When it comes to baking for a good cause, Seattle’s baking community has been known to show up en force; and last Saturday, April 2, was no exception. On that date, a host of local pastry chefs and talented home bakers joined forces with like-minded individuals across the United States to put on Bakesale for Japan, a simultaneous national fundraiser to benefit victims of Japan’s recent earthquake and tsunami.
Bakers throughout the city impressively rose to the challenge, as was evidenced by the sheer volume of delectable cookies, cakes, breads, and other sweet treats teetering on several tables positioned upstairs, downstairs and outside the entrance of local art gallery Cakespy, in the Capitol Hill neighborhood. Careful attention to detail was present in each and every precious cupcake, golden pie crust and thoughtfully packaged confection. The combined creativity, generosity and sheer love of baking culminated in a sugar-coated trifecta of bakesale perfection.
Featured baked goods included brightly hued miniature cupcakes nestled cozily in egg cartons, compliments of Sugar Rush Baking; ‘Jars of Stars’ filled with itty bitty star shaped spice cookies from noted food blogger, Not Martha; decadent chocolate hazelnut tarts and caracolillos (a.k.a. ‘buns of love’) from the kitchen of esteemed restaurateur, Carolin Messier of The Harvest Vine; and from The Sated Palate (that’s me!), pink cherry blossom cookies, Nanaimo bars and nesting egg cupcakes.
Bleary-eyed bakers exchanged tales of late night kitchen escapades spent up to their elbows in varying ratios of flour, sugar and butter. Event organizer, Courtney Keen managed the influx of baked goods, volunteers and a steady stream of customers with relative calm and a cheery disposition. Cakespy proprietress, Jessie Oleson, graciously hosted the bakesale in her cute as a button art gallery and was on hand to greet customers, answer questions and basically revel in the ‘eau de sweetness’ emanating from a sea of sugary temptations.
My contribution to the bakesale involved a solid eighteen hour shift spent baking, packaging and photographing 42 cookies, 36 nanaimo bars and 12 surviving cupcakes from a batch of 24. The other 12 inexplicably burnt on the bottom, despite baking side by side with the surviving cupcakes. This peek into the world of mass production did much to quell my (previously) secret dream of someday opening a bakery of my own.
My bakesale items were as follows:
Pink cherry blossom cookies – densely soft shortbread blanketed under a generous layer of cream cheese frosting with a hint of almond flavor (almond flavoring tastes a lot like cherry).
Nesting egg cupcakes – buttery vanilla bean fragranced cake topped with luscious vanilla buttercream, toasted coconut and a trio of Cadbury mini chocolate eggs.
Nanaimo bars - chewy coconut-chocolate-graham crust, silky buttercream custard filling and an unctuous layer of rich chocolate ganache.
In conjunction with the bakesale, volunteers demonstrated how to fold origami paper cranes with the goal of sending 1000 cranes to our friends in Japan; a gesture intended to convey good wishes and world peace.
When all was said and done, the Seattle branch of Bakesale for Japan raised an impressive $3,100 to benefit Peace Winds Japan, where 100% of the money goes toward ground relief for items such as medical and sanitary supplies, blankets and clothing, and when possible, long-term reconstruction.
Nicely done Seattle. Way to get your bake on for a good cause!
This just in: The national total for the bakesale was a whopping $120,254.38!!!