Thursday, September 23, 2010

All the fun of the fair!

I recently had the pleasure of creating and manning my second only cupcake stand.

The occasion was the Ross Park Spring Fair. My son goes to the school and they have this annual fundraiser in September.

Being my second attempt at a cupcake stall and, in my typical style, I had made notes from my first attempt on ways to improve. I was well organised and prepared days in advance, so I had a production line going on baking day, making improvements on the first bake off.  It is no mean feat to bake 250 cupcakes surrounded by two young children, the extended family who were visiting, along with the Workaholic's mate. Throw in selling a house at the same time and you have an extreme sport!

Luckily, I put my usually reluctant delegation skills into gear and had the inlaws minding the children the day before, which was baking day, and the Workaholic's mate on dish washing duty while he was waiting for the Workaholic to stop working and take him out for the day.

Note to self. Really must get a dishwasher AND a bigger oven. Many people come into my house and are incredulous that I have managed to produce cake art out of my kitchen. It is tiny, has no dishwasher and the oven is standard garden variety and fits just two trays of cupcakes in it.

To combat the above, I made the fondant toppers a week out, the icing and lemon curd a few days out and then on the Thursday night, I measured and bagged up all the ingredients.

On baking day, everything ran like clock work and I was finished by about 3.30pm after starting at about 8.30am. I had everything iced and wrapped waiting to go, except for my meringue based icing that has to be made on the day. Thanks to the local Bread factory that donated some old bread trays which I scrubbed and spray painted black. I lined them with some non slip mat and it made it so easy to stack and transport.

I decided to do a number of flavours, although was limited by Ross Park being a nut free zone. The flavours were Vanilla, Flourless Chocolate/Choc Mint (for the Gluten free), Vegan Chocolate (for the dairy, egg free), Sticky Date pudding, Snickerdoodle, Lemon Meringue and finally, Red Velvet.
I had so much fun on the day and got so excited to see my product sell. Prior to the day I had had a dream that I didn't sell a single cupcake. My girlfriend had laughed and said that I really needed to make double as 200 would be gone in 20 minutes. I ended up baking 250 and contemplated making more but was really nervous about not selling what I had, and then not being able to give lots of $$ to the school.

How wrong could I be!!  During the early stages, I had to nab the Workaholic and his mate to assist as I was three deep with people waiting. We ended up selling out in a little over an hour and it felt great! I have had a number of people stop me at school since that day and compliment me on the cupcakes, as well as some cake order enquiries.

This is me and Tammie, the teacher who's room I was raising the money for.

Each time I have done a stall or just a cake order, I have learnt something, improved something and cut down the time it has taken me to do the stall or cake. It is great fun. Thank you to my helpers and the buyers for the opportunity to follow my passion.

I look forward to doing it all again somewhere in Victoria in 2011!

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