Oh hi!

Hello there! Thanks for stopping by to check out our truly delectable website ūüôā

The more observant amongst you may have noticed that this here blog thingy hasn’t been updated in, like, FOREVER. Ah, yeah… ‘life’ kind of got in the way.

imageMmmm, cake.

Sorry, we got distracted.

Where were we? Oh yes… we’ve been a little too busy *cough* eating cake *cough* holding family baking workshops, running children’s cake decorating stalls, fundraising in all manner of exciting ways, hosting socials for our fab-u-lous bakers, being interviewed and photographed, writing annual reports like proper grown ups, judging cake competitions like Mary and Paul, and, above all else, fulfilling the birthday cake requests that come in from brilliant referrers for brilliant children so that they don’t miss out on having cake and being spoilt on the special days in their lives.

In fact, guess what? This is pretty major news so you may want to hold onto your hat if you’re wearing one. We’ve now baked over FIVE HUNDRED cakes for children who would have otherwise gone without. Now that’s a total we can be proud of. Yay!

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So if we’re a little quiet on here, you can be pretty darned certain that it isn’t because we’re quiet in real life. Oh no. And we’re always Facebooking and tweeting what we’re up to so come and say hi over on those other corners of the tinterweb. We love it. Especially if you ‘like’ us!

Right then. Better get on with life…

We’ll leave you with some pictures from a fun little baking workshop we recently ran for a group of Hackney young carers in conjunction with Action for Children as part of Carers’ Week. These kids had it all sussed. They smashed the microwave mug cake recipe (no bananas, thanks, and woah, woah, woah, they weren’t touching a sultana!) and stormed their cake decorating challenge. Actually we’re thinking of retiring and leaving them to run this show.

Laters!

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On why you sometimes see scribbles on our cake pictures

From time to time, when we put cake pictures up in our gallery here, or over on twitter, Facebook and Instagram, you’ll see they have ‘scribbles’ on them. Like this, this and this, for example…

FCFK - bunting iced cakeFCFK - chocolate star cakeFCFK - star cakes for twins

The scribbles aren’t because the baker’s flown into a rage with a tube of writing icing, or because we’ve let the toddler loose with the crayons, it’s because we’ve – rather crudely on a rubbishy picture editor app – edited out a child’s name. Ok, so we won’t get a job airbrushing Kim Kardashian’s thighs for Elle magazine, but at least we’re safe in the knowledge that the children we bake for have their identities protected. Twitter isn’t interested in who that incredible dinosaur cake was baked for; the cakes still get love on Instagram without us sharing the child’s name; and the likes keep coming in on Facebook regardless of the back-story.

We didn’t adopt this policy until about a year ago, but publishing names wasn’t ever something that sat comfortably with us, and after a discussion with one of our bakers – who happens to work in family law – we just knew if was the right decision to make.

People know that we bake birthday cakes for kids who would otherwise go without and that’s enough. And to the child it doesn’t matter where their cake comes from. We don’t need the families to shout about us. We don’t care what parents or carers tell their children. At school drop-offs, classmates could believe that their mate’s mum popped by with a cake. That’s ok. The children might not give a cake’s origins a second thought so long as it’s got their favourite superhero or colour on, or they might start believing that there’s a birthday cake fairy. That’d be nice. The point is, it doesn’t matter.

Life’s tough enough for many people already and the last thing they want is the fact that they’re struggling highlighted for all to see. It’s taken some time for us to build up the level of trust and understanding we have with many of our referring bodies and we don’t want to do anything to jeopardise that. We want families to be able to come to us if they need our service without worrying that others will think badly of them for getting help. That’s what we’re here for.

So we’ll keep on scribbling on cake photos where necessary. And while we’re more than happy to share what makes us and our organisation tick, we’ll honour our commitment to never share anything that would compromise the identity of the children and families we work with. That’s a promise.


With a little help from our friends

FCFK - cake event - buntingFCFK - cake event - ging lettersFCFK - cake event - crowds

A whole month has passed since THE CAKE EVENT – our annual fundraising extravaganza – and still we are unable to wipe the grin off our face. ¬†Hackney, we cannot begin to tell you just how perfect it was. ¬†The sun shone, the crowds came, there was cake (obvs. – we’d have looked pretty silly if there hadn’t been), and beer (mmm), and people bought cookbooks and teatowels and raffle tickets, and played the best tombola in the world (Hackney Wicked WI, we salute you), and there were brilliant demos by brilliant chefs and and and and and … ! ¬†It was like a mini festival; Hackney at its finest; community with a capital C.

And, the real big AND… we raised an awful lot of money: over ¬£2,300 to be precise. ¬†Incredible; just incredible.

FCFK - cake event - pear cakeFCFK - cake event - guess the weight

FCFK - cake event - choc cake

We’ll let you into a little secret: we were nervous, so very nervous. ¬†We thought that nobody would come, or maybe only us and a few mates.

We’d made dozens of gingerbread men (and women, or men in dresses) for children to ice and we envisaged having to take them home with us again, unsold, unloved, but they were gone almost faster than we could get the lids off the tubes of icing. ¬†And the tables groaning with cookbooks groaned less and less by the second. ¬†And slices and slices of cakes sold in double quick time as we struggled to replenish our counter top.

Oh my, it was a whirlwind, but so, so much fun.

FCFK - cake event - WIFCFK - cake event - teatowelsFCFK - cake event - ging icing

We have struggled to write this post because we barely knew where to begin; how to say thank you. ¬†When we think of how the community came together to help us make the event possible – from donating cakes, cookbooks, raffle and tombola prizes to coming along to support us in person on the day – it makes us teary. ¬†At the heart of Free Cakes for Kids Hackney there are just five individuals and we can’t get over what we were able to achieve with a little help from our friends. ¬†We were left buzzing. ¬†Knowing that we have a secure financial future and can expand our service, and potentially put on more community baking workshops, is simply fantastic.

