Senior Project: My Own Pop-Up Bakery

3 Feb

At my school, every senior pursues a project about a topic she is passionate about and wishes to explore further. For my Senior Project, I have started my own pop-up bakery, and will chronicle all my experiences on this blog. My first event was the Summer Opportunities Fair at my school, where I set up my own table filled with homemade, “rustic French desserts.” 

Chocolate soufflé cakes and brownie drop cookies with walnuts, by far the two most popular items of the day. 

I came up with the idea for my project during the middle of my junior year, but have fantasized about opening my own bakery for a while now. I daydreamed about designing a space and baking dozens of beautiful goodies, but never thought about the hours of meticulous planning and labor required to open up shop for a day. 

After a week of deliberation, I decided to make rustic, French-inspired goodies because they felt the most natural to me. I baked until 2 a.m. the morning of the fair, and woke up at 6:30 to finish up some last-minute items and package everything. The final menu included heart-shaped chocolate soufflé cakes, citrus-glazed poppyseed mini loaf cakes, chocolate pecan torte, brownie drop cookies, zimtsterne cookies, lemon shortbread cookies, and big-cluster maple granola. 

I learned so much from this experience, and everything sold out within a few hours! It was so satisfying to tell people about my project and to see their genuine interest in my baked goods. I felt great when customers returned to my stand two or three times to buy additional items or to tell me how much they enjoyed something. I love to bake for family and friends, but receiving genuine compliments from complete strangers elevated my excitement to a new level. 

One major lesson I learned is that presentation is key. Many people stopped at my stand because of how aesthetically pleasing and professional it looked, with a vibrant yellow tablecloth and bouquets of flowers fresh from the farmers’ market. Investing time and care into packaging products and arranging them on beautiful platters really paid off. 

Zimtsternes are traditional Swiss cookies made with ground almonds, powdered sugar, cinnamon, and honey, and topped with a simple glaze.

For my first pop-up bakery, I was thrilled with the outcome of the day and everyone responded so well to my desserts. I also recognized many aspects that I can improve upon, mostly related to the business side of things. I’m still figuring out appropriate pricing, and would like to optimize my time in the kitchen by prepping certain recipes in advance. My sister and my mom helped me with every step of the process, from brainstorming menu items to assisting me with baking, and I could not have succeeded without them. 

Starting in March, I will pop up at various locations in the Los Angeles area. Follow Let’s Live La Vida on Facebook for specific details about location and time. If you would like more information about my project, or would like me to appear at a private event, please email me at I cannot wait to see how my business grows in the coming months! 


9 Responses to “Senior Project: My Own Pop-Up Bakery”

  1. About Me February 3, 2013 at 3:27 pm #

    What a fantastic project. The school I teach in is a technology focused school and our students just completed their senior projects. One of our students also loves to bake (as do I), and I am going to share your post about your project with her. Congratulations! I am sure you will receive an amazing grade!

  2. wallflourgirl February 3, 2013 at 10:14 pm #

    What an absolutely fantastic project you have on your hands here! This really is a stellar work you've put your time and effort into; wish you all the best of luck! Maybe we'll even get the chance to see you around the LA area.

  3. CoastWithMe February 4, 2013 at 1:27 am #

    Maral everything looks amazing! What a beautiful display! I would LOVE to try each and every single baked good! This is your calling girl! Follow your dreams:)! I could totally see you opening up a bakery one day!

  4. Maral February 4, 2013 at 3:04 am #

    Thank you so much! It means a lot that you liked my project. This is a wonderful opportunity for me to pursue my passion for baking, and to learn many valuable lessons along the way.

  5. Maral February 4, 2013 at 3:16 am #

    Thank you! I really appreciate the compliment. I hope that you have a chance to visit one of my stands in LA! Definitely follow me on Facebook to see where I'll be and when. 🙂

  6. Maral February 4, 2013 at 3:22 am #

    Thank you so much, Rita! This project has really opened up my eyes to the business of baking. I don't know about pursuing baking as a career yet, but I can barely wait until my next pop-up stand. Maybe you can visit me one time, and try a chocolate souffle cake. 😉

  7. Mary @ Sifting Focus February 4, 2013 at 11:33 pm #

    Great senior project Maral! Everything looks beautiful and enticing. I know the work that goes into meeting a baking deadline. It can be quite pressure filled. I have a feeling you pulled it off very calm, cool, and collected. I'll be watching for word on your next pop-up location.

  8. Maral February 6, 2013 at 2:32 am #

    Thanks Mary! Yes, meeting a baking deadline is quite stressful, but it all pays off in the end when you watch people enjoy your treats. Definitely follow me on Facebook to see where I'll be popping up. I hope to see you soon!

  9. Sausan Hanifah February 26, 2013 at 12:46 pm #

    It's really inspiring blog! Love at the first sight <3Wanna follow each other with GFC? Please let me know :)

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