It started with a sign. Well not any old sign. Not a religious calling or anything grand. But a sign in a local Bury St Edmunds cook shop advertising Cake Tin Hire. That’s right, a high street service that allows you to RENT A CAKE TIN. Any friends who know me well will understand why it stopped me in my tracks.
And that’s because every year, for every family birthday, out comes the same cake tin to make the same flat sponge cake – uninspiring with its single layer. Its only saving grace is that it’s chocolate flavoured. Inspired by The Great British Bake Off, for years I’ve yearned to be a higher achiever in the birthday baking department but the thought of spending cash on stuff that I might only use once – and cluttering up my tiny kitchen – kept me on the straight and narrow path of baking blandness.
So before you could say “On your marks, get set, BAKE”, I found myself through the doors of Steamer Trading checking out the details, with my 10 year old hot on my heels volunteering to take the lead in this baking adventure. Cake tins of all shapes and sizes were available for hire for just £2 (plus a returnable deposit of £10). For £3 we were able to hire a magical cottage mould from the speciality range, which to buy would normally cost £24.95. As a fair-weathered baker hankering after a little more creativity, this reuse model is a very attractive option.
I confess to being slightly cautious about my 11 year old’s ambitious choice of mould, but I needn’t have been. The cook shop also provided us with their recommended recipe for a Madeira Sponge – and with a friend staying for the weekend, full cake-making responsibility was delegated accordingly.
A top tip though – with a speciality mould like this, it makes sense to leave the cake mix for a few moments to allow it to settle into every intricate corner.
Of course, what goes in must come out. And even with a good old dose of cake-tin greasing, it needed some convincing before finally emerging as a cake of two halves. However that didn’t matter, not with a 11 year old suitably equipped with a piping bag and a mission to decorate.
And phew! After an afternoon of mixing, baking and decorating, the final result was a great tasting cake with most definitely a magical finish. No sweets for at least a week I reckon. But then, who need extra sweets when you’ve got a cake like this!
So the verdict on our cake tin hire experience? It was great value and a fabulous example of Reuse! It also made for a brilliant weekend activity that’s inspired even more baking adventures to come. And I’ve certainly got no excuse for any more blandorama birthday cakes. The standards have been raised. However, if I play my cards right, I may be able to delegate those too, even if it means having to keep a closer eye on my waist as well as my waste – especially as it’s already been eaten, with not a leftover crumb in sight.
If you’re interested in cutting down your clutter, saving money and hiring cake tins for your own baking extravaganza, it’s worth checking your local high street cook shop. More information about Steamer Trading’s hire facilities can be found here, plus links to other stores outside Bury St Edmunds.
This blogpost was inspired by Zero Waste Week 2015, for which the theme is Reuse. For more information about the campaign, visit www.zerowasteweek.co.uk. If you’re interested in other ways of saving cash and reducing your waste, sign up for The Rubbish Diet Challenge, which will see you with a slimmer bin in just a few weeks.