A mum approached me today asking about the cake stall our school is running for the upcoming election. She wanted to know if it was okay to use a cake mix because she had never actually baked a cake before. While admiring her school spirit for wanting to help, I suggested there might be other ways she could contribute if she wasn’t a confident baker.
Whether you buy it or pop it yourself, popcorn is always a winner with kids. If you choose to make it yourself, now is not the time to be stingy with the flavours and you can go fancy with this honey popcorn.
Separate into small bags (snap-lock sandwich bags, plain paper bags) or pour into fancy stiff-sided cupcake cases just before the stall opens, and display on a cake stand. Or if you’re really enthusiastic, turn them into these cute popcorn butterflies.
Even if you’re not a talented baker, most people are capable of stirring and no-bake slices usually involve nothing more strenuous than melting butter or crushing biscuits.
This choc-cherry slice technically doesn’t require baking, but it has a few more steps than the other recipes, so it is a bit more complicated.
Bliss balls are taking over the world, and why shouldn’t they – they are full of goodness, are often sugar-free, no bake and freeze well. Here are two great recipes for apple pie bliss balls and strawberry cheesecake bliss balls from Kidgredients, and not only would they would look very pretty wrapped in a cellophane bag or even small jars alongside the cakes and muffins on your stall, but they provide an interesting alternative to the usual offerings.
One of my childhood favourites is apricot balls, (which these days would be considered a bliss ball) which you could bag as take-aways, or place a few into a stiff-sided muffin case as a pretty alternative to cupcakes.
Face biscuits (an iced milk arrowroot biscuit with two Smarties as eyes and a jellybean as a mouth) is a guaranteed sale because not only do kids love them, but because they are usually sold at a price much lower than cakes and cupcakes, means that everyone can afford something.
If your cake stall is closer to Christmas, try these Christmas decorated biscuits which are easy to assemble and require no baking talent at all.
Lollies and sweets
Making sweets like marshmallow and rocky road are surprisingly simple, and can be relatively cheap to make if you don’t go too fancy with the extras. Cut into small bite-sized pieces and wrap in cellophane packages for people to take home or give away as gifts, or cut into larger pieces to sell on the stall as an alternative to cake.
Remember that most schools have a nut-free policy even for out-of-school events, so consider nut alternatives in your rocky road such as raspberry lollies, glace cherries or tiny teddies.
There are more muesli bar recipes available online than there are chia seeds on the planet, but for a school cake stall you will need an easy, nut-free recipe such as this one. You do need to melt some butter and toast some oats, but that’s not beyond most people.
I was reminded of this fabulous idea from Little Chicken and it is even more fantastic when you consider that jelly is gluten-free. From the most simple jelly cup with a single flavour in a clear plastic cup, to more elaborate treats where you layer the colours like a rainbow or stash a Freddo Frog in the middle, jelly cups are a brilliant no-bake alternative. They won’t last too long in the heat though, so in summer make a sign advertising them for sale and keep them cool in an esky.
Put your money where your mouth is
If none of these ideas appeal to you, yet you still want to contribute, simply donate the amount of money you would have spent purchasing ingredients, and donate it to the cake stall on the day. Or go and buy (and eat) plenty of cakes. After-all there are many ways we can contribute.
Related article: How to run a successful cake stall
What other ideas for non-bakers have you seen on cake stalls?