We can hardy believe it’s that time of year again when we have the perfect excuse to eat lots of yummy cakes! It also means it was a year ago I disguised myself as a piggy for our photo above which snuffled its way into our local Dorset newspapers!
Actually, I never need an excuse to bake as I’m a chocoholic and a cake fiend, but October is officially Bake With Compassion month, which means I’ll be baking not to eat all the goodies myself, but to sell them at events to raise funds for my favourite charity…
Bake With Compassion is Compassion in World Farming‘s annual charity fundraiser to bake with free range, high welfare or vegan ingredients.
Everyone loves a cake and taking cakes into work or school, or to sell at local events, baked with free-range, high welfare, or even vegan ingredients, is great fun, a great talking point, and an easy way to raise lots of money for charity if you simply ask for donations.
On Saturday 18th October our lovely volunteers will then be out in Dorchester town centre for our popular annual vegan cake sale which raised an amazing £230.40 for Compassion in World Farming last year.
Here are our 5 most popular vegan cakes and a few tips in case you fancy having a go at getting involved yourself this year…
Our Top 5 Most Popular Vegan-Friendly Cakes
1. Iced Fairy Cakes
The humble and extremely easy and cheap to make iced fairy cake is always very popular especially with kids and is one of my favourites, and they are easy for people to pick up in town and walk away with (i.e., perfect ‘finger food’ as they are in wrappers).
You can ice in all sorts of different ways for example using piped Butter Icing like some of the above are, but I usually use simply white Glace Icing and put a cherry on top which people (like me) can just pick off if they don’t like cherries (I won’t tell you what my partner Stu’s Granny calls these cherry topped cakes as you may be shocked, although I am sure you can guess if you look at the photo!!!).
Some of you more creative bakers can probably come up with something much more inventive, but people do seem to like the simple homemade look : ) Having said that, you MUST check out what the Shortcake Sisters created for their Bake With Compassion last year (pictured below) if you want some real inspiration – the sheep cake pops are pure genius, as are the pigs in mud cakes!
For our Iced Fairy Cakes, I actually just adapt this Chocolate Cake recipe from VegWeb called ‘Easy Vegan Chocolate Cake’ and leave the cocoa power out to make fairy sponge cakes.
Top Tip: The VegWeb recipe is American so uses cups which I don’t have the proper measurements for, so I just use a normal tea mug and it works perfectly.
I then add cocoa to create another favourite which is…
2. Chocolate Muffins
…Again I just use a Chocolate Cake recipe and the non iced ones are as popular as the iced ones as many people don’t like icing and again they are perfect finger food. I sometimes add dark chocolate chips or chunks too to make them Double Chocolate Chip, yummy : )
Top Tip: Use half of your cake mix without cocoa to create normal fairy cakes, then add cocoa and choc chips to the other half to make choc muffins. Or spilt out further to add different colourings, create a marbled effect, add other things like chopped cherries or blueberries, or turn some into butterfly cakes. If you are more creative you can play around with Piped or Sheet Icing to make farm animal faces (I’ve not been that adventurous yet, although we do make Gingerbread Animals using farm animal shape cookies cutters, which look very sweet). I also double up on whatever fairy cake or cookies recipe I use to make enough for a cake sale!
3. Giant Chocolate Chip Cookies
I think these are my most favourite but I use slightly less sugar than you are supposed to as find them very sweet, even for me, and I use brown Demerara sugar too as healthier and comes out much nicer. I also roughly chop big chunks of dark chocolate as helps make it look more homemade and rustic which is part of these cookies charm.
Top Tip: For vegan-friendly chocolate I recommend Sainsbury’s standard dark cooking chocolate which is about 50% cocoa. Kids never seem to notice the difference between dark and milk chocolate in our recipes which is great.
Our cookies always sell out really quickly though especially as kids love them, so there is never enough left for me which means I just have to bake myself a batch as well!!!
