Event of the century

FCFK - event posterIf you’ve been on a trip to Outer Mongolia then it may have escaped your notice that we are having a mega fundraiser in less than three weeks time.

If you haven’t been on said trip then you’ll have no excuse for not knowing every in and every out of our event.

Buuut… just in case you have missed our excessive tweeting about it, or haven’t yet joined our Facebook event, or have overlooked the listings going up online and in real life around Hackney in the shape of our pretty pretty poster on the right (designed by our own delicious Dale!) then here are the details you need to know…

First and foremost, the date.

It’s on Sunday 13th April. If you’ve got any other plans for that day then we suggest you change them!
We need you with us from 3pm.
Seriously – it’s the only gig to be seen at in town that day (although a few thousand runners might tell you otherwise!).

And where have you got to be?

Why Crate Brewery of course.
You can take a stroll there along the canal, or if you’re coming from further afield then Hackney Wick overground station is literally (and we actually mean literally) a couple of minutes away. We’ll be in the brewing shed at the back.
Come and find us before we drink all the beer!

Admin over; want to hear what’s going to be going on? Say yes, say yes!

FCFK - CrateWell…
* There’s going to be a bar (it is in a brewery after all), selling Crate’s finest beer plus more.
* But you’ll be relieved to know that you’ll also be able to get a decent cuppa. Why?…
* Because there’s going to be cake, naturally, and lots of it, sold by the slice, either to eat there or take away with you (or both). We haven’t called it THE CAKE EVENT in all caps for nothing!
* And while you sip and munch there are going to be stacks of new, as well as lightly used, cookbooks for you to browse through and buy, if you can’t resist. Cookbook addiction – it’s a thing!
FCFK - cookbooksFCFK - cookbooksFCFK - cookbooks

FCFK - Natalie ColemanWhat else? What else?
* From 4pm we’ve got an awesome chef demo stage, headlined by none other than MasterChef 2013 winner – and, we might add, Free Cakes for Kids Hackney’s patron – Natalie Coleman. Elliott Lidstone from the Empress in Victoria Park is going to be experimenting with stinging nettle and beer cakes, and Hayley Edwards of Borough Market fame is going to be showing us how to decorate cupcakes like pros (we’ve been promised glitter!). Plus we may have a few more tricks – or rather chefs for our star line-up – up our sleeves, but we can’t give all our secrets away in advance.

And as if that wasn’t enough…
*The lovely women over at Wicked Women WI are going to be putting on a tombola (roll up, roll up!), as well as a guess the weight of the cake competition and a pin the tail on the Easter bunny game.
* Oh, and there’ll be a raffle, with rather a lot of amazing prizes, including meals out, oh and a Mulberry purse. Yes, you heard us correctly!
* Plus, if you like beer and cake and have a bit of a creative mind then we’re hoping you’ll enter our *beer-inspired cupcake contest*. Don’t forget, you’ll need to make your cake in advance and bring it on the day to be judged. We’ll have our clipboards and freshly sharpened pencils ready to give marks!
* And we haven’t overlooked the kids – this is a family event after all. They will have the opportunity to ice their own gingerbread men and women, or colour in a cake, which should keep them busy for all of, what?, five minutes, until you have to bribe them with cake so that you can stay for another half!

FCFK - tombolaFCFK - gingerbread manFCFK - tombolaFCFK - gingerbread man

We nearly forgot…!
* There will be limited edition FCFK Hackney merchandise, including our tote bags, aprons and all-new teatowels, to buy too.
* And, finally, from 6pm, it’s pub quiz o’clock. The last time we checked there were only four team entry tickets left so if you want to prolong your festivities with us past 6pm then enlist your mates and sign your team up.

We think that’s it covered! Sound good? Good. We’ll see you at the brewery! And please do bring some money with you. This is a fundraiser for a future where no Hackney child has to go without a birthday cake, which is kind of on the ambitious side, but, thanks to a great number of people’s generosity, all the money we raise on the day will be ploughed back into ensuring FCFK Hackney can keep on baking those birthday cakes. We don’t take your support lightly and we look forward to chinking a pint glass or mug of tea with you on the day. Until then… x

Beer + cupcakes = good

FCFK - beer cupcakes

As you’ll probably be aware from the amount we’ve been banging on about it on Twitter, this year, our annual fundraiser is going to be awesome on Sunday 13th April.

SUNDAY 13TH APRIL – Diarise that date, people! (And yes, we know, it clashes with the London Marathon, but eating cake is waaay better than running. Until it comes to the Hackney Half Marathon, of course!)

