How to bake for a cake sale
Make sure your traybakes, cookies and cakes stand out with our guide for what to bake, transportation tips and expert finishing touches.
Fundraise for a charity or good cause while showing off your baking flair – the ever-popular bake sale is a winner all-round. To make your cake stand out among the tufts of buttercream and colourful sprinkles, we have some suggestions for creating showstoppers with minimal hassle.
We suggest making large bakes (or treats that make or can be cut into multiples) so you can feed plenty of people – cookies, traybakes, flapjacks and loaf cakes all tick the right box. Check our guide for all the essential baking equipment you'll need and get ready to bake up a storm.
Traybake sponges are often easy to mix and simple to slice and transport. Keep decorations simple with sprinkles of flaked almonds, dessicated coconut or chocolate chips to add some subtle style without unnecessary theatrics. Our gorgeously sticky cherry bakewell buns can also be baked all in one tin, then divided afterwards.
Dorset apple traybake
Blackberry & apple mallow traybake
Peach melba squares
Sticky chocolate drop cakes
Bestever chocolate brownies
Coconut carrot slices
Find more tempting traybakes.
Don’t forget about flapjacks – they may not constitute a cake, but they’re always a crowd-pleaser. Once you have a base of butter and oats, try adding dried fruit like cranberries, blueberries or apricots, crunchy seeds such as pumpkin or sunflower, and touches of spice – ginger works well. Get creative with toppings, too – drizzles of chocolate or layers of caramel should do the trick.
Yummy golden syrup flapjacks
Raspberry honey flapjacks
Cherry oat squares with chocolate drizzle
Discover more of our best ever flapjack recipes.
Traditional loaf cakes like madeira, chocolate or banana are simple enough that you can play around with different icings. For something fruity, our blackberry & apple loaf is the perfect candidate for afternoon tea. Those with a savoury preference needn’t be neglected either with our chunky asparagus & olive loaf.
Madeira loaf cake
Lemon drizzle cake
Brilliant banana loaf
Double chocolate loaf cake
Jaffa drizzle loaf
More luscious loaf cake recipes.
Cookies and biscuits
Cookies and biscuits are often easy to make and thrifty, and they stack into neat piles during transit. Some of our favourite cookie recipes include classic chocolate chip, peanut butter and child-friendly jammy heart drops. Try your hand at flood icing, or add writing icing to decorate, if you like.
Vintage chocolate chip cookies
Peanut butter cookies
Custard & white chocolate biscuits
Easy chocolate biscuits
Blueberry pretzel cookies
Jammy heart drops
Fancy iced biscuits
Edible name place biscuits
See our top 5 cookie recipes for kids.
Cupcakes are a bake sale staple, and are usually snapped up pretty fast. The simple sponge mixture for our easy vanilla cupcakes is so quick to stir up, and little hands can get involved with the decorating. Other popular flavours such as chocolate and lemon are sure to please as well.
Lemon & poppyseed cupcakes
Chocolate fudge cupcakes
Carrot & cream cheese cupcakes
Coconut & raspberry cupcakes
Discover more cute and colourful cupcake recipes.
Go for cakes that keep
Avoid cakes and bakes that are best served soon after leaving the oven – Victoria sandwiches and scones taste best when eaten on the same day, so unless you have lots of time, it’s sensible to save them for another occasion. We suggest drizzle cakes, brownies, fruitcake or parkin.
Sticky ginger lemon drizzle cake
Our favourite brownie recipes
Freezable cakes are a bonus
If you’re super-organised, you can make your bake in advance by choosing a recipe that’s freezable. The base of these caramel button cupcakes can be made ahead and stashed in the freezer. All you need to do on the day is defrost the sponges and add a cream cheese frosting. Or, keep it really simple with our freezer-friendly apple crumble loaf and raspberry bakewell slices.
Think about the transportation process before you tie on the apron. Traybake biscuits and cakes can be cooled in the tin, covered then cut on arrival – just make sure you line and butter the tray well. Iced buns are perfect for packing into a tin, and this cherry, choc & coconut traybake is great for cutting into slices and transporting in a container.
It’s worth investing in a good cake box or large food container, too. Be careful not to ruin your creations when piling them into boxes – un-iced cakes can be stacked between sheets of baking parchment, but iced cupcakes will need to be arranged in a single layer or placed in a disposable cupcake box. These are available online and in some craft stores.
Read our review of the best baking trays and cake tins.
Theme your bakes
Consider the event you’re catering for, whether you’re supplying bakes for a school festival or national occasion. We have a selection of Children in Need cakes design by celebrity chefs, including Raymond Blanc, Michel Roux Jr, Gordon Ramsay and Angela Hartnett. Or, go all out with our spotty Pudsey cake – the rainbow sprinkles in the batter add some pizzazz.
Try our series of cupcakes specially designed by celebrity chefs:
BBC Children in Need cupcakes designed by Gary Rhodes, Angela Hartnett, Ainsley Harriott and Anjum Anand.
BBC Children in Need cupcakes decorated by Gordon Ramsay, John Torode, James Martin and Jane Asher.
BBC Children in Need cupcakes designed by Sophie Grigson, Raymond Blanc and Lesley Waters.
BBC Children in Need cupcakes designed by top chefs Michel Roux Jr, Jean-Christophe Novelli and Marcus Wareing.
Think about colour schemes, too. We created a series of bakes with red details for Comic Relief using glace cherries and icing balls to great effect – there’s nothing like an edible red nose!
See our collection of Pudsey-approved Children in Need cake recipes.
Get creative with something a little off-piste. We’ve selected some of our favourite alternative bakes.
Giant jaffa orange cake
Sugar & spice rock cakes
Fudgy fig roll
More top tips:
Keep track of your kit by labelling it with your name – cake sales can get hectic as everyone scrambles to get their bake on the table, so it's a good way to ensure your tins don't go missing. This is where disposable cake boxes come in handy.
Consider those with allergies or dietary preferences, and let people know what they’re eating. Include key information such as ‘contains nuts’, or try baking with alternative flours and ingredients. We have a selection of gluten-free bakes that taste great whether you’re following a special diet or not.
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How to price it
As a general rule of thumb, your donation is the cost of the ingredients, so anything you make on the cake sale goes straight to the good cause. To keep things simple, price a decent slice of cake at £1 and single biscuits and cupcakes at 50p each.
To make or to buy?
If you can’t bake anything, just donate what you would have spent on ingredients – don’t be tempted to buy something and pass it off as homemade. It’s unfair on those who’ve been up all night baking! If you’re really stuck for time, Scott Mills’s crispy chocolate cakes are perfect – they're ready in just 30 mins.
If you use one of our website recipes, print out a stack of copies to give out to your customers, so they can make your bakes at home too.
Bring napkins, paper plates and forks if you’re serving your cakes straight away, or pack a roll of food bags or boxes for takeaway. You could also ask local cafes and coffee shops to donate a stack of napkins or disposable cutlery to help you, and you could consider serving free teas, coffees or cold drinks to go with your bakes.
Get more inspiration for a bake sale...
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Have you had any cake sale successes or disasters? We'd love to hear your stories...
Comments, questions and tips