Bake Sale!

One of the joys of working at a school is that bake sales pop up quite frequently…

I am kind of kidding, I don’t know if bake sales are really a joy… but they are a great way to raise some money! We are currently having a bake sale at the school where I work. We are raising money to send exchange students to Japan. I was lucky enough to have been a chaperone for exchange students 2 years ago. I got to travel to Sano, Japan – a city about the size of Lancaster, PA. It was a great trip filled with many culinary firsts for me. I loved trying everything! I’ll save that story for another post.

I have had to raise a lot of money and I have planned a lot of bake sales through out the years I have been teaching. I have learned that a bake sale is not always as easy as it seems. You think you just ask for donations, set up a table, and make sure you have a money-box… right?

So I learned to ask for donations, and ask again… and again. I learned to make sure you have lots of change in your money-box to start out with (lots of items at 50 cents means making lots of change). One of the biggest things I learned was about packaging your goodies. I thought that we would just set up the baked goods and people would take what they want and eat it. What I found was that people wanted to take their cupcakes, brownies, and cookies with them. If I wanted to sell more items, I would have to find a way to package them.

At the first bake sale I planned I got a lot of donated baked goods but I didn’t bring plastic wrap or baggies. I didn’t have anything to wrap items in. The next time, I came prepared with packaging items and I asked people to bring their yummy donations individually wrapped. Bake sale success!

I am not running the bake sale going on at school right now, but of course I donated some sweet treats. I volunteered to bring two dozen cupcakes. I was really pressed for time last night so I couldn’t make my favorite devil’s food cupcakes. I came up with a fast alternative that uses store-bought cake mix and icing, and I put a little twist into them to make them my own… I feel like Sandra Lee.

Thin Mint Cupcakes

1 package Thin Mint Cookies (It is Girl Scout cookie time!)

1 box dark chocolate cake mix (read that back and make sure it says that it will make 24 cupcakes)

1 large container of whipped icing

Follow the directions on the cake mix box to make your batter.

Save twelve thin mints to use for garnishes on your cupcakes. Crush up the rest of the thin mints into a bowl and mix them with 1/4 cup of flour to coat them. The flour will help them stay suspended in the cupcake batter instead of sinking to the bottom.

Fold the flour coated crushed thin mints into the batter and scoop it into two muffin pans (making 24 cupcakes). Bake according to box directions.

Let the cupcakes cool and pipe the icing onto the tops in a swirl pattern making it come up to a peak. Place 1/2 of a thin mint cookie into the icing to decorate.

Quick, easy, cheap, yummy!

Here’s a great packaging idea for cupcakes that are traveling to a bake sale: put them in cups! I used the clear disposable wine cups that you can find at any grocery store. Place the cooled cupcake into the cup before you pipe the icing onto it and decorate it right in the cup. It’s a lot easier to get into the cup before the icing and decorations are on top.

I wrapped mine with plastic wrap. It was a great way to be able to stack them on top of each other for transport.  You could also use clear cellophane bags and tie them with ribbons to make them look really pretty!

Here are mine, ready for transport – I used a reuseable insulated grocery store bag to transport them, not really fashionable but it kept them safe and a little cushioned.