Mid-November I was surfing the interwebulator looking at local event sites to catchup on what was happening in the area and came upon Love Nunhead, a great site for all things happening in Nunhead. While browsing I saw that there was a £3 Bazaar happening in the Salvation Army hall on 13th December. As you know I haven’t done a market stall since starting the business and I thought this could be a good one to start with so I sent an email before I could talk myself out of it! And, if you have been following me on the Twitter and Facebook machines you will know that I was successful in getting a stall. This was three weeks before the event and in that time I have my birthday (50, eek) and was going to New York which left me very little time for planning.
Hence the week before the bazaar was filled with planning, organising and doing. I had to think about how the stall would work, design, what the cakes would be displayed on, signage and then. of course, the baking of the cakes. It was a lot to think about in a short space of time. I want to do more markets next year so I wanted to make sure that the design would work for future stalls but also not spend a huge amount at this early stage, it would evolve over time. The basics were easy: red wipe clean tablecloth, various cake plates and stands that I have been collecting, apron with C & C logo on it (a birthday present). I also bought some wooden crates (three that fit into each other) with a chalk board on one end and used one of these to house my lebkuchen. My brother sent me a hamper when my niece came to stay and the wicker basket was added to the display. Lots of different objects but they all worked together to give a nice vintage feel to the stall.
Signage was one thing that I didn’t want to spend lots on at this stage as I need to decide what it is I want. When we were in New York we went into Anthropologie and saw these giant wooden letters which gave me the idea of getting letters for the stall. I found some on ebay, pale wood ones that can be decorate if I want to but look really good as they are.
And then there were the cakes. How many? What types? Whole cakes? Small cakes? Christmassy? Turns out, all of the above. The menu was: Red Velvet Cake, Espresso Martini Cake, Spiced Lingonberry Cake, Pandoro, Salted Caramel Brownies, Mince Pies, Christmas Tree Cookies, Baci di Dama (packs of 6) and Lebkuchen (packs of 6). The Lebkuchen and Bac di dama were made in advance as they keep very well and I made the brownies on Thursday but pretty much all the baking was done on the day before the bazaar. I started at 7am and the last thing came out of the oven at 7.30pm, it was a long day but I was very happy with what I produced and there were no major disasters. Well, ok, there was the stollen. I made some mini stollens a couple of weeks before (they are supposed to improve with age, like a fruit cake) and when I went to pack them I had a taste and they were stale. They went in the bin, bit of a waste but best that I found out before I sold them.
The bazaar didn’t start until 12md so we didn’t have to get there until about 10.30 so the morning was spent sorting out all the other things I needed to bring: knives, bags, waxed paper, pen, notebook, float, gloves etc. I managed to get a really good pitch on the ground floor and set up fairly quickly and was ready to greet the public at 12md.
The day went really well in the end. It was a slow start so I cut up one of the brownies and offered it as a tasting and it certainly helped sell the brownies, people kept coming back and I was sold out by early afternoon. The Red Velvet cake was also a winner, once it was sliced it just went really quickly. In fact, I was left with just a few slices of the espresso and lingonberry cakes, some mice pies and cookies but everything else went! The only cake that was a mistake was the Pandoro, I only sold two slices, although it did bring people over to the stall as it did look very christmassy! It became a bread and butter pudding and was a real treat!
Lots of my local friends came down to support me and bought cake but on the whole it was all the lovely people of Nunhead who helped make the day a success, thank you and hope you all enjoyed your cakes.[read more]