We earn a commission for products purchased through some links in this article.
If you're planning on throwing a bake sale and have no idea where to begin, we're here to help. From team work to the big day, we've pulled together some of our top tips when it comes to bake sales to make it as stress-free as possible...
If you’re planning on throwing a bake sale and have no idea where to begin, we’re here to help. From the planning stages to the big day, we’ve pulled together some of our top tips for how to throw a bake sale to make it as stress-free as possible!
Bake sales are a great way of raising money for a good cause. Not only are bake sales a great chance to show off your baking skills but it’s also a great way to spread the joy and put a smile on everyone’s faces with stacks and stacks of cakes.
From school fetes to charity bake sales, selling cakes and bakes is the best way to raise some quick cash when it’s needed the most.
Click through our top tips on how to plan for a bake sale and get started today…
First you have to decide why you want to have a bake sale. Are you trying to raise money for charity? Will you take part in a existing charity event or do you want to throw your own for another charity. Does your child's school need some help buying new equipment?
Whatever your cause you need to decide exactly why you want to hold your bake sale.
Once you know your cause, it's time to do some research...
If you want to raise money for a particular charity, it's good to do a little research. They may already have a nationwide bake sale taking place. If the charity has an established sale, it will take a lot of the hard work out for you. They'll be able to provide signs, advice and lots of info - and there's a good chance people would've heard of the event too, which helps.
These are some of the biggest charity bake sales:
Breast Cancer Care's Strawberry Tea 1st June - 31 August
Marie Curie Cancer Care's Blooming Great Tea Party April to August
Macmillian's World's Biggest Coffee Morning Friday 27 September 2013
Once you've done your research, it's time to call the B-team...
It can be rather tricky to get a team together so it's best to ask around before you get too carried away with the planning, just in case you can't get any help.
Friends, family and mums at your child's school are the perfect candidates. You can post leaflets around the school or visit your local community centre to gather your B-team (baking team, that is!)
Search online for local bloggers in your area - if they're already baking mad they'll more than likely want to join in the bake sale fun!
Once you've got your team together, it's time to discuss customers...
Before you jump the gun and get planning on what to make, you and your team members need to think about your customers. Who are you selling your bakes too? How much money will your customers be willing to part with?
It's important that you know exactly who you're going to be catering for so you have something for everyone. For example a school fete bake sale will be swamped by kids with their pocket money, so you would want mostly cheap, fun cakes with a few naughty treats for the parents.
You also need to factor in allergies, nuts and gluten are the most common but it's good to think before you bake.
Once you've decided who your customers are, it's time to start planning...
From cupcakes to flapjacks, there are so many decisions to be made when it comes to what to bake.
Firstly you need to decide your budget - how much do you want to spend on your cakes? How much do you want to sell your cakes for?
Check out our handy what to make for a bake sale guide - this will help you get your head around costings and how you can be sure to make a profit.
When you know what you're going to make, decide who is going to make what. If you're throwing a large bake sale you might plan to make 4 lots of bakes each for example; a batch of cupcakes, brownies, flapjacks and cookies per person.
Once you've decided what you're going to make and who is making what, it's time to decide on location...
Location is rather important when it comes to a bake sale. If it's for school fete, hold your bake sale in the school hall or out in the playground if the weather is good enough.
If you're throwing a bake sale for charity you might want to hire a hall like a church hall, community centre or Scouts' hut. Talk to people in your local area to find out the cheapest locations and if there are any deals going to hire certain places - some places may even be willing to let you do it for free as its for a good cause.
It's best to pick a prime location where it can be easily accessed and that people are familiar with too.
If it's a low-key bake sale you could hold it in your house or in the garden to save paying out for a hall.
Once you've decided on your location, it's time to set the date...
Decide on a date and time. If you're planning on throwing a bake sale at a school fete - make it a weekend event so the kids and parents can make it a full day out.
If you're hosting a charity bake sale pick a key time - early morning, lunch time or after school are when most people are free. The best time for a bake sale is Saturday morning - not too early though as everyone likes a lie in at the weekends!
Once you've set the date and time of your bake sale it's time to get promoting...
It's time to get creative on the computer! Make up posters and leaflets telling people when, where and what time your bake sale is going to be. Keep your posters simple with vibrant colours.
You can stick your posters around schools or hand them round to people outside of your local supermarket. The more leaflets or posters that you print and hand out, the more people that will turn up so get all of your team involved in promoting the sale.
