sugar for extra impact.
- PBJ Bakewell: Everyone loves a Bakewell tart, but how about combining it with that classic American combo, peanut butter and jam? It's a moreish transatlantic mash-up. Again, you could make this a couple of days before the coffee morning and store in an airtight container.
One day to go...
No-cook recipes to chill overnight
Try our easy strawberry cheesecake for a guaranteed crowd-pleaser. It's a no-cook recipe, perfect for a no-fuss dessert with a simple but stunning garnish of fresh fruit. Make and set in the fridge the night before your event. You could also try these variations on the recipe:
- Lemon: For a touch of zing, beat the finely grated zest and juice of two lemons with the soft cheese and icing sugar instead of the vanilla seeds. Top with a dollop of lemon curd and leave to chill.
- Raspberry: Replace the strawberries with fresh raspberries and a raspberry sauce made in the same way as the strawberry sauce in step 4 of the recipe.
- Passion fruit & mango: Make a delicious passion fruit sauce by sieving the pulp of four passion fruit and sweetening to taste with a little icing sugar. Top the cheesecake with chopped mango, then pour over the sauce, dotting the top with a few passion fruit seeds.
- Orange: Make this version by adding lemon curd and orange zest to your cream cheese mixture.
Fantastic fridge cakes
These no-bake fridge cakes are filled with chocolate, biscuits and all sorts of delicious things for crunch and flavour. Take a look at our best ever fridge cake guide for inspiration, or try these top picks:
- Lemon meringue: This zingy citrus dessert looks impressive but takes very little effort to produce. It's a straightforward construction job.
- Best ever chocolate fridge cake: Sophisticated and intensely chocolatey, this decadent treat is one to add to your personal recipe book.
Bake an all-in-one cake
Save on time, effort and washing-up on the night before your coffee morning, which is likely to be the busiest of the week when it comes to prep. Make one of our all-in-one cakes.
Who could resist a slice of perfectly baked Victoria sponge? Not us. This all-in-one sponge recipe doesn't involve creaming sugar and butter so it's minimum effort for a beautiful bake. Or try these other delicious sponges using the same base batter...
- Sticky toffee banoffee: Essentially, a banoffee pie in cake form, this ticks all the boxes for serious indulgence. Drizzle toffee sauce over your cake for an elegant finish.
- Pistachio praline & vanilla: This moist, nutty sponge has a cream cheese filling for a great balance of flavours and textures, and it's simple to make.
- Spotty blueberry & clotted cream: Another way to use blueberries, this spotted cake is taken to another level with a layer of fresh clotted cream to complement the fruit.
- Orange & rosemary drizzle: The combination of zesty and herby flavours in this sophisticated cake balance out the sweetness. Perfect with a cup of tea.
- Boozy coffee & walnut: This classic coffee cake has a light mascarpone filling with just a dash of Tia Maria.
- Coconut & lime: Introduce a taste of the tropical to your cake sale with this cheeky number. Add lime juice and a splash of Malibu to the frosting.
- Nutty apple streusel: Slice up some British Cox's apples and sprinkle on a crunchy nut topping for this twist on streusel. If you want to get ahead, the cake base freezes well for three months.
- Fudgy dark chocolate: For those with a real sweet tooth and hardened chocaholics, this rich chocolate sponge has a fudgy frosting that is hard to resist.
On the day...
Add the finishing touches
If you've done all the prep then, on the big day, all you'll have to do is whip together any icing or frosted toppings and apply the garnishes. Check out our video on how to decorate a cake for easy ideas, or watch and learn how to how to pipe icing. If you're going all out with a fondant-covered cake, learn how to get a smooth finish every time with Good Food's 'how to' guide to fondant icing.
Finally, present your cupcakes, slices and biscuits on a tiered cake stand alongside some serving plates, dainty dessert forks and napkins – and make sure your showstopper cake gets pride of place on the table. Then, simply put the kettle on and enjoy with your guests.
Like these baking ideas? Here's more inspiration...
What's your favourite cake sale bake? Let us know in the comments below...