Sunday, May 24, 2009

Can GFCF Survive a Competitive Bake Sale?

Two years ago, I was pitching stories to reporters about an innovative neurosurgical technique that stopped inoperable seizures but yesterday, I did something really complicated. I became a bake sale mom. For some, it's no big deal but since I'm still new to baking, I was a bit scared.

I helped out with a bake sale because I'm a member of a private park. It's not a fancy park with trimmed hedges and perfectly mowed lawns. The park is comfy park for your average Joe and is run mostly by volunteers who want to provide a safe place for their kids to play. To me, a mom of special needs kids, the park is indispensable because members are understanding and the enclosed area offers extra safety for my two wandering boys.

This weekend, our park held a fund-raising Memorial Day fair and volunteers were encouraged to make baked goods for sale. Bakers can use this contribution to fulfill their mandatory volunteer hours. I offered to make GFCF (and everything-F) cupcakes and the director told me that I'd get double the hours since I was using more expensive ingredients. Hooray.

I was so happy and then I thought, would anyone really want a GFCF cupcake? Possibly not, after all, no butter+no egg+no chocolate+ something obscure-sounding like sorghum may = no flavor, right? Even though I still get my volunteer hours done whether they sell or not, my pride was on the line. I decided to make a pretty card that advertised how the cupcakes were all-natural and made with organic sugar, ground flax seeds and had no preservatives. Buzzwords for healthy, right? Maybe, then, it would have a chance.

When I got to the fair to drop off my cupcakes, my heart sank. At the bake sale table, there was a sea of beautiful cupcakes, some were glazed like Krispy Kreme donuts and some were covered with eye-catching multi-colored sprinkles. I wonder how my kids feel when they see desserts like this. I also wonder if other bake sale moms feel like when they see cupcakes that are prettier than theirs. They probably don't care, I'm probably the only one whose self-esteem hangs on the sale of her cupcakes.

Of course, my cupcakes were the only ones with a sign to explain themselves, but to my surprise, they turned out to be a hit! One woman bought six in a single purchase! Celiac sufferers came up to me to thank me. Others came over to offer their praises. It seemed like there was someone avoiding something ranging from anything from dairy to refined sugar and even chocolate. It didn't even matter that my cakes were being sold at twice the price of the other cupcakes. They were sold out! Hooray!

I think my favorite part of this was having Logan and even Spencer, help me a bit with the cupcakes. It was fun for all of us and I practiced calming down and enjoying their company. Additionally, Logan has started to learn what volunteering is. He told me that when he grows up, he wants to be a volunteer. I have a feeling that he is going to be helping lots of people some day. I think that will make him happy.

Picture: my cupcakes with its little "What am I" sign with a list of ingredients (I forgot to write organic expeller-pressed palm fruit oil- whoops). I think the sign made them stand out from the crowd. These are carob cupcakes with vanilla frosting topped with India Tree sugar crystals colored with vegetable dye. (GFCFSFEF.....F...F....F)



Good for you! And congratulations on the sell-out!!! You know you have probably not only had a boost of self-esteem but also educated at least one person that healthy does not always equal bland.

Your story made me smile. I miss bake sales. People in our area are so germaphobic that bake sales are practically outlawed by the Board of Health.

Anonymous said...

Congrats on the success at the bake sale!

Anonymous said...

Well done! You know, I'm especially pleased that people who need to be ?free still stopped by to check and see if they could have something. I would definitely purchase a safe cupcake if I found one at a bakesale! Great job...and for the record they look beautiful!

Karen Tressler GFCF group

Anonymous said...

Wow they look great! Nice job! I know those sprinkles! We use them too. Go allergen free cupcakes, woo hoo!

stephaniebnd said...

I love it Jenn! I too was a "high powered" exec who traveled the world setting up computerized financial systems for multi-billion dollar industries billing in the hundreds of thousands of dollars for consulting services and I am afraid of my baked goods and what people will think. My daughter's birthday is in June and we are going to Build A Bear a few days later. I will then return with 4 other little girls to have them partake in our GF cupcakes. I hope they go over OK. It's hard to think of your child not fitting in. I do wonder how my children handle the visual aspect of all the foods they cannot have - but then again I think they handle it better than I do. I suffer from mom guilt a lot. But on the flip side they both feel better. No more tummy aches or rashes. Glad all your cupcakes sole - and at a premium too! Way to go.