This past Sunday the 10th, I attended a church bazaar for the third time. As you all may know, besides blogging/youtube my main source of income is the small baking business I run from home. I do get orders on a regular basis, but it is always a great opportunity when you find an event you can sell your baked goods from. In past years I have made a good amount of money for just one day at a bazaar. I usually sell out so, this year I decided to bake a bit more than I usually do.
I made six different items, each of which I had to either double or triple the recipe to get the amount I needed for the event. On the menu were banana bread, cupcakes, mini fruit pastry cakes, chocolate crinkle cookies, strawberry cream cookies, and almonettes. You can only imagine the huge amount of ingredients I needed to buy! This was probably the first problem I encountered. I managed to buy most of my ingredients downtown from locally owned shops, which saved me a lot of money. However, some very important ingredients, unsalted butter for example, I could only get from Walmart. This actually made me go over budget because they recently decided to raise their prices again and I ended up spending $12 on butter. Just the butter, I’m not even including all the other stuff I bought. It’s ok, I thought, I’ll make it up from what I sell on Sunday.
So off I went, baking my heart out for 3 days straight. I wanted my goods to be as freshly made as possible, so I started baking on Thursday. I first made the Almonettes, 9 dozens in total. That sounds like a lot, but this is my most requested cookie and I really have no problem selling it.
On Friday, I worked on the Strawberry Cream Cookies which are the easiest to make. I got 11 dozens from these.
Then I continued with the Chocolate Crinkle Cookies, 7 dozens. These take longer to make and require more ingredients, but they are super delicious!
I finished the day off with the mini fruit pastry cakes. The recipe I use is for an 8 in. round cake, but I have found that people are more attracted to little 4 in. rounds. As the name implies, they all have fruit layered on top. Usually I use strawberries, peaches, or blueberries, but I stuck to only blueberries this year. I also ended up with more cakes than expected. Before, I would get 8 cakes, 10 at the most. This time: 13!
Saturday, I had to wake up at 4 am if I planned on getting anything done. I ate a small quick breakfast, after which I immediately got to work. I filled the almonette cookies with their cream cheese and strawberry preserve filling, packaged them, then went on putting the rest of the cookies I made into little baggies. By 9 am I was putting the vanilla cupcakes into the oven. 20 minutes later, out they came and I realized 30 cupcakes turned up, instead of the intended 24 . . .
While they cooled, I ran to the store quickly to get some more flour and brown sugar for the banana bread. This item in particular tired me out the most. Firstly, it takes longer to make because you have to cook the bananas, separate them from their juice, then reduce that juice. Oh and by the way, each loaf has 6 bananas in it (meaning I carried 30 bananas from a store downtown all the way to my house on the eastside.) To add to this, I only have 2 loaf pans and I was making 5 loaves! I was sooo tired and hungry after this (I barely nibbled at Chinese food leftovers because I was running out of time).
By 5 or 6 o’clock, I started decorating the cupcakes. I wanted them to evoke the feeling of Spring, so each cupcake got a swirl of buttercream frosting, topped with roses and rosebuds made from marshmallow fondant that I made and colored myself.
By 10 at night, I was still packaging everything and handwriting labels and tags for each baggie. I still hadn’t quite finished everything, but I really needed to go to bed. I had to wake up at 4 am again on Sunday since we had to be at the bazaar before 7 am. I pretty much hurled myself into bed that night. And as I lay there trying to go to sleep, my feet burned like they never had before. I realized I only sat down for some 5-10 minutes and had spent most of the day standing. . .
The bazaar itself was pretty good, I really can’t complain. I made back the money I invested in ingredients and packaging materials, plus a profit. It was a slow day, however. There weren’t many people attending and a lot of them were just walking around looking at all the items vendors were selling. Because of this combined with me being exhausted, I was trying really hard not to fall asleep.~
From all the goodies I made, the Strawberry Cream Cookies, Almonettes, and Banana Bread sold out. I had about half of the Chocolate Crinkle Cookies left over and oddly enough, most of the fruit pastry cakes. This is weird to me because they usually sell out as well. Apparently people didn’t really like the fact that they only had blueberries on top. Now, a very strange thing happened with my Spring themed cupcakes. A lot of them were also left over, I only sold about a dozen. I had spent so much time decorating them so they would be alluring to people, yet no one was buying them. I just got compliments for how pretty they looked. I thought, maybe people just don’t like cupcakes that much! That is until I overheard a father telling his son that those weren’t real cupcakes, they were made of glass. . . That took me by surprise and I couldn’t even correct him. I just sat there thinking, “WHAT??!” After that, several other people actually kept asking me if they were edible or if they were decorations, scented candles, etc. I really didn’t know whether to be flattered because my cupcakes looked that perfect, or disappointed because I wasn’t selling any.
Even though I was quite exhausted after this whole ordeal, I still felt happy for baking that much all by myself. 😉 I think the hard work you put into what you do, rewards you greatly down the line. Plus, if it’s something you’re passionate about, you don’t see it as a burden. I’ve never seen baking as tiring. My physical body might get tired, but my heart and mind never do. And it is always rewarding to hear someone say how they ate a whole bag of your cookies by themselves.~ 😀