It’s Fete Season and that can only mean one thing. Cooking for the Cake & Sweet Stall or, if you have a really posh school, cooking for the Cake Stall AND the Sweet Stall.
I recall many aspects of my own school fetes, a particular stand out being the White Elephant Stall. Who would give that stuff away? Were they crazy? I was only too happy to pay to 10 or 20c for those glass dishes and bring them home to someone who really appreciated them. I also recall the ‘best fete ever’ when my mum made a last minute batch of butterscotch and asked me to take it up to the church fete. I attempted to donate the ice cream container full of butterscotch to the stall but for some strange reason, they were unwilling to accept it. It seems odd, even now, that they would refuse a donation of home made goods. As a result, I was forced to wander the fete lugging around a container of butterscotch. I specifically remember riding the chair-o-plane with the container tucked under one arm and a huge chunk of butterscotch in my other hand, crunching away as I circled the play ground. Good times.
Do Yourself A Favour
Despite the fact that you may be a competent cook who can turn out a meal for your loved ones every night and still find time to bake the occasional cake at weekends, the thought of cooking for the school fete may give you a crisis of confidence. Why? Is it because we have so many fond memories of fetes from when we were children and want to recreate that magic? Maybe it’s because in this Instagram Pinterest world, every recipe appears to be perfect. Emphasis on appears. We all know that those pictures have been primped and styled and filtered to the max but it doesn’t stop up having performance anxiety. Today I saw a very funny ad for the movie ‘Bad Moms’. After being advised of all the ingredients that could not be included in cake stall items, a member of the PTA questioned whether the doughnuts brought along by one Mum were ‘store bought’. Quelle horreur!
So why not make something that’s a bit of a Plain Jane and take the pressure off? Rock Cakes. Is a rock cake a biscuit or a cake? It’s a little bit of both but leans towards biscuit territory. I was never sure exactly why they were called Rock Cakes but now realise the baked biscuit is jagged and looks like a rock. They are incredibly quick and simple and look cute packaged up in some cellophane. These are not the show pony of the cake stall but they are the one that parents like buying as they remind them of their own childhood. The original recipe is from that high school stalwart, The Commonsense Cookery Book. This is a very economical recipe, making approximately 24 smallish biscuits. Make up eight packages with three biscuits in each and you will look like you have been baking all night. If it’s good enough for the Australian education system, it’s good enough for a school fete.
Do you have a school fete story from your childhood or more recently? And, what’s your favourite cake stall item?
Old Fashioned Rock Cakes
- 2 x cups self-raising flour (I used a mix of white and wholemeal)
- 50g butter
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 tsp ground ginger
- 2 tbsp currants, sultanas or mixed fruit
- 1 egg
- 3 tbsp milk
- Sift flour into mixing bowl and rub butter through (texture should be similar to sand)
- Add sugar, ground ginger and dried fruit. Stir so fruit is dusted in mixture. I used a combination of currants and chopped glace ginger but you are probably best to omit the ginger if you are selling these at a fete – it’s a bit of an adult taste.
- Whisk egg in a bowl and add the milk. Whisk again.
- Pour egg and milk into flour mixture and combine with a wooden spoon to form a rough dough. If the dough doesn’t come together, use you hand to pull together.
- Roughly tear off pieces of the dough and place then on a lined baking tray. I wanted mine to cook evenly so weighed each at approx 25g.
- Bake the rock cakes in a 200c oven for 12 minutes. Watch for the last minute, so they don’t over brown.
- Remove from oven and cool on cake cooler
Makes approx 24 biscuits