Aimee’s Pretty Palate: Bake up summer fun

Photos by Aimee Broussard

School is out and the kids are already bored. You’ve declared that if you hear “what are we going to doooooo today?” just one more time, you’re sure to lose your marbles. And while the thought of turning on the oven isn’t the most appealing thing in the world, a summer bake sale might be just the ticket to cure those summertime blues.

Create some homemade sweet treats to go along with your classic lemonade stand and watch your child’s entrepreneurship wheels start turning while teaching some basic business skills like marketing, sales and even accounting while you’re at it!

A bake sale isn’t a bake sale without cupcakes, and my Classic Yellow Cake Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream are a simple, easy addition. Our “Carmen’s Cupcakes” sale sold out in a record 30 minutes when we set up our cutely themed neighborhood cupcake shop.

My Birthday Cake Cookies don’t have to be just for birthdays. They’re easy to make, fabulously sprinkled and perfect for stacking and selling in larger quantities.

And if you’re really wanting to bring home some bake sale success, offer some semi-homemade Mini Cherry Pies in cutely decorated pie boxes and, I’m telling you, they’ll fly off the table. Up the presentation factor even more by placing a bit of themed fabric into each pie box and your customers will be left wondering when your bakery will be opening.

Tag me on social media if you decide to bake up some summer fun of your own!  I love seeing your creations.


CLASSIC YELLOW CAKE CUPCAKES
Quick Tips for Bake Sale Success
Decorate: Make sure your sale area is neat and tidy and your baked goods are nicely decorated—they’ll sell better!
Elevate: Creating varied heights using cake stands and serving trays will help your goodies stand out.
Label: Not only will labeling help with keeping your bake sale looking professional, it will also alert anyone with food allergies.
Bundle: Consider grouping baked goods together to garner higher profit. Rather than offering 1 cookie for 50 cents, consider a stack of cookies neatly packaged for $3 instead.
Package: Individually packaged treats look better, the bugs stay out, and a cupcake being sent home in a cupcake container (see my website for some DIYs) will encourage people to purchase now even though they’ll be enjoying later.
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
2 sticks butter, softened
1½ cups sugar
4 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
¾ cup milk
Chocolate Buttercream:
3 cups confectioners’ sugar
13 cup butter, softened
2 tsp. vanilla extract
3 oz. unsweetened baking chocolate, melted, cooled
3 to 4 Tbsp. milk
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare muffin tins by lining with cupcake liners. Set aside. Sift together flour, baking powder and salt; set aside. Using an electric mixer, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs 1 at a time; stir in vanilla. Alternate adding flour mixture with milk to butter mixture, mixing until just incorporated (don’t overmix). Divide batter into prepared muffin tins, filling each about ¾ full. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting.
To make Chocolate Buttercream, in medium bowl, beat confectioners’ sugar and butter with an electric mixer on low speed until well combined. Stir in vanilla and chocolate. Gradually beat in milk 1 tablespoon at a time to make frosting smooth and spreadable. If frosting is too thick, add more milk. If frosting becomes too thin, add a small amount of confectioners’ sugar.
Makes 24 cupcakes.

BIRTHDAY CAKE COOKIES
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup light brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2½ cups all-purpose flour
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. baking soda
½ cup white chocolate morsels
¼ cup rainbow sprinkles
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugars. Add egg and vanilla extract; beat until light and fluffy. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, salt and baking soda. Add flour mixture to butter mixture, a little at a time, until just combined.  Fold in white chocolate morsels and rainbow sprinkles. With a cookie scoop, drop dough balls onto a parchment-lined baking sheet (or a silicone baking mat), about 2 inches apart. Use fingers to gently flatten each one. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until edges are light brown. Allow to cool for 5 minutes on baking sheet before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
Makes 24 cookies.

MINI CHERRY PIES
1 box refrigerated pie crust, containing 2 pieces
2 (14½-oz.) cans pitted tart red cherries (packed in water)
1½ cups sugar
¼ cup cornstarch
1 Tbsp. butter
½ tsp. almond extract
Roll out both of refrigerated pie crusts. Lightly spray bottoms of a pan with 4 individual-size pie molds. (My baking pan was for mini pies and included cutters for bottom and top decoration of pies. You could also use a jumbo cupcake pan.) Line bottoms of pie molds with enough pie crust to extend up sides and crimp at the top. Set aside while you prepare the filling.
To make filling, drain cherries but reserve liquid. In a medium saucepan, combine sugar and cornstarch. Gradually stir in reserved liquid. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until mixture begins to thicken and bubble; reduce heat. Cook and stir for 2 minutes more. Remove from heat completely and stir in cherries, butter and almond extract.
Top each individual pie crust with cherry pie filling. With remaining pie crust, either cut out another circle to place on top of your pie (be sure to vent) or create a lattice or other decoration. Bake at 350 degrees for 18 to 20 minutes.
Makes 4 mini pies.

Aimee Broussard is a Southern food blogger and award-winning author. Her recent cookbook Picnics, Potlucks & Porch Parties debuted exclusively on QVC. Join Aimee for weekly recipes with a side of Southern hospitality on her blog, aimeebroussard.com.

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