We barely even know where to start telling you about all the fun stuff happening on the day, like the fact MasterChef 2013 winner Natalie Coleman is going to be doing a demo and that there’ll be a spectacular pub quiz in the evening, but we will get to it, when we recover from our excitement. We may be some time!

For now though, we wanted to invite you to get your thinking caps on and consider entering our cupcake contest. It isn’t just an ordinary cupcake contest, oh no!, it’s a *beer-inspired cupcake contest*!

Our fundraiser’s taking place at Crate Brewery so, as a homage to our location, we are challenging you to come up with something that looks/tastes/looks&tastes like beer, or anything beer-related. Let your imaginations run wild – think spectacular creations at county show cake judging contests and you’ll be on the right track!

The rules are:
– bring a beer-inspired cupcake of your own making to the fundraiser and register it before 4pm
– it’s £1 to enter; you can enter more than one cupcake but each entry costs £1
– beer-inspired can be anything from taste to decoration so let your imagination run wild
– cakes will be judged by a *star* baker (fingers crossed!)
– any questions, email: communications@freecakesforkidshackney.co.uk

Image courtesy of the Cupcake Confessional, where you may find a sneaky headstart on recipe ideas.

Waitrose Highbury Corner is our new hangout

Pinch, punch, first, err, third of the month. Whatever, it’s March. And that can only mean one thing – we are one of Highbury Corner Waitrose’s Community Matters organisations of the month, don’t you know?!

Waitrose-Charity-Project-Launched-John-LewisWe appreciate that not everybody shops in Waitrose and that Highbury Corner is not in Hackney but there is a saying about gift horses and their mouths which we feel applies here, and, to borrow a completely different supermarket’s catchphrase, every little helps. Through Community Matters we will get a cut of £500 which will mean a more secure future for Free Cakes for Kids Hackney and a heck of a lot more birthday cakes for local children who might otherwise go without.

If you’ve previously had a little green token thrust in your hand with your change at the till in a Waitrose then you might know a bit about how it all works. Basically, we are up against two other organisations/charities. Shoppers deposit their token, which they are given when they check out, in the box on the way out of the store under the name of the one organisation out of the three that they like the sound of most. The more tokens we get, the bigger our share of the £500 fund for March.

So, we’ll cut to the chase and get to the bit where we ask you for a favour: if you live or work near the little Waitrose at 28-32 Highbury Corner, or if you have family or friends who do, or if you just fancy a detour to buy your pint of milk, please consider shopping there and putting your token in our box.

You have the whole of March to give us, give us, give us your tokens, pretty please with a cherry on the top. What are you waiting for? Get shopping!

There is no I in TEAM

FCFK - Run Hackney route mapSo, we’ve undertaken a bit of an undertaking and signed ourselves up to run Hackney … not the whole of it, *just* a half marathon‘s worth of it, with a whole load of other people on Sunday 22nd June. We’re sure you’ll agree that the route looks pretty spectacular (and takes in a few pubs water stations!).

We have got not one, not two, not three, not four, but five, yes FIVE!, trainer-clad people – including Tess and Sophie from our committee – who will be running for us to hopefully raise us some cash, which will ensure that we have a future as an organisation and that we can keep on baking birthday cakes for kids who wouldn’t otherwise receive them. If you can dig into your pocket and move your wallet out the way to grab your smartphone and go online to sponsor us that would be lovely, thank you.

And, if you are a trainer-clad type too and would like to join our running team then please email Laura on events@freecakesforkidshackney.co.uk. We most definitely won’t say no. The more the merrier! Remember: there is no I in TEAM, unless it’s the sound of us moaning, whyiiiiiiiii did we sign up to do this again?! Cheerleaders on the day would be awesome too. Check out the loudhailer icons on the map and maybe consider standing at one of them and chucking muffins our way, or something. We’ll have our mouths open just in case.

We think that’s it for now but do brace yourself for the fact that we will be pestering you for sponsorship at every. single. possible. opportunity between now and the big day. If we could come round to your house with a clipboard and shake an old margarine tub of change at you then we would! Maybe we should promise to run dressed as giant cupcakes if we raise enough money … what do you reckon?!

All words of encouragement and/or top tips gratefully received 🙂

*** UPDATE ***
One of our amazing bakers, the lovely Lucy Lincoln, has joined our team of runners, so now we are six. Six times the reason to sponsor us!

Happy not-so-new year

We’ve been a bit slow off the mark this year but, still, we don’t think it’s too late to wish you a happy 2014. Fourteen days in, hey?! How’s it been so far? For us … not too shabby actually!

