Let them eat cake!

“Let them eat cake!” Is what Marie-Antoinette is supposed to have said when she heard that the starving French peasants had no bread sometime back in the late 1700s. Whether it is true or not will be the subject of long debate but if you said it to our volunteers they would say “yes please”. And not only would they eat the cake, but they probably made it in the first place!

Our volunteers do like cake and will eat large amounts of it given the chance (which is quite often). Going back through Robert’s photos I found many pictures of cakes on the tailgate just waiting to be eaten or already half demolished by our crew. The one thing though that our volunteers do hold back on is taking the last piece. There seems to be a general reluctance to be the one who has the last slice as if this were something to be ashamed about but eventually someone steps up to the mark and does the decent thing. Click on the photos below and they will open up into a slideshow.

Making cakes for our work days has become a bit of a tradition amongst our team. Some are regular bakers and will often turn up with a box of delights to liven up our breaks. On occasions two or three will bring cakes and we have a right ol’ feast. The secret to a good cake for consumption by our volunteers (and officers) is to make it convenient to eat while holding a mug of tea in the other hand. It mustn’t fall apart and shouldn’t be too big to eat in more than a few bites. Too much cream or sticky coverings can lead to messy fingers and a temptation to lick those clean which might not be a good idea given the environment we work in (we do have antiseptic wipes available so no excuse for not using these before eating!). Our team is adaptable and will also tackle savoury treats such as Liz’s delicious cheese jacks and Ian’s moreish sausage rolls.

Paula is probably the most regular provider of cakes for our team which is why most of the attached photos are taken on a Thursday – her usual work day. Occasionally the unveiling of her cake is accompanied by a tale of woe in the kitchen and an apology for what we are about to receive but she has never given us anything inedible or harmful. In fact, Paula’s cakes are a real treat, especially her Tiffin.

On non-cake days we work our way through the biscuit selection provided by Matt. With a bit of luck someone will slip in a few Jaffa cakes or Tunnock’s tea cakes or Jammie dodgers or iced ring biscuits (those with a hole) all of which take us back to our youth (which is a very long way back in some cases). The usual biscuit selection is not terribly exciting and there is always a pile of broken bits in the bottom of the box. But we will eat them anyway – we need the sustenance. (It occurs to me that since lockdown I haven’t had a custard cream or a bourbon biscuit and, so far, haven’t experienced any withdrawal symptoms).

Getting back to cakes: our Blog site includes favourite recipes from our volunteers for you to try at home – See Tailgate Tucker on our website under the Blog menu. All cakes are designed to be eaten either indoors or out and include healthy(ish) options. Many recipes include fruit (Pete should look away at this point) which we know is good for us. Here is a selection of cakes tried and tested by our volunteers all of which have received their seal of approval.