The Block Island Times

Three cakes for your next bake sale

By Becky and Mike Ballard | Jun 05, 2012

Does your organization need to raise some money? The immediate response is, “Well then, it’s time for a bake sale.” Father Joe Protano at St. Andrew Catholic Church says, “Why don’t we just get everyone to chip in $10 and avoid all the baking?” Smart man, but he’s one of many who enjoys the treats these sales produce. Plus there’s the fundraising, and then there’s just the fun of it all, too.
Recently, Margie Comings and Linda Spak headed up the bake table for the St. Ann’s Tag Sale held on the lawn of the Harbor Church. They picked a spot under a shade tree, spread a cloth over a long table, added some vases of flowers in between all the goodies and had a fine time. They say the items that were most popular were cookies or bars, cakes (especially tea cakes made in 9x5-inch loaf pans), muffins and breads.
Has anyone ever counted the number of bake sales held annually on Block Island? Local bakers just know that they will be called many times in the course of a year. If at all possible, it’s wise to make an extra big batch of something that has proven to be popular, and freeze part of it to be ready for the next call.
Bake sales are one time when we have no qualms about using disposable containers. Presenting foods attractively can make a difference in the selling price. Check for good prices on all shapes and sizes of foil baking pans and plastic things with lids at Ocean State Job Lot. Christmas Tree Shops have attractive platters and baking dishes for only a few dollars.
There are plenty of dessert items that are fine for dinner parties, but the choice of goods for a bake sale narrows down the field. Remember that some sale tables will be sitting in the sun. Chocolate frosting can quickly become unappealing. Think of foods that celebrate the season of the year, can be transported easily and offer a variety. Shoppers look for everything from small baggies of a few cookies to larger items that can be frozen for their next weekend of guests.
So, what will you make? The three cakes accompanying this article are good examples. All are popular choices and offer our favorites of berries, lemon and apples. They can be made in a tube pan (also called an angel food cake pan) or a Bundt pan. Remember the Bundt makes a very attractive cake, but is a little tricky when it’s time to take it out of the pan. Unless you’ve had plenty of experience, using a Teflon-coated pan is a must. All three recipes can be divided into two loaf (9x5x3-inch) pans for smaller cakes.


Blueberry Crumb Cake
4 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
Dash salt
1 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups sugar
1 stick (1⁄2 cup) butter, at room temperature
1 stick (1⁄2 cup) margarine, at room temperature
2 eggs
3 cups blueberries, washed and dried
Crumb topping
1 stick (1⁄2 cup) butter, chilled
1 cup sugar
2⁄3 cup flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
½ cup chopped pecans
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a tube or Bundt pan. Set aside.
For the cake: Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl. Set aside. In another bowl, combine milk with vanilla. Set aside.
In a larger bowl, beat together the sugar with the butter and margarine. Beat in eggs one at a time. Add flour mixture divided by thirds, alternating with liquid. Gently stir in blueberries. Spoon into prepared pan.
For the topping: Mix all ingredients together until crumbly. Sprinkle evenly over top of cake.
Bake cake about 1 hour and 15 minutes until browned on top and done in the middle (when a small skewer inserted in thickest part of cake comes out clean). Take out of oven and let cool 10 minutes. Remove from pan and let cool completely.


Lemon Poppyseed Pound Cake
3 cups flour
¼ cup poppy seeds
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
2 cups sugar
1 cup butter, at room temperature
4 eggs
1 cup buttermilk **
½ teaspoon vanilla
Lemon zest from 2 lemons
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
For the cake: Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour a tube pan or Bundt pan. In a small bowl, combine flour, poppy seeds, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
In a large bowl or electric mixer, blend together sugar and butter. Mix in eggs, one at a time. Add flour mixture in thirds, alternating with buttermilk. Stir in vanilla and lemon zest. Scrape sides of bowl. Beat at medium speed 2 minutes. Spoon into prepared pan. Bake 50 minutes. Take out of oven and let cool in pan 10 minutes. Remove from pan onto wire rack and let cool completely.
For the glaze: Mix together the powdered sugar and lemon juice. Blend until smooth. Drizzle over cooled cake.
** As a substitute for buttermilk, measure 1 tablespoon lemon juice or white vinegar into a 1-cup measuring cup. Fill cup rest of the way with milk. Stir and let sit 5 minutes.


Walnut Apple Cake
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 ½ cups vegetable oil
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
½ cup packed brown sugar
3 eggs
3 ½ cups peeled, diced apples
1 ¼ cups chopped walnuts
1 cup currants or raisins
2 teaspoons vanilla
Powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour a Bundt or tube pan. In a small bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
In a mixing bowl, combine oil and sugars. Beat in eggs, one at a time, beating well after each one. Add flour mixture to batter and stir well. Gently fold in apples, walnuts, raisins and vanilla.
Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 1 ½ hours or until cake is browned and tests done (when small skewer comes out clean when inserted in center of cake). Cool in pan for 10 minutes. Remove to wire rack to cool completely. Dust with powdered sugar.

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