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So You’re Running A Bake Sale: How Not To Bite Off More Than You Can Chew

Any parent will be familiar with the feeling of foreboding that arises when they have to provide something for a fundraising event. Whether it’s for a school, church, or a local sports team, you’ll happily give up your time and your skills. You want to make sure that new roof and those new uniforms are secured. But you look at the part you can play in it and question whether “moral support” might be the best you can offer.Running a Bake Sale

There’s always one hyper-organized parent, usually a Mom, who has a list. And they’re darned sure they want everyone to know it. “Well, Parent X is going to run the hot dog stand. Parent Y knows a guy who runs a fairground, so we can get rides free of charge. Parent Z is liaising with local businesses to get sponsorship. We’re just waiting on you to tell us how you’re helping out!”

Said with a smile, of course, but one of those double-edged smiles that make you feel like Parent Zero. So you blurt out “Oh, that’s perfect. I’ll run the bake sale!”

“Why Did I Say That? I Don’t Even Bake!”Running a Bake Sale

We all like to think of ourselves as domestic Gods and Goddesses. TV shows have convinced us that anyone with spare time and a rolling pin can bake perfect pies and cakes if they put their mind to it. Even if the last time you tried to make flapjacks, you ruined every baking sheet in the house.

The biggest worry about taking on the responsibility of a bake sale is that unless you own a bakery, it takes up a lot of kitchen space and time. You don’t realize how many different things are on a baking stall until you try to make them all. Cakes. Pies. Cupcakes. Muffins. Traybakes. Cheesecake. Tarts. Cookies! And there is always some try-hard whose macarons ( are to die for.

“I Don’t Have The Time To Do All Of This!”Running a Bake Sale

All forms of cooking, baking included, are more than anything a simple matter of math. Christmas or Thanksgiving dinner prep always starts early because you have the same number of ovens, pots and pans, but more to cook. So if you want to crunch baking time down, you need to increase the number of ovens.

To make the math more advanced, you need to consider the space into which these ovens must fit. If you know a few people who have halogen ovens, it’s worth calling around. They take up less space than conventional or counter-top ovens and also do the same job faster. If you’re prepped ahead of time, with batters and mixes made, then an army of halogens can speed the process.

You’ll also be well advised to pick up a cupcake maker. While time and heat are crucial in making bigger cakes, cupcakes and muffins require a lighter touch. Checking out for a model that suits you could save so much time.

“I Can’t Do It Alone!”Having a Bake Sale


At a certain point in your planning, you will inevitably look at everything that has to be done and realize something. For everything to be fresh-baked and at the event on time, you’ll need x amount of ovens, y amount of plates – and an extra you.

Rope in a friend who owes you a favor. Guilt-trip whichever child was the most painful birth. Play on someone’s sentimental attachment to their hometown. Whatever it takes, get some assistance. Stare down anyone who suggests this is cheating. Do you think Emeril Lagasse does it all on his own?

Even if whoever you rope in is less of a baker than you are, there is something they can do. Maybe they can’t mix batter, but they can pour it. They can free up space by taking things out to the car. They can rapid-cool a sponge cake so that frosting can be applied. If they need more convincing, you can pay them in baked goods.Running a Bake Sale

Once you’re safely on the other side of the event without ruining the day, and things have been done to a relative level of success, it’s time to take stock of the situation. Running a bake sale is no small task. If you have managed to do it successfully, you can always be confident of doing it again. The thing with baking is that practice makes perfect.

So maybe you won’t be putting yourself forward to test your baking abilities on TV just yet. The next time a fundraiser comes up, you don’t need to hide behind a pot plant until you’re found. Baking is a useful skill to have at moments like that.

Running A Bake Sale