Sweet Shop Success
Anytime is a good time to give back. I tend to scatter little contributions everywhere and throughout the year. One such small act is making homemade merchandise for my church fair’s sweet shop. Sweet shops or bake sales are a great method of fundraising. It’s easy to set up and manage and easy for people to contribute donations or “merchandise.” As far as contributions go, sweet shop donations are very affordable on effort, time and money. Don’t underestimate the power of a bake sale for fundraising. If you help add to the high quality inventory, cakes, cookies, pies and more will bring in more than you expect.
I almost always contribute a big pound cake, or several small ones, and my oldest daughter makes her specialty – traditional chocolate chip cookies with double the chips. This year I’m also throwing in some sweet pepper jelly for those customers looking to fill the sweet tooth cravings that hit before dinner.
If you want to your homemade goods to move and at top dollar, presentation is key. For the cake, I buy one of the cake boxes with a clear window in the top. If you want to make smaller cakes, there are some square cupcake boxes with clear tops that will work just well as mini cake boxes. Tie the boxes up with a little ribbon or bakers twine and they’ll fly off the shelf in no time.
Package small items like brownies or cupcakes in clear boxes or bags tie with a ribbon. Be sure to place enough to a serving or two depending on the size of the treat. For medium to smaller cookies, put four cookies in the bag. For larger brownies, package two or three. This will help those setting up the shop to price and sell them as individual servings.
Another tip for moving sweet shop merchandise is to include the recipe. There are so many different, dangerous and complicated food allergies out there; no one can be too careful. It’s a great help to shoppers for contributors to include the recipe so they can see exactly what’s in the treat before they buy it (or avoid it if they have to). Print the recipe on a cute little card and tie to the top of the package or write the recipe down on an index card and attach it to the box, bag or other container. Be sure to let everyone know if there are nuts involved because, all allergies aside, not everyone is into nuts.
Making your sweet shop donations as appealing as they can be and making it easy for shoppers to see what they’re buying will make your contributions top sellers. Be sure to volunteer some time to work the sale, too. No one can sell your famous fudge better than you can.
We have had more than our share of fundraising needs over the past few months in our city. A simple little sweet shop or bake sale is a great way for anyone of any age, to contribute in some small way to the charity or cause of their choosing. While they may not equal a celebrity telethon in funds raised, the treats and social interaction of a sweet shop bring smiles and lift spirits.
Read more in City Social. Pick up a copy around town or read the Sept/Oct issue online now.
Swamp Pop Pound Cake
1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup coconut oil
3 cups sugar
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 Swamp Pop Praline Cream Soda
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Cream butter, shortening and sugar in a large mixing bowl. While mixing at medium speed, add eggs one at a time, beating well after each. Alternate adding flour and soda, beginning and ending with flour. Stir in vanilla and lemon juice. Pour batter into a well-greased Bundt pan. Bake for one hour. Check until a cake tester comes out clean. If the cake needs more time, lay a sheet of foil over the cake to prevent it from browning too much. Once done, cool in the pan for 10 minutes then gently turn the pan out onto a cooling rack. Yields one large Bundt pan or 4 petite Bundts.
Sweet Red Pepper Jelly
4 cups sweet red peppers
6 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
2 bottles Certo
Remove seeds from peppers. Mince in food processor. Bring sugar, vinegar and peppers to a boil. Boil for 10 minutes. Add Certo and boil hard for 1 to 2 minutes. Pour into warm sterilized jars. Yields 6 to 7 half-pint jars.