4. Coffee & Walnut Cake (pictured above, next to the also rather delicious Raspberry & Blueberry Muffins)
I’m not a fan of coffee at all so must admit I have never tried our co-founder Sandra’s recipe yet BUT this always sells out straight away too, one year it literally sold out in about half an hour as passers by said they could smell it all the way down the other end of Dorchester high street!
Top Tip: Sliced and iced cake is a little bit messier than fairy cakes or biscuits but we have paper bags on hand and can let people serve themselves with a napkin (health and safety is of course VERY important even if you are doing a homemade bake sale for charity so make sure you have plenty of hand wipes for volunteers to keep their hands clean too). Vegan or dairy-free cakes are also perfect for serving at charity cake sales because its meat, dairy and chilled products that cause the most public health risk so we don’t have to worry about that (and that’s why we don’t serve Sandra’s amazing raw vegan cheesecake, maybe I will share that recipe with you another time).
Our co-founder and chief baker, Dietitian Sandra Hood, also has a Food Hygiene Certificate for whenever we run Cookery Workshops.
5. Chocolate Fudge Cake
Sandra’s vegan chocolate cake is notorious amongst Compassionate Dorset members who are very disappointed if we don’t have it at any group get-togethers! It’s no ordinary chocolate sponge cake like I make, its much healthier and even has ground almonds in it. This cake is actually what brought Sandra and I together to form Compassionate Dorset as a local supporter group for Compassion in World Farming…
We are members of the Dorchester Local Exchange Trading System and ‘LETS Schemes‘ are basically an ingenious bartering system, and Sandra’s vegan cakes were the first thing I ‘bought’ when I joined! From there we got talking and the rest is history as they say!
Chocolate cake is perfect served with vanilla ice-cream although it’s just as popular without at our cake sales.
Top Tip: If you are going to do a charity cake sale in public such as a town centre, you need to obtain a Street Collection Permit from your local authority if you are collecting money from sales or donations. It’s super easy to apply though, just google for ‘Street Collection in [your town]’.
Get baking to help our farm animals!
Please let us or Compassion in World Farming know if you would like to take part in Bake With Compassion Month this October, it really is the most fun and easiest way to raise lots of vital funds for Compassion.
Farm animals need our help, whether you are a meateater, Meat Free Monday supporter, pescetarian, vegetarian or vegan like myself. Millions, actually billions, of farm animals will be suffering in intensive factory farms worldwide over the next year and the next most realistic step forward for compassion, at least in our lifetime, is to end factory farming – and ending factory farming is an aim that nearly everyone agrees with.
Here are some other ideas of how you can get involved in Bake With Compassion:-
- Garden Party
- Coffee morning
- Creative cupcake decorating
- Try something new with vegetable cakes
With the Kids
- Make and sell some Halloween treats or Cake Pops
- Cake sale
- Office cake quiz
- Bake off
- If you are a cafe or food business, you can put on a special vegan dish for the month or use only free-range ingredients (it could even put you on the way to winning a Good Farm Animal Welfare Award!) or maybe you can simply distribute Bake With Compassion flyers, put up a poster, or have a Compassion charity collection tin?
We’d love to know what your Bake With Compassion plans are or if you would like to volunteer for Compassionate Dorset, and especially if you are a food business who would like to get involved at any time.
For more information and recipes visit: www.ciwf.org.uk/get-involved/get-fundraising/bake-with-compassion
Know Your Food Labels
Make sure you also check out Compassion in World Farming’s Know Your Labels Guide to help you know how to choose free range and high welfare ingredients if you are going to bake with any animal products.
But please remember, you don’t have to be vegan to enjoy vegan food! Plus today, 1st October also happens to be World Vegetarian Day! Apparently 1 in 8 UK adults are vegetarian, due mostly to health and environmental reasons. Leading environmental charities are making it clear that everyone needs to seriously reduce their meat and dairy consumption if we want to end factory farming, fight climate change and help end world hunger. We’re glad you reassure you that this in no ways means you cannot still enjoy yummy food, every day!
Have fun baking : )