On Saturday we had our FCFK Hackney committee “away day,” which didn’t actually take place away and didn’t last a day, but we’re not going to nit-pick! Apart from stuffing our faces with amazing Ottolenghi-inspired hazelnut and white chocolate brownies (what January detox?!), we came up with some great plans for the coming year. We’ve already got a baking workshop taking place this week at Ann Tayler Children’s Centre, but we’ll be putting in some grant applications to hopefully get us the funding to enable us to do more, and we have some very exciting ideas for another cake decorating event and a monster fundraising extravaganza. We will reveal more as soon as we can but let’s just say that a cafe takeover may be on the cards. Eeee!

FCFK - wreath cakeWe cannot not mention how amazing our bakers were in those final crazy few days before Christmas…

While some of us were running around doing last minute shopping, wrapping and last minute last minuting, a few bakers stepped in to make some cakes for a children’s centre’s Christmas party, including this, frankly beautiful, wreath cake, as well as a cake for a child who had her birthday on Christmas Eve. It would have been so easy for that child to have been overlooked but, as you’ll see in our forthcoming Cake of the Month feature, that most certainly did not happen.

The referrals have been a bit thin on the ground so far this year but we have a strong army of bakers with wooden spoons at the ready just waiting to tackle any cake request thrown at us, so if you work with children or families and know of people who could benefit from our service then please do get in touch.  The more cake referrals the merrier, as they say.

We’ll leave you to get on with your second Tuesday of 2014 shortly, but firstly, three quick links:

One: Did you know that if you donate £10 to us through Local Giving then that tenner will be matched so we get £20 instead of just £10?  Pretty awesome, yes?  The pot of money is running out though so you only have until 28th February to double your donations to us if you’d like to.

Two: Remember we mentioned that we now have aprons that you can buy?  Well those aprons were expertly printed by the lovely guys at Print Club London and they’ve gone one step closer to ultimate loveliness and written about us on their website.  (Thanks again guys!)

And three: Can’t get enough of us?  We’ll soon be sending out our quarterly newsletter.  If you aren’t signed up to receive it then why the hell not?!  Sign up now … pleeease!

New year admin: done!  Over and out.  FCFK Hackney xxx

Practically perfect pinnies and totes amaze tote bags

Christmas, it’s a time for giving. If you’re feeling generous and are in the market for a little bit of festive shopping then we have got a humdinger of a present portfolio for you. So fasten your seat belts and let the goods unveil themselves before your eyes.

First up, the pinny, or A-mazing apron of awesomeness:
Made from the real deal black cotton twill, our generously-sized aprons feature our FCFK Hackney logo in hot pink in the bottom right corner (not too in-your-face but you’d still stand out in a crowd of Mary Berry wannabes). And if that wasn’t enough, the polka dot pocket, neck band and waist tie are sure to have you swooning. These ain’t no mass-produced pinnies, we’ll have you know. Each one was made lovingly by hand (by a member of our FCFK Hackney committee no less) and with a batch of just 20 in existence, they truly are limited edition. If you’re serious about keeping the icing sugar off your clothes, but always need to be a cut above the rest, then this is the apron for you.
A snip at just £15.

FCFK - apron

Thank you to baker Shelly for modeling our apron and for being an all-round good sport!

Bringing up the rear, but no less great, the t-t-t-totally top tote bag:
What can we say? Totes are everywhere. Every man and his dog has their logo on a tote and they’re all vying for space on your arm, but ours are different. Well, not so different really – they’re the same standard cream fabric tote, universal in their usefulness, but ours are emblazoned with our FCFK Hackney logo, again in hot pink, and that is most definitely different. Different enough to have Strictly’s Richard Arnold getting his mitts on one, anyway! If you want to turn heads when out buying your groceries* then you know what to do: buy, buy, buy! (*Our totes are in no way limited to carrying groceries. They have been known to be used for swimming kits and even a knitting bag. What do you use yours for?)
A bargainous bargain at a measly £5.

FCFK - bags

Email us at hello@freecakesforkidshackney.co.uk if you would like to purchase either an apron or tote bag.

All profits made from both products go back into extending the work we do at the heart of Free Cakes for Kids Hackney.

Go getcha Guardian

Read all about it! Read all about it!

We’ve only gone and got ourselves a double page spread in today’s Guardian! What are you doing still reading this? Why aren’t you rushing out to the shops to get your copy?


Impressed?! We are!