Send your friends and family a group email and create an event or even a page on Facebook for your bake sale - so many people are on Facebook these days so you could run a countdown to the big day reminding everyone to come and visit.
Once you've done plenty of promoting it's time to get baking!
You want to spend at least a day baking all of your goodies for the bake sale. If you've got a large kitchen you could all bake together but your best bet is to bake everything seperately and bring it all together at the end of the day.
The fresher the cakes and bakes, the better so bare this in mind when you decide on a baking day. It should only be a few days before the bake sale but not the day before just in case you have any baking disasters!
Store all of your cakes in tupperware boxes and airtight containers labelled with what each bake is, how many of them are in there and what they contain (like if they contain nuts make sure you label that) Labelling your bakes will make it easier when it comes to setting them out at the bake sale.
Once you've done all your baking, it's time to think about the extras...
Don't forget the extras! If you're throwing a large bake sale you might want to consider hiring a tea and coffee maker or if one of your team members would like to do this job, all you need is a couple of kettles, water facilities and some cheap tea bags.
You can buy polystyrene cups from most large supermarkets but if you want to save some extra dosh, get your team to bring all their extra mugs and cups that they have in the backs of their kitchen cupboards. Sugar cubes, milk and spoons are also on the list of extras.
Think about when you sell the cakes too - are you selling messy cakes? Will your customers need plates/napkins/forks? How are you going to hand the cakes to your customers? Will you let them help themselves or do you need more napkins for this job?
Once you've decided on your extras, it's time to think about presentation...
Presentation is key! You want your table to look good and tasty when it comes to the big day so make sure you plan exactly what you want to put where and how you want to display if beforehand.
Do you need a table cloth? Do you want cake stands or just plastic plates? How many napkins do you need? Do you want flowers, streamers or balloons? Do you need trays, baskets, bowls etc. for your bakes?
Think about labelling your cakes and bakes too, so everyone can tell exactly what each bake is. If there are any dietary requirements - like 'may contain nuts' or 'gluten-free' add this important info to your labels but keep them simple and large too so people can read them from a distant.
Once you've planned your presentation, it's time to sort out storage...
If you've made tons and tons of bakes, just remember that not all of them are going to fit on the bake sale table at once. Make sure you have plenty of storage like tupperware boxes or cool bags and pile them up under the table where you're going to sell them.
So when one of your bakes sells out and you're left with an empty plate, all you have to do is reach under the table and top it up with the next batch.
Cool bags are perfect if it's a hot day or you're holding your bake sale out in the sunshine - buttercream and fresh cream pastries can run and sweat if not stored properly so make sure you've got plenty of ice packs at the ready.
Once you've sorted out your storage it's time to get selling...
The day before the big day make a list. This list will be your ticket to a organised and stress-free bake sale. Write down every single thing that you will need - from spoons to flapjacks, write everything down. Read the list to a couple of your team members to make sure you haven't left anything off.
When it comes to the bake sale the trick is to keep calm. You may get flustered at first but make sure you leave as much time as possible for setting up. You want to be set up at least half hour before the bake sale starts so you can get organised.
One of the most important things to remember is to have a money petty cash so you can give change to people. Give each of your team members money bags so they can all sell the cakes - the more people selling the cakes, the more cakes you will sell.
Last but not least, have fun! Plenty of smiling and interacting with your customers will go a long way!
After your bake sale, it's time to sort out those leftovers!
People often forget that you can sometimes have leftovers. The trick is to reduce your prices when you reach the final hour of the bake sale.
If your tables are still piled high with baked goods it's time to warm up those vocal chords and chant some of your best deals - just like they do down the market!
Don't worry if you end up with a few leftovers here and there. You can give them to your team members and their families as a thanks for all their hard work or you could donate them to your local homeless shelter.
Once you've sorted out your leftovers it's time to count your profit!
Once the big day is over it's time to round-up all the money that you've made. Pop it all into a large container and bring it home with you to count - don't count it in front of your customers.
If you don't want to spend hours counting all the change you can use a change counter machine which can be found in most supermarket superstores like Sainsbury's - it will save you having to count out all the change yourself but remember that they can sometimes take a cut of the money so check this before you do.
Work out your profit and celebrate! If your bake sale has been a huge success email or message your customers on Facebook to thank them for all of their support and help - this will hopefully tempt them back if you ever decided to throw another bake sale!
Where to next?