Pah-pah-pah-pah-pa-paah-PATRON!

FCFK - Natalie ColemanSo we’d been thinking for a while about the possibility of inviting a patron to join the ranks of Free Cakes for Kids Hackney. We’d mulled a fair few names over and, as much as we like his black banana loaf cake, someone like Nigel Slater just didn’t seem to fit the bill.

Then, in a fleeting moment of genius, it came to us… Natalie Coleman.

We’d most definitely been on Team Natalie during the 2013 series of MasterChef. We loved her no-nonsense approach and how down-to-earth she seemed via the medium of television. And we also knew that Natalie was from Hackney. Born on the council estate where her much-loved Grandad still lives, she is the self-billed “girl from Hackney that done good.” We knew that she’d get what we were about and we knew that she already gave back to the community via cooking workshops for local kids. On paper she was perfect. So our people we did a little chatting with her people and Natalie only went and said YES! Yes, she’d be our patron, and yes, she’d come and do a demo at our fundraiser. A-mazeballs!

FCFK - cake event - natalieAnd guess what? She’s as no-nonsense and down-to-earth in real life as she comes across on the telly. It was an absolute pleasure to have her at our fundraiser. She came and bought cookbooks, chatted with everyone, did an awesome demo involving as many kids in the audience as possible, and we even had to stop her doing her own washing up. Diva she is not. She’s just an all round nice girl, just as we’d hoped from our patron. And she’s already been distributing our leaflets and telling organisations that work with kids in the borough about what we do in order to generate more referrals for us. Like we said: top girl is ‘our’ Nat!

The good news is that if you’re also Natalie fans then you’re in luck because she’s appearing at quite a few food festivals over the summer so you might just be able to catch her in all her glory sometime soon, plus she’s got her first solo cookbook coming out in the autumn (whoop!). And yes, we’ll definitely be roping her in to do more stuff with us in the future (we’ve got her mobile number; she can’t get away!), so watch this space, won’t you? And do not worry, whilst we are proud as punch to have a patron, and whilst we now produce an annual report with accounts and all that grown up stuff, we are not getting too big for our boots. We’re still just little old FCFK Hackney and getting birthday cakes to kids who would otherwise go without will always be our primary concern. We also do our own washing up!


With a little help from our friends

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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.

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Media darlings

FCFK - Time OutWe are not ones to blow our own trumpet (apart from that time we were in the Guardian, and, then we were all like, “hello, hello, you, yes we know you don’t know us but WE’RE IN THE GUARDIAN!  What do mean you aren’t interested?  It’s the Guardian, the GUARDIAN, we’re IN the GUARDIAN, hello!”).

Buuut, quite frankly, it’s nice when something nice gets written about us.  Who doesn’t like a bit of positive publicity?  Not us.  So we’d like to draw your attention to a few pieces that have hit the media recently…

East London Lines wrote a lovely piece that really captured what we’re about and why we do what we do.

None other than Time Out, and then Metro, tipped our “CAKE EVENT” (a write up on which will follow soon, we promise!) as THE place to be in the whole of the Capital on that particular sunny Sunday in April.

FCFK - metroAnd as if that wasn’t all exciting enough, the Hackney Citizen wrote an awesome article about MasterChef 2013 winner Natalie Coleman becoming our patron (yes, we know, we’ve got some serious catching up to do on this here website!).

Click the links; take a read; and see what you think.

We’re happy to sign our autograph for you now that we’re F A M O U S 😉

 


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!

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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