• (Flour Power / Raise The Roof Productions)
Looking for ideas for a fundraising cake stall? Watch Flour Power and you might just find your golden ticket.
10 Apr 2022 - 5:38 AM  UPDATED 12 Apr 2022 - 1:22 AM

--- See Flour Power Sundays at 6pm from 10 April to 12 June on SBS Food. Episodes will also be at SBS On Demand for 30 days after they air ---


The charity bake sale is not just a chance to raise some ‘dough’ for a good cause: it can also be a chance to discover new recipes – or in the case of the new TV series Flour Power, to engage in some friendly workplace rivalry! It’s baklava versus brownies and cake against pie in this Scottish series, which sees four keen home bakers in 10 workplaces, from a language school to law practice, bring their best to the table (literally – each episode sees a table full of treats as the workplace cooks all do their bit).

Each week, series host Nichola Reith (a keen cake baker who co-owns a café and a postal ‘bake box’ business with her two sisters) is joined by a local judge to taste and debate the four competitors' entries, and pick the workplace winner.

If you’re inspired to turn on the oven and bake for your own charity bake sale, here are some of our favourite portable bakes, inspired by the Flour Power bakers.

Beef pie takes on a classic cake

Episode one of Flour Power sees four staff at a veterinary practice. Veterinary nurse Anna is the favourite to win, and has opted for a classic sponge. And not just a sponge cake:  Anna loves decorating cakes. “It takes me completely out of myself… I’m just in the decorating zone and really focused on what I’m doing. So it’s almost like therapy for me.” Her entry is an owl cake, complete with a cute hand-made bird on top. You’ll have to watch to see if it wins, but it’s a surety that a sponge is a bake stall winner, and we have three great options to suggest to you: a Victoria sponge, ‘My nan’s sponge cake’ from Donna Hay; or a glorious passionfruit sponge from baking expert Anneka Manning.

Passionfruit sponge

And if you’re looking to nail a light, golden sponge Manning and award-winning cake maker Nelleke Gorton share a long list of tips and advice here.

Among Anna’s competitors is veterinary surgeon Mark, who chooses to make Scotch pies with homemade pastry, filled with slow-cooked beef brisket, blue cheese and black pudding. Blue cheese and black pudding can be divisive, but Mark is right about pies being a good bake sale option. This Scotch lamb pie made with hot water pastry is best made a day in advance (great for those who need to bake ahead) and served cold. For a global twist, try Melissa Leong’s beef rendang meat pies. These can be made with purchases of shortcrust pastry, and the rendang filling is also better made a day ahead, so it’s another good one for those fitting baking into busy lives.


Is chocolate cake always a winner? 

In the city of Perth, four colleagues at a hairdressing salon take on the Flour Power challenge (yes, the phrase ‘cut above’ is used!).  Salon director Glen is a rookie at baking, and decides a classic chocolate cake is the way to go. This causes a dilemma – not for Flour Power, but for us here at SBS Food, because we have SO MANY CHOCOLATE CAKES. How can we choose just one to suggest? We can’t. Good thing we’ve got a choc cake recipe collection right here so you can browse everything from Donna Hay’s magic no-flour chocolate fudge cake to ‘the cake that cures everything’ by Ruth Reichl, which is rich, fabulously frosted and enormous (it serves 20-25 people).  

Donna Hay gluten-free chocolate fudge cake

Also heading to the judging table is creative director Fiona’s basket of ciabatta (for an easy option, try Silvia Colloca’s no-knead version), salon director Glen’s lemon drizzle cake and colourist Rachel’s banana and toffee muffins. Muffins are another cake stall winner – easy to make, and easy to transport. If you like the caramel+banana idea, try these salted caramel banana muffins, or for another eye-catching idea, these fluffy banana muffins are topped with a crunchy streusel layer. If you’re after a vegan banana muffin recipe, try this one.


We’re here for ‘Midnight snacklet cookies’

In Glasgow, there’s potential for drama when Flower Power comes to the Tron Theatre. Lindsay is tipped as the favourite, and she’s making a raspberry, coconut and lemon layer cake, while the self-confess ‘king of winging it’ Khaliq has decided to have some fun with a first-aid themed cake. Lucy makes vegetarian pies, while Olivia is counting on cookies to win the day.

We’re not giving away who wins, but Olivia gets our vote for best name of the round with her ‘midnight snacklet cookies’! It turns out these are chocolate and peanut butter cookies and it is indeed a powerful combination that’s sure to do well on any bake sale table. Give it a go with Leanne Kitchen’s chocolate peanut butter cookies, which up the ante with big chunks of chocolate in the cookies, and peanut butter in the dough and in the glaze that gets drizzled over after baking. Or for vegan version, these double-choc peanut butter cookies.


