Sunday, 1 April 2012

Is all Unwrapped!

Unwrapped has been and gone and now all I have left is wonderful memories of my first market debut! Although it certainly was questionable at some points leading up to the grand event.

When I first registered for Unwrapped, it never dawn on me how much work would actually be involved. I honestly thought that I would just rock up on the day with a batch of cupcakes and I would be set. And at that time, it was still months away (so in my mind, I still had heaps of time to prepare). But how wrong I was! Unwrapped crept up on me like … I cannot think of an appropriate analogy … but you get my drift – one minute I was registering for the event scheduled in two months’ time and before I knew it, it was next Sunday.

The week leading up to Unwrapped is now a distant memory (which I am forcefully trying to block out of my mind). I was staying up to the wee hours of the morning making cupcake toppers (I think I made over 2,000 cupcake toppers for the event in total). And to top it off, my full-time was absolutely hectic, so I was pulling long hours there as well. And to top all of that off, I mixed up my baking scheduled and had scheduled a wedding cupcake arrangement for the Thursday of that week (the photo below is of the wedding cupcake arrangement I made). Ahhh, thinking about how hectic that week was gives me heart palpitations.

Lucky my brother and sister-in-law stepped in and helped me out. I left them with decorating and signage responsibilities. I told them that all I wanted to do was bake and I needed them to take charge of the rest. And boy oh boy, did they! That week, my brother and sister-in-law, while maintaining their full-time work and taking care of their two beautiful children, spent their evenings sourcing materials to decorate my stall, so that I could focus on the baking side of things. Check out how awesome my stall looked.

Believe it or not, up until the Friday leading up to the grand event, I was still making fondant toppers. I was so concerned that I would not have enough toppers that I did not even think about the possibility that I would not have time to bake enough cupcakes (there is little method to my madness). That Friday night, I went through 2kgs of fondant and I slept for about two hours.

On the Saturday, I had a number of helpers come by to assist in the madness. Being the control freak that I am, my lovely girlfriends Dayna, Sybil and Rohini forced their assistance on me. They knew that I would never ask for help, so they just took it upon themselves to help. I am very grateful that they did because I doubt I would have got everything done in time. So yes, I owe them big time. The girls were fantastic, they helped me packaged the cake pops, fold boxes and stick my ‘Top the Cupcake’ labels on the boxes. :)

Wanting my bake goods to be as fresh as possible, I baked everything on the Saturday. I made the cake pops on Saturday midday and began baking the cupcakes at 8PM and baked through the night to the morning. Yes, I did not sleep in the name of fresh cupcakes! I baked about 600 cupcakes all up and began icing the cupcakes at about 5AM. I thought I would have ample time to ice the cupcakes as I did not actually have to be at Unwrapped until 10AM to set up (once again, how wrong I was).

As you can guess from the tone of my blog, I did not have enough time to ice all the cupcakes. Five hours was simply not enough to make six different types of icings, pipe the icing and decorate 600 cupcakes! Not to mention pack the car and make myself look remotely decent. Cutting a long story short, I only got around to decorating 500 cupcakes and left 100 cupcakes at home not iced and looking a wee bit sad that they did not make the cut.

In true Tina style, I was running around like a headless chook scrambling to get to Unwrapped on time to set up the stall. I got there with 10 minutes to spare before all the loading cars were escorted out of the premises. Talk about cutting it thin! Believe it or not, I had such a great plan of attack for how I would be uber organised and have everything set up in time and that there would none of this last minute business. For instance, I would be there for set up at 10AM with half the cupcakes and have everything ready to go by 11AM (one hour before the event). Half way through the day Brendyn would drop off the remaining half of cupcakes and by 6PM we would pack up. All this seemed great in theory, in reality this was most definitely not the case.

During the hour of set up, as my brother, sister-in-law, sister and I were running around trying to dress the stall, we ready had customers inquiring about the baked goods. Not wanting to shoo away customers, I tried to entertain people where I could and allow for a few sales. Once the market officially opened, there was not a quiet moment at the stall. Lucky I had both my sister-in-law and sister serving. It was absolutely chocker block. We were selling cupcakes and cake pops like it was going out of fashion! At about 1.15PM (an hour into the event), my sister-in-law looked at me and said I had to call Brendyn to drop off the remaining cupcakes. Which he did at about 1.30PM. After looking at the remaining cupcakes, my sister-in-law and I knew that we would not last long with the current amount of cupcakes that we had. I had to make an executive decision, do I stay and serve and we would most likely run out of cupcakes by 3PM or do I go home and bake more cupcakes? I decided to go home and bake more cupcakes!

I was not too concerned because I knew I had about 100 cupcakes left at home not iced. But being the extremely organised person that Brendyn is, and the extremely supporting husband that he is, he cleaned up the house after I left it to set up for Unwrapped. During his cleaning craze, he had thrown out the cupcakes that were not iced, thinking I would not need them. This is when panic mode kicked in. I got home and used that kitchen aid like no one’s business. I smashed out 200 cupcakes in 2 hours and rushed back to Unwrapped.

When I returned to the market, my sister and sister-in-law looked exhausted! They were run off their feet and the energetic smile that was on their face that morning was slowly drifting away. At the end of the market, there were only a few cake pops and cupcakes left unsold.

Although it was a painful experience leading up to Unwrapped, I found it incredibly rewarding on the day. Watching people enjoy my baked good and the joy that it gave them made it all worth it. I had such a fantastic time (the short time that I was there) and it is an experience that I will definitely be willing to do again.  I would not have been able to do this without the support of my family and friends. So big thank you to Brendyn, Khoa, Ade, Gina, Dayna, Sybil, Rohini and Ash for helping me out despite me being the baking crazy that I am! 

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