Monday, May 10, 2010

My first cupcake stall!

Oh, what fun I had this weekend. My first test of the "cupcake" market!

I have been wanting to do this for ages, ever since I went down to the Town Council over 18 months ago just after christmas to enquire about a cupcake stand at our Sunday Markets. Alas, the same month, the "original" cupcake lady, Leesa, started her stand that is going strong now, and although I know, being a marketer, that competition is never a bad thing, this is a very small town!!

Anyway, I have a stall planned and booked in for our big school fete later this year, when I saw this small expo for our Preschool advertised in the school newsletter. I thought, what a great idea for a small test of my product, to see if I can actually sell, if my product is good, and it's not all just in my head! LOL! So I put my hand up with one week to go and no real materials or plan (bags, boxes, tableclothes, trays etc!). Thanks to the inlaws in Mornington for rushing up my boxes and bags.

Well, the jury is in, the cake stall was a sell out before closing. I am euphoric!

The town had lots on on Saturday, the Bradshaw school fete, the local anglican school lawn sale, a church fete, a businesses big sale, all the local sport, a show and shine car event, not to mention just getting on with life!

This Expo was not very well advertised and competed with things that promised to be much bigger, so I thought it would be good to do a small amount of baking and see what happened. I donated the majority of the sales back to the preschool. I just took out my costs and a bit more to fund the next venture.

I set about baking 125 cupcakes on the day before, four flavours, vanilla, chocolate, snickerdoodle and lemon meringue (for my need for a meringue/marshmallow frosting in my life!). I ditched some (quality control), the kids and the Workaholic gobbled up others, and we ended up with about 105. I made cute little toppers for the vanilla and chocolate ones and baked and decorated them all on Friday. Fresh is best!

Saturday was the big day, nerves were a plenty, would I sell any? Would it be a dismal failure? I like the Asian philosphy of the first sale being an indication of your day's sales. My first sale was for six! And we were off!

I loved it. I wish I could do it more often. It was so much fun, the customers were great and gave great feedback, "why don't you do a market stall?", "where can we get more?". One man snuck back about six times, it was very cute.

I didn't really go all out with the set up because I wasn't sure if this would work, so there aren't too many photos I want to publish here. It was a great learning experience. If I was going to do it more often I would get a better table cloth (not plastic - LOL), a banner and some better trays (not aluminum foil). The wind played havoc with my flyers/bags/napkins so the table had lots of rocks, bags etc trying to hold everything in place. Didn't look as nice as I would like, but hey, it was a test!

At the start of the day the table was full with lots of cakes underneath, about half way through it was looking pretty lonely with one tray and a couple of cakes, I was very tempted to pack up, because it was all looking so lonely, but glad I didn't because a very nice boy got my last one! Happy eating Jayden!

Funny thing was that I had promised I would take left overs to our friend's place for dinner that night, expecting there to be plenty, so I had to go home and bake another batch of lemon meringue cupcakes on Saturday afternoon.  About time I got a bit more confidence I think!

Anyway, the blog is going to be a bit silent for the next 3 weeks as I have some fruit cakes brewing for the end of the month wedding cakes and 2 other novelty cakes due at the same time, before I rush off to Planet Cake for a few days, so all my energy will be going into those cakes.

Don't despair, you will be all blogged out with multiple entries in early June! Oh, and Oscar's birthday is coming up in June - he has said he wants a Mr Tickle cake - watch out!

Until then, have fun, cause you know I will be, happy in cake heaven!!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Good bye cupcakes.............

This one will be short and sweet!

I am doing lots of faces on cup cakes at the moment, people having babies and going on maternity leave need smiling and crying baby cupcakes, people leaving town or work need crying people cup cakes.

I have done three farewells in the last fortnight. This is one of them. I really like the way you can give some one something special, individual and unique.

This one was for a teacher leaving one of the local schools. The faces are supposed to be a cross section of kids she taught, crying because she is leaving. The board was done in the school colours and I even tried to pipe in the "school font".  LOL! Just unnatural, how do the little ones do it?!

The faces cup cakes are so cute and get such a reaction. One of the jobs I did was for a friend at the Workaholic's office. She ordered some crying/smiling babies for a girl in her team going on maternity leave. I didn't really know her, she kept to herself, but she took the time to come around when she found out I was in the office, visiting the Workaholic, and thank me for doing them. It was so touching to think that a piece of "cake art" has touched someone enough to actually come and see the "creator".

I love this part of my "hobby". I love my hobby anyway, but positive feedback is the icing on the cake (pardon the pun!).

The odd order...........

It has come to my attention that I have been a bit slack on the blog front for a week or so. I have  been quite busy doing the cake, camping and life thing though, so please forgive me.

I have had a few orders and I am in the process of cooking for a few more, including fruit cakes (yikes) for a tiered wedding cake coming up (double yikes!).  Most of the orders were for things you have already seen, so there has not been much to tell.

There were a couple of extra things so I thought I would show you in this blog and the next entry as part of my "journey".

This one is a birthday cake for a lady who's 5 and 7 year old decided that she should have a "special" cake. She stopped me at school late last week, three days before the big event, and asked me to call her husband so that he and the kids could order a cake. Okay, sounds simple? Not exactly.

Hint to women who want their children/spouses to order their cakes: be really clear about what sort of cake you like or just call me on the sly! Luckily, poor old hubby was happy to be "directed" by me and it all worked out smashingly.

I had a challenge on this one, as they didn't want the full blown fondant (oooohhhhhh! But I really like doing those ones!) and they had a budget that excluded it anyway. So I compromised with a few bits of fondant and probably ended up paying them to take my cake. LOL! But I can't just go with plain cake, had to play with it.

This one is the yummy white chocolate cake I had such success with doing the ANZAC Day Cake, with a strawberry filling, and then the whole cake is ganached with white chocolate as if I was going to cover it in fondant.

Her hubby told me she likes horses, and I knew her kids did, so I went with a few "rustic" fences, some flowers and my trusty horse cutter. She is not a real girlie girl, like me, so I didn't want to go OTT.

I am also learning to stick to budget, my kind heart keeps getting in the way and I want to do more, or give them extra, no way to run a business, well a "hobby" business that might at least cover costs anyway!

So I had to stop my self from going OTT. For budget and time constraints I think it came out well, although I am really getting a preference for fully decorated fondant cakes. I just think the finish is so much better than the ganache or buttercream cakes.

It is interesting, when I reflect on how far I have come on this baking journey, full circle back to where I first started over 20 years ago in Year 10, decorating cakes with fondant!!

 I would love to do it day in and day out, maybe one day I this space........