A legal battle over cake and caramel

When the action moves to a law firm, the battle for custody of the Flour Power trophy sees some amazing cakes presented. There are some experienced bakers on the staff, including solicitors Rachael, a champion of previous bake-offs at the company, and Dara, who likes getting creative with her baking. Rachel opts for a red velvet cake and Dara dazzles with an impressively decorated cappuccino cake, but they have competition from fellow solicitor Emma, who makes a unicorn sponge cake with five differently coloured layers, and document manager Johnny, who admits he's a baking rookie. He’s opted for ‘triple trillionaire shortbread’ – his version of millionaire’s shortbread, where the extra touch is sticking cream eggs on top of the decadent slice.

For lovers of velvet
Red velvet cookies

They might look like colourful macarons, but these red velvet cookies are more kin to the ruby-hued cake of the same name. Filled with a salty-sweet cream cheese mixture, these dainty treats make ideal gifts, be it Christmas, Mother's Day or Valentines. 

For fans of red velvet cake, we suggest these red velvet cupcakes, which are easy to transport and sell, with no cutting required. If a coffee cake takes your fancy, we have plenty of ideas, from a no-bake Bosnian biscuit cake to a dark chocolate espresso mud cake (which is also gluten-free) to coffee cupcakes, which have coffee in the batter AND in the condensed milk icing.

When it comes to defining a unicorn cake, we say it’s totally up to you! You could make Poh Ling Yeow’s Totally Unicorn beetroot cake, or embrace the colour therapy of a rainbow cake.

And Johnny might not have much baking experience but he’s already trigged to a great recipe for bake sales. Millionaire’s shortbread – layers of shortbread, caramel and chocolate – is always popular. Here are three to try: Leanne Kitchen's salted peanut millionaire’s shortbread; a version with salted caramel and macadamias from Paul Hollywood; and a vegan version from the Bosh! Duo, Ian Theasby and Henry Firth.


Baklava versus brownie

Four keen bakers join the fray when Flour Power comes to the Cyrenians, a charity in Edinburgh that assists people at risk of homelessness. This office loves to bake – as CEO Ewan says “One of our mantras is, when in doubt, bring cake!”. Experienced charity cook Noura, originally from Syria, is using a traditional recipe to make baklava, while assistant key worker Davie is hoping to wow the judges with gooey brownies. They are up against relationship manager Ali’s chocolate sponge cake (check our chocolate cake collection here for ideas, including simple and scrumptious cocoa sponge cakes)  and Ewan’s wholemeal loaf with sundried tomato and mixed seeds (heaps of ideas in our homemade bread recipe collection).

When it comes to baklava, the joy of this nutty delight is summed up in this description of a Syrian baklava recipe that is featured in season 3 of Food Safari.  “The sound of the hot syrup as it’s poured onto the hot pastry is one of the best things, only surpassed by the sound of your first crunchy bite into this golden delicacy”. If you are baking for a big gathering, try Yiayia Marina’s Greek baklava.

And who doesn’t love a brownie? Of course, some like them fudgy and some like them cakey while Davie, who makes his studded with white and dark chocolate and cashews, declares that “a brownie has to be heavy and stodgy and chewy and chunky”! Check out the many options in our brownie collection, from peanut butter and honey brownies and Mark Olive’s river mint fudge brownies to strawberry and white chocolate blondies.


Whisky wizards whiz up wonders

At the Bruichladdich distillery on the beautiful Hebridean island of Islay, cask master Jay, housekeeper Katie and tour guide Dave are joined by client manager Mary for the Flour Power show-down. Katie’s making a sponge (see above for recipe ideas), Mary’s opted for scones and Jay for custard tarts, while Dave hopes to win with a cheesecake.

On the scone front, you’ve got a multitude of options in our scone recipe collection, from Anneka Manning’s classic cream scones to Matthew Evans’ buttermilk scones. Also worth considering – savoury items a less common but popular on a bake stall, so these savoury scones with ham and cheese by Silvia Colloca might be just what your fundraiser needs!

Savoury scones

For custard tarts, there’s a world of options! Try a classic Portuguese custard tart or a chai-spiced version; a Cantonese dan tat from Tony Tan or a Malaysian version from Luke Nguyen; also simple to make and easy to transport are these Danish linser pies, where a vanilla custard filling sits inside a shortbread-like pastry case.

You’ve got almost endless options when it comes to cheesecake – check out our cheesecake recipe collection for ideas such as tiramisu cheesecake, a Spanish baked ricotta cheesecake or a pretty cookies & cream blueberry cheesecake.

Cookies & cream blueberry cheesecake


‘Cake Thursday’ stars line up

Just outside Dundee, a converted church houses a graphic and brand consultancy and a web design and development agency. These two companies have a roster that sees employees bring in home baking every week for ‘Cake Thursday’ so there’s no shortage of baking talent here! Taking on the Flour Power battle are Lennox, who makes a chocolate brownie pizza; Fraser who makes cupcakes topped with brownie chunks; Becca who puts together a chocolate and orange marble cake; and Jamie, who bakes a huge vegan cake.

