The time has come again. It’s the kid’s school bake sale, something which turns 99% of parents into a hot, stressy mess.
School bake sales are often needed to generate a small income for schools, meaning they can keep up with supplies and funding for field trips. Without them, many schools wouldn’t have a lot of the things we, as parents, take for granted.
However, it’s hard as a parent to keep up with the needs of our children’s schools, and a lot of parents dread bake sales. It’s easy enough as a parent to put ourselves down when we feel that our yummy, baked goods aren’t up to scratch – whether that be moistness, decoration, or something grabbed from Walmart!
I think the fear boils down to the fact that we’re trying to create perfectly iced and delicious cakes to impress other parents. Now, it may sound silly, but if we delve in our minds, there’s that one parent we all know we want to impress – or we might even want to be in a “best-looking cake” competition.
But is it worth stressing over the smoothest icing? In reality, your kid might drop them in the schoolyard on the way in! I talk through personal experience about cakes hitting the floor – it was a heart-shattering moment. But, as I hid my bright red face, I had a thought. It said, “why are you doing this to yourself? You have enough going on without the stress of this!”
Seeing my kids with the confidence to participate in the bake sale made me have some tough words with myself. They are not my cakes to make. They are not my cakes to eat; they are my children’s cakes to sell and share with everyone. They wanted to make cool, zombie brain cakes, yet I said no because I wanted to create perfect white-iced cupcakes. The problem with that is it was what I wanted, not them.
So, please remember that this is for your children and funding their school. It’s not a contest. You’ll never feel that you can win, even with the most gorgeous cupcakes in the world. You’ll forever be in competition, and the proudness you should feel at helping your children’s school will be washed away with worry and anxiety.
First things first, check your children’s school for their policy on allergies. Write a list of all the ingredients used so you can display them alongside your cakes.
Ask your children what they’d like to make, and then search for recipes together. This is more than just spending time together; they can also learn by working on their math and reading skills with the ingredients. We like to use an Amazon Echo because it walks us through the steps.
If I’m honest, I’m more likely to buy a cake that a child has made rather than one that’s perfect. You can buy the Amazon Echo for reasonably cheap on Amazon, and they have same-day delivery – Woop Woop!
Get your kids to write down a list of all the ingredients and then divide the items by the number of children you have. They can each choose their own ingredients, which will keep them calm in the supermarket – your welcome!
Make sure you have enough ingredients; it isn’t worth getting the kids back in the car and running around Target or Walmart like headless chickens for a second time as you try to find a certain kind of ingredient.
You should now have your recipe, the school’s policy on allergies, and your ingredients. You’re doing well. Remember, in a few hours, it’ll soon be bedtime, and you can have a well-deserved glass of wine and some leftover cake! But now you need to measure and mix, which the kids can do with your supervision. This means you can sit down while you watch them do all the hard work, offering encouragement along the way!
Once the cakes are in the oven, remind your kids that whoever bakes washes up – we can all laugh about that together! My kids run off to the Xbox when that’s mentioned. However, in the time it takes you to do the dishes, you can think about all the effort, money, and stress you have given for your little darling’s school!
Presentation time. Stuff your hands in your pockets, and don’t try to smooth out your darling cherub’s attempts at icing. (You can do that when they go to bed!) Instead, be their cheerleader and encourage them to ice the cakes however they want.
If you have a stall, make sure you take a nice tablecloth to display your cakes and ingredients on. It doesn’t need to be fancy, but at the same time, make sure it’s not covered in Ketchup! If it is, fold it and fold it again – this will hide the stain!
Make sure the cakes are boxed and hidden. Most cakes iced can be kept in the fridge overnight in a plastic container, but make sure they are high enough, so your little angels don’t steal them for a midnight feast. You don’t want to be left running around at 6 am trying to find something salvageable to take to the bake sale.
Bath your kids – they will most likely be covered in flour, eggs, and icing. It will also calm them down after the amount of icing they’ll have gobbled up.
Take them into school the next day with a big smile, and tell anyone who will listen that your children made the cakes. You will both feel proud.