Sunday, October 25, 2009

100+ Cupcakes Later...

125 minis, 24 standards, and 2 jumbo cupcakes later... I survived my first cupcake event!

Cupcakes, Cocktails, and Creations was a delicious success. The six hours of prep that went into making the five flavors of cake and the matching five flavors of icing was totally worth it:

1. Raspberry Lemonade with vanilla frosting
2. Lemon cake with lemon/lime icing
3. Red velvet with cream cheese frosting
4. Pumpkin spice cake with vanilla/nutmeg spiced icing
5. Yellow cake with homemade milk chocolate icing

I really learned a lot from this event - from my capacity to create hundred of cupcakes to my ability to package and sell my creations to willing customers. After two hours into the event, I sold out of my regular and jumbo sized cupcakes! Hurray! I priced them intentionally low - $1 for the standard size and $3 for the jumbo ones. I included packaging free of charge, which in the end, made me break even for revenue overall. But the point of this event was not to make a profit - it was to see if my cupcake creations were good enough to sell. It is with great pride and enthusiasm that I say, "YES! They were!"

In retrospect, I could have included the cost of the container into the overall charge. These cupcake containers were a HUGE draw for customers who would have been happy to pay extra for the box (bought at Michael's). For single servings that I sold, I used Ralph's-brand tupperware as well as circular plastic boxes from the $1 section of Michael's. In fact, I just bought the Ralph's tupperware on special again today for the price of 3 containers for $2. Also, I am currently searching for a vendor to buy the adorable cupcake window boxes from to reduce my costs in the future.

The jumbo cupcakes, which are as tall as a nutmeg shaker, were a big hit. I baked them using the left over batter from the mini cupcakes. The tough thing about cupcakes this size is making sure they are fully cooked without burning the edges. The other major problem (a sweet problem to have!) is that you can't taste-test your work... I know, I know, life is so hard! But seriously, not being able to guarentee the taste made me have major reservations on the jumbos. Though, they do LOOK very cool and intriguing. I think I could have easily sold more of these as well.

Finally, I'm all about presentation - hence the cute containers that every customer received! But nothing was a bigger hit than the cardboard-Halloween themed tree that I displayed the cupcakes on. With the giant spider on top, the cuteness of the tree - donated by my incredibly creative sister! - caught the buyer's eye and drew them in for the sugar fix.

It also helped that the mini cupcakes were like samplers for the bigger ones that I sold. After all, people love to taste-test, especially when it's free!

From this event my main realizations were 1. I would absolutely cupcake cater again! 2. I don't think running 24/7 bake shop is for me 3. Always bring extra toppings so you can quickly personalize an order 4. Presentation really is everything - spending the extra dollar on cute containers is worth it! 5. Perhaps there is a side business in this hobby...

See you tomorrow - for the count down to Halloween! More details on these individual cupcakes to come...

1 comment:

  1. favorite quote of the day:
    Christyn: "How much are you charging for the big cupcakes?"
    Cheryl: "Ugh, I was thinking $.50 each?"
    Christyn: "This isn't a bake sale! Put them on the $10 table!"
    Cheryl: "Ok, fine. $1!"

    you did SUCH a great job! the party really was a COMPLETE success because of your amazing cupcake-ness! i am so happy that the day ended on a positive note for you and that you walked away with many lessons learned!