The ‘chocolate pizza’ is actually more in the line of a decorated chocolate cake, but if the idea of sweet pizza appeals, take a look at this chocolate and hazelnut pizza or this cherry and chocolate pizza.

Muffins and cupcakes are a sure bet for a cake stall and there are hordes of options in our cupcake recipe collection and muffin recipe collection. Like Fraser, you can get creative with toppings – like these pink lemonade cupcakes, where Anna Olson uses a clever technique involving lines of icing piped onto a piece of plastic wrap, which is then rolled and placed into an icing bag.

Marble cakes look lovely: give it a go with a cinnamon chocolate marble ring cake.

And if you’re a vegan baker, how about choc peanut butter cake; carrot cake; or vegan hummingbird cake.


Baking is a global language

When the battle comes to one of Scotland’s busiest language schools in Glasgow, it’s a global affair as Arabic teacher Ruba, Russian services administrator Tatiana, Lebanese cafe manager Nana and Highlander Marcus battle it out for the Flour Power trophy.

Nana bakes every day, so she’s seen as the one to beat. For the challenge, she’s making a traditional rolled baklava. Give it a try with this recipe from Abla Amad.

Nana has strong competition from Tatiana, who’s making a Russian shortbread cake with cream and berry filling and shortbread crumb topping, based on a recipe from her grandmother, who taught her to bake; and Ruba, who’s making a chocolate cake decorated with freckles and smarties. Marcus is the dark horse, and it turns out he’s making one of the tallest entries in the series, an ambitious ‘monumental cake’ (After watching Marcus’ challenges in constructing and transporting his cake tower, we’d lean to less lofty cake creations for a bake stall!).

Lots of ideas here to inspire your baking: perhaps bags of homemade chocolate freckles using this recipe from chocolate queen Kirsten Tibballs; classic Scottish shortbread; or the simple but delicious Louise cake from New Zealand – which is more slice than cake, with a shortbread base topped with raspberry jam and coconut meringue.

Louise cake.


Faithful favourites

In other episodes, contestants bring in other bake stall favourites. Mental health worker Don decorates a chocolate cake with homemade fudge – and fudge itself is an ever-popular fundraiser option. The options are endless here from classic choc fudge to fudgy Indian burfi or this off-the-charts triple-decker chocolate peanut fudge, that guest Ellie Cole shared on The Cook Up.  Don’s colleague, mental health community nurse Lesley makes hummingbird cake (this lush version with lashings of cream cheese frosting is sure to tempt), while winery worker Kay makes biscuits (hundreds of ideas in our biscuit collection).

Hummingbird cake with cream cheese frosting, dried pineapple and toffee pecans

And while we’re on the topic of bake stall classics, the Aussie lamington must be mentioned. Ring the changes from tiramisu lamingtons to lamington fingers, with plenty more in the lamington recipe collection.  Banana bread is always popular, too – dozens of versions here to choose from, from the simple to the indulgent (we’re looking at you, triple-layer choc-bottom banana bread).

Finally, we end with a homage to the humble slice. There are many, many options but when it comes to community baking the CWA knows what they are doing, and this coconut and brown sugar slice from champion CWA baker Merle Parish is a wonderfully simple recipe. 

Merle's slice recipe


Whatever you choose, have fun, like all of the Flour Power bakers! As one of the guest judges, digital designer and keen baker Richard Copeland, says "I want people to bake. Everybody should be baking." 

More cake stall winners
Amy's chocolate chip cookies

The base recipe is great for other add-ins like white chocolate cranberry, M&M’s, glace ginger and dark chocolate. The cookie dough balls can be frozen so you can have cookies ready in about 20 minutes if you have unexpected visitors for morning tea.

Mum's sausage rolls

Adding pieces of chopped salami to your sausage rolls, as Joel Creasey's mother does, adds an extra layer of flavour to these golden pastry beauties.

Savoury muffins

These are the perfect way to use up veggies and herbs in the fridge, ensure the kids are eating a nutritious snack and best of all, you can freeze them - perfect for emergencies.

Cashew and cinnamon granola bars

A chewy breakfast bar that's easy to grab on the go or to enjoy slowly on a lazy morning with a cup of coffee.

Chocolate peanut slice

Snap, crackle and crunch. An easy quick no-bake slice that happens to be gluten free and dairy free.

Nan's jam and coconut slice

A simple delicious slice made from pantry staples.

Marbled chocolate brownies

Essentially these fudgy brownies are marbled with an orange-scented cheesecake and they appear far more difficult to make than what they actually are. Perfect with a cuppa or a dollop of cream for dessert these brownies will satisfy any chocolate craving.