Piled high with icing in assorted colours, topped with melted marshmallows, frosted with nutella, decorated with roses, or even dressed up like like your favourite Pokemon, if you can’t get enough cake then you’re in luck: National Cupcake Week runs from the 18th to 24th of September. So whether you love red velvet cupcakes, classic chocolate cupcakes, banoffee pie cupcakes, carrot cake cupcakes, or any unique combinations (like shepherd’s pie “cupcakes”), there’s something for everyone in a week devoted entirely to cupcakes. It’s exciting! How do you plan to celebrate? Here’s how to prepare your business for this sweet event.
What is National Cupcake Week?
National Cupcake Week came from the minds of British Baker Magazine to celebrate Britain’s love of cupcakes. It began in September 2009, and has run ever since, celebrating exotic flavours and recipes from bakeries, supermarkets, shops, and cafes all around the UK.
The goal is to drive cupcake sales and help the industry innovate, creating new flavours and pushing the boundaries.
What happened last year?
Last year the cupcake championships were held at the AB Mauri’s Center of Excellence in Corby, Northamptonshire on September 14th for judging, taste classes, masterclasses, and winner announcements.
There were five cupcake judging categories: Classic Cupcake, Made with Alcohol, Free From Cupcake, Made with Chocolate, and Seasonal Cupcake. Each category had 10 finalists.
The overall winner was Betty’s Craft Bakery for their Pink Champagne & Strawberry Cupcake.
The other winners were...
Seasonal Cupcake: Spring Flowers by Crumbs Bakery
Made with Chocolate: Chocolate Vanilla Doughnut by 75 Degrees Catering
Free-From Cupcake: Courgette, Lime, and Pistachio Cupcake by Mary’s Fairies
Made with Alcohol Cupcake: Pink Champagne & Strawberry Cupcake by Betty’s Craft Bakery
Classic Cupcake: Sticky Toffee Pudding by Teasy Does It
What people do for it?
Small and large bakeries enter the National Cupcake Championships, or you can simply bake, sell, and promote cupcakes that week. The hashtag was trending on Twitter last year, so it’s a good way to generate more press and attention. Be creative and come up with a few new flavours to entice customers. Post pictures on Twitter and Instagram with the hashtag #nationalcupcakeweek.
Get Involved: Ideas for all businesses
1. Create new cupcakes in your bakery: add some new creations to the menu this September.
2. Have a cupcake bake-off and judge: allow all staff to get involved in a bake-off; you may be surprised at the results.
3. Hold cupcake tastings at your business: make a set of cupcakes, and cut them into bite sized pieces (or bake mini cupcakes) and allow your staff to sample the variety.
4. Host cookery lessons: if your commercial kitchen or bakery is big enough, host cookery lessons. Teach your class how to make three unique, crowd-pleasing cupcakes to wow future dinner party guests.
5. Give cupcakes away for free to generate business buzz: nothing drives people to your business like freebies! Sure, you might generate a loss for a moment, but half the battle of getting customers to return is getting them through the door and letting them know what you do. Some freebies can help them know who you are. Plus, they may buy stuff too - like a coffee, some extra baked goods, or lunch!
6. Create a custom cupcake for cupcake week with your company logo on: for food-based and non-foodie businesses alike, you can create a custom cupcake with your own logo to promote your business.
7. Sign up for the National Cupcake Championships: small and large bakeries can vie for a top spot in each category. Winning (or even becoming a finalist in) a category generates excellent publicity for your business, and promotes National Cupcake Week too!
Don’t forget to participate in the cupcake selfie challenge by tagging @BritishBaker on Twitter. Promote your products and reach a wide audience by sharing your baked goods with British Baker and the National Cupcake Week hashtag, which trended on Twitter last year.
Not a fan of hashtagging? You can still get involved by:
Emailing Georgi Gyton at [email protected]
Following the event on Twitter: @cupcakeweek
Visiting their website: http://www.nationalcupcakeweek.co.uk
Importance of social media to promote your business’s participation in Cupcake Week
The National Cupcake week hashtag trends on Twitter so participating is a great way to engage with your audience and open up communication channels. You can promote whatever you choose to do during cupcake week. Post pictures on Instagram and Twitter to entice customers to sample your wares.
How can chefs and bakers prepare?
Chefs and bakers can revamp the menu during cupcake week. Try adding cupcakes to the pudding menu that week - perhaps a trio selection of mini cupcakes in surprising flavours, decorated with flair. You may also experiment with savory dishes, molded into cupcake shapes - a Yorkshire pudding with the trimmings “frosted” with mash, with sprinkles of parsley for garnish. Your diners will be delighted with the changes and they’ll spread the word.
How can servers, hostesses, and waitstaff prepare?
Servers, hostesses, and waitstaff can promote your cupcake products with extra enthusiasm leading up to and the week of September 18th to 24th. Be sure to post on social media to promote how you’re celebrating. Tell customers about the week and encourage them to try the updated cupcake menu, for example, and sample a cocktail or prosecco alongside it.
How can baristas and bartenders prepare?
Bartenders may be able to add cupcakes to the bar snack menu and add cocktail pairings for extra flair. Peach Bellini cupcake downed with a Bellini, anyone? White Russian, meet the Ferrero Rocher cupcake! Try a blackberry martini to accompany a key lime pie cupcake, and more! So many opportunities for creativity and promotion.
For baristas, if your coffee shop has cupcakes, when a customer orders a hot beverage, ask if they’d considered trying, say, the mocha chip cupcake to pair with their order for National Cupcake Week. Add a case full of cupcakes and promote the event throughout September, letting customers know they can eat cupcakes at your coffee shop that week!
Don’t forget to keep everyone safe.
With the excitement of cupcake week, and, perhaps, extra slippery frosting on the floor, make sure all staff are safe - from KPs, bartenders, hostesses, bakers, chefs, and more. So, whilst you’re trying to get your business’ foot firmly in-the-door this National Cupcake Week, make sure your employees have theirs firmly on the floor also, with slip resistant shoes.
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