Naturally we are thrilled and delighted that Eve at the Guardian liked what we do enough to feature us (thank you, Eve) . And it was all the more special that the Guardian’s photographer, Michael, could join us for our first ever community baking workshop with kids (hi Michael! … have you recovered yet?!). And, of course, that the parents and staff at Morningside Children’s Centre were so accommodating.

We are funded completely by money we raise or that gets donated to us and run completely by volunteers, so budgets for publicity don’t exactly exist. It is therefore amazing that we’re able to spread the word about our organisation a little further than you, me and the next street post.

We are already lucky enough to have a fantastic brigade of bakers who respond to emails calling for cakes to be made faster than the speed of light, but it is important to us that more people who might need our service, or people working with those families, hear about us so that we can grow the work we do. And, even though it may not be the done thing to discuss money, donations are always, ALWAYS appreciated. If you go to our Local Giving site and give a tenner, not only do you make us very happy, but your money gets doubled, which is pretty cool. And the more money we get, the longer we can go on making sure that kids in Hackney who might not otherwise get them DO get cakes on their birthdays.

If you are only just hearing about us and have your heart set on becoming a baker then we don’t mind you joining our waiting list if you’re happy to, err, wait. Please be patient with us though. We have already been inundated with contacts since the Guardian went to press – and the twittersphere has gone a little crazy too. We will try to respond to everyone, but we are just five ordinary people with jobs and families and Christmas trees to put up, so we may not be as quick off the mark as you’d hope, but our cogs are definitely turning.

If you’re not a Hackney resident but are interested in what we do and would like to be involved, then why not check out the Free Cakes for Kids national site and see if there’s a group near you. If there isn’t, maybe you could set one up?

Right, we’re off to read the rest of our copy of the Guardian. We see that “grumpy” Ruby from Great British Bake Off is featured and we’re dying to know what she’s up to now!

Thanks for stopping by and being interested in little old us. We promise we’re not going to turn all diva-ish now we’re famous!

What goes around comes around

If we sat down to write a post about all the other worthwhile organisations in Hackney that deserve a mention then we’d be here all day, or several days more likely. So we won’t do that. Not now at least.

We did want to highlight one local initiative though. Why? Well because it needs a little help right now, and because it’s awesome, and it serves cake to boot! We’re talking about NANA. Do you know it? If you don’t, you should!


NANA is a comfort food cafe run by some amazing older women in the Hackney community. They serve soup, fishfinger sandwiches, bottomless pots of tea and cake of course, all at reasonable prices. What makes it awesome is that the “nanas” come and pass the time of day with you, share their pearls of wisdom, and even give your baby a cuddle while you have a sip of your tea when it’s still warm (luxury, we tell you, luxury!).

Anyway, NANA needs a new home. They were temporarily in the Elderfield pub but they’ve now found a permanent home in a disused public toilet (have faith!) off Chatsworth Road in Clapton and just need a small injection of cash to make it happen. Which is where you might come in…

If you have a couple of quid you might like to put their way in return for a cup of tea in their new premises then we’re sure they’d be delighted to receive it. The last time we checked they still needed to raise over £6,000 and there’s just nine days and counting to do it in. Please take a look.

We heart Bishop Stopford’s School

How’s this for spreading the love…?  A little while ago we were contacted by a teacher at Bishop Stopford’s School in Enfield.  The Year 10 BTEC Business class there had heard about FCFK Hackney and wanted us to be their summer 2013 charity.

Without further ado the students set about organising and running a bake sale – including a particularly tricky jam doughnut challenge where you had to eat a doughnut without licking your lips.

The doughnut action was all worth it as they raised a fantastic £94.92 for us.  Thank you so much Bishop Stopford’s for spreading the cake love.  We can assure you that we’ll use your money to do the same.  Good cake karma is coming your way!

Our wish has been granted


As FCFK Hackney goes from strength to strength, our ability to have a wider impact on our local area is being recognised – recently most notably by Hackney Council who have awarded us a grant for a whopping £1,000. The money has to be used specifically to deliver an event for our volunteers and two cooking workshops. These are still very much in the planning stages at the moment, but we are hoping to host an interactive volunteer event in October and the workshops after that.

Our committee is meeting today (a Sunday – just call us dedicated!) and the organisation of these events will be high on the agenda but we always welcome feedback and ideas of how best to use our skills, time, money and baking power so please do get in touch if you feel there’s something we could be doing that we’re not. We’ve already had some great feedback from our bakers so expect some exciting projects to come out of FCFK Hackney HQ in the not-too-distant future