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 firstname.lastname@example.org. I cannot wait to see how my business grows in the coming months!