The cake stall kit: what you need to take with you

The cake stall kit: what you need to take with you

For a good cake stall, you obviously need something to sell. But to run the stall, you’ll need some other stuff. As I was packing my ‘fete kit’ away after this summer’s outings (two cake stalls and contributions to a third), I thought I’d photograph it and  make a checklist for next time.

What you’ll need to take with you: checklist

  • Tablecloth
  • Serving dishes
  • Cake stand
  • Doilies / cake papers
  • Labels
  • Pens and markers
  • Breadboard and knife
  • Tongs or gloves
  • Napkins
  • Paper or plastic plates
  • Sandwich bags
  • Carrier bags
  • Clingfilm
  • Box for the money
  • Float of coins

Set up the stall with a tablecloth and serving dishes

Some venues provide tablecloths, but I always take some of my own. Plain sheets are great because they are big enough to cover the scruffiest table, and make a nice contrast to smaller, prettier decorative tablecloths. I also love a couple of big, thin, decorative Indian bedspreads because the colours are beautiful and the complicated design conceals any spillage or crumbs that get on them during the event.

For serving dishes, I take some big platters and baskets. If you line then with doilies (the pierced ones) or dish papers (the ones with a solid centre), they’ll look prettier when the produce starts to sell. If you want to be a real stickler, doilies are for sweet food and dish papers for savory.

There were some fun paper cake stands available for the Jubilee – they are cheap, pack flat, and are easy to transport. The little one in the picture only holds 8 cupcakes, but one of them set in the middle of a big platter of cupcakes helps to catch people’s eyes.

You need labels for prices and explanations

My kit has three ways to label the produce:

  • Very small labels for prices
  • Medium labels for names (to stick on jars or wrapped items)
  • A4 card (red and white in the picture) for writing big notices about what things are

I’ve also got a couple of pens for the little labels, and a pack of markers for writing on the cards.

Cut up larger cakes into slices

You’ll see a breadboard and breadknife in the picture. That’s for cutting up the larger cakes into portions. Once upon a time, people were all over the big cakes and I never had enough of them. These days, I find they get left over and the individual items such as cupcakes are more popular. If you’ve got a breadboard, you can cut up a large cake that’s not sold (or decide to sell in slices right from the start).

Breadboard and breadknife

For serving, you’ll need tongs and packing materials

A cake stall has things people will eat, and money. I hate wearing latex gloves, so I opt for using tongs to handle the food. There are a couple of pairs in the picture; I’d recommend at least one set per helper.

Some people will want to eat their purchases straight away, and it’s nice to be able to offer them a paper napkin or paper plate – especially for parents who are buying things for several children.

Others want to take things away – your best customers, usually. I have a large supply of sandwich bags for individual items, paper or plastic plates for multiple items, cling film to wrap the plates, and (not in the picture) a huge supply of carrier bags. It’s also great to have a few takeaway containers (just in shot at the top of the picture). We buy these in bulk, very cheaply, from a Chinese supermarket, or you can just save them up if you’re a takeaway eater.

Take a box for the money (and a float)

Not in the picture, but important: somewhere to stash your takings. A proper money box that locks makes it easier to give change, but an ordinary ice-cream container with a lid is fine. Just make sure you keep an eye on it.

One of the rules of cake stall is that your first customer always buys something priced at 50p and offers you a £20 note for it. So it’s helpful to have a float of £20 or £30 in coins.

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