Back in October 2015 I was inspired by Martha Collison’s 21 hour bakeathon to raise money for Tearfund and I couldn’t resist the challenge of doing something similar!
If you didn’t know already, Martha was a quarter finalist in the 2014 series of Great British Bake Off. Since competing on GBBO Martha has spent a lot of time working alongside Tearfund to help raise awareness for their “No Child Taken” campaign which helps to keep children safe from trafficking, disease and disaster.
But why 21h? A young boy, Nazeeb was just 14 when traffickers came to his home and deceived him with lies of a better life in the city. He went to work in Punjab, where he was locked in a factory and forced to work for 21 hours a day – in cramped conditions – for no pay. Luckily, Nazeeb escaped and managed to get home, where, with Tearfund’s support, he helps his family raise chickens.
Martha picked 21h so she could try to experience how horrendous working for 21h was for Nazeeb, and many other children in similar situations around the world. So I decided that we could attempt to do the same as Martha, but on a bigger scale…
Being involved already with the youth work at my church I decided that we were all up for a challenge! So at 11am on Saturday 13th February 2016, I kicked off the St Andrew’s Church Big Bake!
The week running up to the Bakeathon was filled with recipe/schedule planning and visiting Costco, Booker and Tesco to stock up on ingredients! Including 15kg butter, 150 eggs, 6kg icing sugar, 10kg chocolate, 1.5 kg cocoa powder, nearly 700 cupcake/muffin cases and 11kg caster sugar!
Our Bakeathon ran from 11am on Saturday 13th February to 8am on Sunday 14th February, and kicked off with me baking 24 chocolate chip muffins while Ed (the church youth worker) ran through the purpose (and food hygiene) of the event with the 10 young people who had turned up to help us!
There was a real push in the first 4 hours to get a large number of cakes made, including muffins, cookie monster cupcakes, cookies, rocky roads, flapjacks and cornflake/crispy cake!
The first push meant that we had A LOT to sell at our first bake sale at 3pm on the Saturday!
Our young people were aged 10 to 17 and many of them started to flag by the afternoon and the rate that cakes were going in to and out of the oven slowed. But many people had the opportunity to practice using piping bags for the first time!
7 hours in to the bakeathon it was dinner time, but someone had to keep baking! So I let the others go and have their yummy lasagne, kindly made for us by one of the ladies in the church!
I decided it was time to attempt Martha’s very own Mini Egg cake! But everything was done on double the scale! So I made 2!
Although I ran out of mini eggs, and didn’t made enough buttercream the end result was brilliant (and the offcuts of cake tasted amazing!) and we sold both of the cakes whole in the sale the next day!
It was then that we found how much fun we were having… Finding cake mix splattered all up the wall!
By 11pm the young people had gone to bed, apart from 2 of the older ones, and it was down to them and 4 adults to keep going through the night!
12 hours in to the baking everyone was beginning to feel tired, and everyone was starting to feel it in their backs and legs!
The washing up tower kept getting higher, and I am so thankful to those young people and adults who spent time (sometimes hours) at the sink washing up and keeping the mixing bowls and other pieces of equipment coming back to us!
Despite all the pain and aches a new energy was found at around 1 am (14 hours in to the baking) when Chris arrived. Chris works as chef and had come straight from work and provided a lot of fun and laughter to those of us still standing! He put some twists on recipes, made his “signature brownies” from his recipe he knows off the top of his head and sped through all the recipes remaining on the list incredibly quickly! Taking less than 2 minutes to pipe and decorate 12 cakes (when this would have taken the rest of us at least 10 mins)!
Chris also helped us make honeycomb so we could make honeycomb cakes at 4am!
We aren’t going to lie and say that every cake turned out totally perfect! We had an exploding lemon drizzle cake and what we named “the leaning tower of Victoria sponge cake”!
Some people were insistent on throwing away the leaning tower of Victoria sponge, but I said otherwise, and the cake sold at the cake sale on the Sunday morning! 😀
I’m pleased to say that up until about 5am the bakeathon was going brilliantly well… Until we realised that we only had 265g of caster sugar left! Woops! We had 3 hours to go and only 2 recipes left that we could make! We had no option then but to turn back to flapjacks, rocky road and cornflake and crispy cakes… Until we got very low on cupcake/muffin cases!
At 7 am with just 1 hour remaining we had a chocolate cake in the oven along with biscuits which we finished and decorated just in time to finish our bakeathon bang on 8am, where a couple of the young people who were around helped celebrate!
Another one of the lovely ladies from the church had come along at 8am and had our breakfast cooking! It was then a quick clean up and tidy before the church service started at 10am!
In the church service we were interviewed by the vicar to share our experience with the rest of the church.
We then quickly set up the cake sale and sold the majority of the cakes that we’d made! 🙂
The bakeathon experience was one that I’ll never forget, and I’m happy that I, along with just a couple of others stayed up to experience the whole 21 hours! (Although it was really 28 hours by the time I’d got back home! 🙂 )
We’re happy that several of the cakes that we didn’t sell were taken to the York Road Project in Woking (who provide emergency care and shelter for the homeless in Woking), where we know that they will have been greatly received.
We’re so thankful for the support that we had from our church who, along with the public who came to our Saturday bake sale helped us raise A LOT of money (we are yet to calculate the exact amount but we’ll let you know as soon as we do)!
I am also thankful that I was given the support and help to organise and run the bakeathon from Ed (the church youth worker), Kate (our vicar), Fiona, Debbie, and Chris. Not forgetting all the others from the church who helped us make, sell and buy the cakes! And those who lent us equipment so the event on such a large scale was possible.
I personally am thankful for my parents, friends, Tearfund and Martha herself who kept following our progress, shared our event and donated money herself on our sponsorship page.
Thank you again to everyone who helped us, supported us and donated money to Tearfund so that they can help put an end to child trafficking.
You can have a look at some of our tweets from the event by looking at #standrewsbigbake on Twitter, and please if you’re able, take a look at our sponsorship page 🙂 https://www.justgiving.com/StAndrewsBig-Bake/