cupcakes with icing on top and lavender with orange zest

By Ren Behan

The summer term is here and there are posters popping up everywhere advertising summer fêtes, which means it’s time for a spot of summer fair baking. It’s BBQs, bouncy castles and bake sales galore; with cupcakes, strawberry scones, tray-bakes and Victoria sandwiches battling it out for extra fundraising pennies and pounds. But fear-not! If baking is not your strong point, keep reading for some no-bake ideas that will still bring the all-important ‘wow-factor’ to the stands.

Cupcakes and fairy cakes will always dominate the school cake sale.  They are easy to bring to the Fair and will be quickly scooped up by a classroom of little hands. Jamie’s Tea Party Fairy Cakes make a colourful and fruity addition to the table, with a light and fluffy lemony sponge, and ideas for fresh fruit icing. Decorate with a few berries or sprinkles and they are guaranteed to be sure-sellers.

If you’d prefer to top your cupcakes with buttercream, simply beat 250g of room temperature unsalted butter and, little by little, add in 500g of icing sugar. The more you beat the mixture, the fluffier your icing will become. For the perfect shade on top, add in a few drops of natural colouring into the buttercream and beat well again.

If you’re looking for a tasty cake recipe with a healthy angle, try your hand at these Butternut squash muffins with a frosty top. You can decorate them with lavender flowers or rose petals for a delicate and dainty finish.  They are lovely and moist, and taste a little bit like mini carrot cakes.

Tray-bakes are another option you could try. Most sponge cake recipes can simply be ‘doubled up’ and poured into a large rectangular tin. Before baking, top the cake batter with pitted cherries, sliced apples or chocolate chips to give the children an extra treat. Once baked, cut into individual squares and serve on small plates or napkins.

If you’re nervous about baking, try this super-easy Chocolate fridge cake with pecan & meringues. It’s quick to make and requires no baking at all! Kids can definitely get involved, too, bashing up the biscuits and meringues while you’re getting on with melting the chocolate ready to pour into the tin.

So, whether the school playground has been transformed into a Mad Hatter’s tea party, a circus or a beach, I hope you’ll be armed with a few more ideas to take along.

Ren Behan is a mum of two and a food writer – find out more at

About the author

Ren Behan is a well-known food writer and mum-of-three based in Hertfordshire, UK. She grew up in a food-loving Polish household and now writes a popular family-friendly and seasonally-inspired blog at

Ren Behan