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FCFK - cake event - natalieFCFK - cake event - Elliott

And so we come to the thank yous. ¬†We have tried to include everyone, but, as it seemed like the whole of Hackney (and beyond) was rooting for us at one point or another, we have probably forgotten to thank someone and for that we apologise. ¬†If we’ve missed you, we don’t mean to have. ¬†Thank you from the bottom of our heart to everyone. ¬†If we could, we’d come and give you big sloppy kisses!

Special thank yous go to:

Crate Brewery, in particular James, for lending us the space and putting on a great quiz.

Natalie Coleman, Elliott Lidstone and Hayley Edwards for keeping the crowds entertained with chef demos.

Debora, our lovely Debora, for amassing a cookbook mountain and presiding over a stall to put a bookshop to shame. ¬†Cookbook thanks also go to Divertimenti¬†(and their customers), Richard Ehrlich, India Knight, Jojo Tulloh, Persephone Books, Quadrille Publishing, Grub Street, Cico Books, Ryland Peters, 4th Estate, Bloomsbury Publishing and undoubtedly more …

Divertimenti (again), Victoria Yum Cake, Cakes4Fun (particularly the awesome SuperJess) and Deli Downstairs for professional cakes, plus many more beautiful people who contributed not-so-professional-but-equally-as-yummy cakes.

Hackney Wicked Women WI (especially Grace and her mum, and Lauren, and Cheeka) for putting on the tombola, guess the weight of the cake competition and pin the tail on the Easter bunny, AND for participating so enthusiastically in the beer-inspired cupcake competition (we will now forever think cake when we drink Guinness).  Tombola thanks and sloppy kisses go to A&S Cycles, Joe’s Tea Company, Hoxton Mini Press, Isle of Olive, Fabrications, Newton & Pott, Noble Fine Liquor, Dalston Cola, Fur Feathers and Tails, Little Gems, 90 Mainyard, The Lauriston, Love Jam Kitchen, Cheese Cellar, Aubin Cinema, and Murdock’s (each and every one of you has a community spirit that you should be proud of and we are hugely grateful).

The Empress, Young and Foodish, ¬†“I Can’t Sing” the Musical, Divertimenti (again, again!), Mulberry and Cakes4Fun for raffle prizes. We wish we’d bought more raffle tickets because we had our eyes on each and every one of those prizes. Hello Mulberry purse!

Sophie Linden, Deputy Mayor of Hackney, for believing in what we do and coming along on a Sunday, without having to be invited. And that goes to every single person who joined us on the day because you saw our event posters (thanks if you displayed one) or our listings or endless tweets and came to splash the cash and support us. ¬†You’re all stars. Thank you.

And before we get all Oscars-style emotional ¬†on you and start weepily thanking our mums and hairdressers and telling you who we were dressed by (Matalan, actually, in case you were wondering!) we’ll finish up with a few of our favourite memories from the day: the people who came armed with Tupperware to cart cake off in and the woman who won the scooter in the tombola; we’ve never seen someone so happy, apart from maybe us when we cheers’ed over a pint of Crate’s finest IPA at the end of a day that will go down in history (Free Cakes for Kids Hackney history, but history all the same). Cheers to you, Hackney and here’s to us being one step closer to our dream of a future where no Hackney child has to go without a birthday cake.

FCFK - cake event - laughing team


I had a dream …

An inspirational man once gave an inspirational speech which contained four words – “I have a dream.” That man was American civil rights activist Martin Luther King and that dream was for an end to racism in a free and equal United States.

If you’re going to dream; you may as well dream big.

When E8 Community got in touch with us to say they were helping run a dream drawing event throughout March for kids on the Regent Estate we loved the idea of getting involved. They asked us if our bakers would be interested in providing cakes for the exhibition of the dreams. Thankfully our bakers were.

FCFK - dream exhibitionFCFK - dreams

Now we’re not talking dreams on the scale of Martin Luther King here, but when you’re a child, living on an inner-city estate in Hackney, having a tree house, or a beach, or even a cafe for superheros in your neck of the woods, matter as much as civil rights. Every Friday in March, Workshop 44 hosted dream drawing sessions, and boy, did the kids come up with some beautiful dreams. We even had a go at drawing our own dream – that every child in Hackney has a cake on their birthday.

FCFK - dreams montage

We ask a lot of our bakers and they never disappoint. They really let their creativity shine and we had a Banksy, a rainbow, floral and starry masterpieces, loads of chocolately goodness and two cakes that were made to actually look like artists’ materials. They were totally awesome and to see the children’s faces when the cakes were delivered – not to mention when they were eating them! – was a treat.

Sunny Saturdays playing with friends, surrounded by colour and drawings, on an inner-city estate in Hackney, eating cake which appears as if from nowhere is 100% what dreams are made of.


Cakes, cakes, glorious cakes

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We’ve been busy updating our gallery of cakey amazingness and have added some recent gems like this fantastic Spiderman cake. We are so proud of all the cakes our bakers come up with – there’s everything there from butterflies to cars, princesses to pirate ships, and some classic iced sponges with Smartie decorations too. Every one is a winner.

If you take a look at our cake counter you’ll see that we’re now on a whopping 145 cakes baked for Hackney kids since we started. Which is awesome. But… we don’t have a photo of every cake. So, if you’re a baker and can’t spot one of your cakes then please send us a photo, or if your child enjoyed one of our cakes then we’d love to see a picture of that too. Email us at hello@freecakesforkidshackney.co.uk.

Keeeeeep baking!