General Baking Tips
How Many Treats?
- This is a very rough estimate: Figure 50 servings sold per hour for a location with steady but not jam-packed foot traffic. Adjust up or down from there.
What Kinds of Treats?
- You usually can’t go wrong with the classics: brownies, cupcakes, muffins, and chocolate chip cookies. Cheesecakes and pies by the slice typically do well. If the bake sale starts in the morning, you may want to feature muffins, cinnamon rolls, and other “breakfasty” items.
- Include at least one gluten-free offering.
- Consider having at least one choice with no added sugar or sugar-like substance. Agave nectar or molasses may be acceptable in those cases.
- Also consider having at least one soy-free option.
- Some groups have had very good luck with one or more savory options on the table.
- Participants generally report that cupcakes with frosting sell better than cupcakes without frosting. (However, you may want to re-label unfrosted cupcakes as muffins.)
- You may want to include some homemade vegan dog treats for your canine “customers.”
- Once you’ve got the basics covered, feel free to be creative; showcase your specialties.
- For inspiration, check out our recipe links.
- Use fresh ingredients. Don’t use flour that’s been sitting on the shelf for a year.
- Keep a clean baking environment. You may not mind when your cat or dog joins you in the kitchen when cooking for yourself, but they should not be in the kitchen at the same time when preparing for a bake sale because of shedding concerns. Similarly, we recommend using a hairnet as needed.
- Make it mini. Here’s a handy tip from Liqin Cao of United Poultry Concerns: If making cheesecakes or pies, pour the filling into serving-sized mini-crusts instead of into one large crust. This saves you from having to cut the cheesecake or pie into individual slices. You could make your own mini-crusts, but for convenience it’s hard to beat the Keebler “Ready Crust” mini graham cracker crusts, which are conveniently vegan. For minis, make sure to reduce your baking time; for instance, mini-cheesecakes may be ready in 20 minutes or less. Bonus: for serving-sized cheesecakes, about halfway through the cooling period put a piece of fruit, such as a blueberry, raspberry, or a slice of strawberry, in the middle. Depress the fruit slightly, so it will stay.
- Make it pretty. For better or worse, shoppers partly buy on looks. In general, they prefer frosted rather than unfrosted cupcakes. Crumb toppings on a coffee cake or muffins will probably help them sell.
- Do a taste test, if possible. Even an experienced baker can accidentally leave out an ingredient. If possible, test new recipes with non-vegans too.
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