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Top Tips for Running a Cake Stall

Home > Everywhere > Baking | Charity | How To | Markets
by Shannon Meyerkort (subscribe)
Writer. Storyteller. Find out more at
Published September 12th 2013
How to make your next fundraiser successful
Cake stalls are a time honoured way to raise money. You might be fund raising for your school, your local church or community group, or perhaps you just want to make a quick buck.

Here are my top tips to running a successful cake stall.

cake stall
Bright colours attract attention, customers and small children

The Food:

- Consider your audience: older people prefer whole cakes, morning people want savoury muffins, banana bread and coffee, kids want honey joys, cake pops, chocolate crackles, and everyone loves cupcakes and muffins.

- Don't limit yourself to the sweet stuff. Savoury baked goods, such as savoury muffins and mini-quiche and pasties are popular especially if you're running an early morning stall or plan on selling over the lunch break.

- Have a mix of whole cakes and individual items such as cupcakes and muffins.

Fill large platters with a range of similarly priced goodies

- Old favourites are favourites for a reason: honey joys, chocolate crackles, cupcakes and hedgehog slice are kid-friendly and pester-power can be your best friend (for once).

- Avoid fresh cream or anything that will spoil without refrigeration (or melt in the sun).

- Similarly, don't make anything that needs to be eaten with a fork or spoon. Everything should be able to be eaten with fingers, preferably without the need for a serviette.

- Be timely - if it's Christmas, include Christmas cakes, gingerbread men, Christmas cookies and fruit mince pies. At Easter decorate cupcakes with marshmallow bunny faces and brightly coloured Easter eggs.

- As cute as you might think they are, biscuits and cakes that your three old decorated might not sell so well. There's nothing quite as dodgy as a chocolate cake with little fingerprints all over it and chunks missing.

Not everyone has a sweet tooth, don't forget the savouries

The People:

- People who are donating cakes to your stall are your biggest asset make sure you let them know exactly what you need:

- Ask people not to send their cakes in non-recyclable containers, and if they must, make sure they are named. You can buy cake boxes and slice boxes online.

- If people are cutting their slice up beforehand, ask them to make the serves 'generous' otherwise you can cut them on the day (which keeps them fresher anyway).

- Ask your cooks to think outside the (cake)box. Don't forget 'treats' such as rockyroad, bags of popcorn, and decorated gingerbread men.

- Depending on how well your goodies are selling and when you want to close your stall, you might need to consider 'fill a box for $10' or similar to ensure you don't wind up with lots of leftover food.

Unless that was your plan all along.

Cupcake stands save space and look awesome

The Display:

- Don't cut whole cakes (people like to buy whole cakes)

- Try and make it look nice: attractive tablecloths, cake stands, large glass jars for the biscuits, nice serviettes, cupcake towers.

- When pricing, stick to whole numbers, such as biscuits for $1 and cupcakes for $2.

- Consider making little signs saying what the cakes are or a large cardboard sign with pricing propped on a mini easel. If you are selling all cupcakes for $2, it's easier to make one sign than explain it 100 times. Similarly, if you have a '6 items for $10' special or 'fill a box for $15' a laminated sign that is visible from a distance will help attract customers.

- Don't overfill your tables. If you have plenty of stock, then keep some back and make the tables look inviting but not overloaded. Too much choice freaks people out. If people are wandering up and down looking for something specific, you can always mention you have other cakes 'out the back'.

Bake cupcakes into icecream cones instead of paper cases, kids love them and there is no rubbish left behind

Other Things to Consider:

- Who are you raising money for? This might affect how much money customers are willing to spend; if it's a school or charity fundraiser, keep a small glass jar for people's change they might donate to your cause.

- Some schools/playgroups etc will require the ingredients to be labelled on the box to accommodate people with allergies. Always make sure you know if there are nuts in one of your donated gifts.

- Consider a special Gluten Free section, or if someone makes a cake that is GF, make sure you identify it.

- Things to bring: some knives, paper plates or bags for serving, serviettes, paper and a black marker to make signs, stickers for prices, cake and cupcake stands, tongs for handling the food, rubbish bags, change and money container, extra cake boxes.

- A nicely decorated cupcake will sell better than a plain one, even if the plain one tastes 10 times better. Beautiful frosting, sprinkles, flowers made out of marshmallows or smarties etc and fancy cupcake/muffin cases will make it easier to sell.

Put your cupcake cones in a brightly wrapped pizza box. It is easy to transport and means they won't tip over

- If you can, advertise your cake stall in the local paper or with signs the week prior. Consider joining forces with other groups to get a number of stalls together (eg. face painting, secondhand books, sausage sizzle, lucky dip). A 'fete' is going to attract more people than a solitary stall.

- Organise your float in advance and make sure you have the plenty of change. The first customer will buy a $2 muffin and only have a $50 note. It's practically guaranteed.

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Why? Cake stalls are a popular way to raise money
When: Anytime
Where: At your local market or fete
Cost: Set-Up costs vary
Your Comment
Brilliant post with lots of super ideas :-)
by soupson (score: 2|133) 3475 days ago
Lots of great tips there. Great photos too.
by Therese B (score: 2|289) 3472 days ago
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