How To Shop Discounts At The Bakery

How To Shop Discounts At The Bakery

Old Bread? Or Stellar Deal?

I’ll be the first to admit it. I am a terrible baker.  All those t.v. professionals with their fluffy breads and crispy crust make my envious side rear it’s ugly head.   Those videos on Facebook where they show you the simplest bread recipes full of some delicious filling like Nutella, cream cheese, fruit, spices and sugar are like big slaps in the face to me.   Oh how I wish I could bake!
My husband says that if I would follow the recipe exactly, and I practiced a lot, I could be a Baker if I really wanted to be.   But since we’re already being honest here, I am easily frustrated and deterred.   
But that’s not what this post is about.   Since I am so unskilled as a Baker, I have had to adopt a few strategies here and there to appear a Baker and domestic diva!  So today, I reveal to you my shopping strategies to buying discount baked goods. Otherwise, I am certain that a divorce would ensue with a life void of these sweet treats.

Baking A Cake Vs. Buying A Cake

The average cost of a box of cake mix is $1.  Then you have to incorporate your costs of eggs averaging $1.50 for one dozen or about $0.13 each egg.  Some recipes call for butter or oil as well averaging about another $.25.  Sprinkles are about $1 for a whole container and you will probably use about 1/3 of a bottle or $.33.  Premade icing costs about $1 as well.  For cupcakes this size, you would use between half and a whole container of store bought icing.Add in food coloring costs and the fact most cake mixes use water but sometimes milk, and you’re paying this cost or upwards of over $3 per dozen.  So here’s the exact math:

Cake mix: $1
3 Eggs (recipe on back of cake mix): $0.39
Milk (water is free of course): $0.50
Oil or butter:  $0.50
Frosting: $1
Sprinkles: $0.33

Grand total (not counting electricity costs): $3.72

That’s why I think these cakes are such a great price!  $1.49 for 12 mini cupcakes that you didn’t have to bake or decorate, and you freeze until you’re ready to serve!

 Why buy discount cupcakes?  

I think it’s fantastic to buy discount cakes, especially cupcakes because you can stick them in your freezer for up to 6 months!  Yes, they still come out as delicious as they went in.  Any longer than 6 months in your freezer results in dried and mushy cakes.  Nasty!  To ensure a quality product before presentation, do not place in oven or the microwave.  Rather, set them on the counter about 4 hours before serving or leave overnight in the refrigerator the night before your event.  Breads, pastries and doughnuts keep for about 6 months, too.  You just need to be sure they go in a freezer bag to keep from drying out too much.  Grab some of these cakes and goodies for a quick dessert or entertain guests.  This birthday cake is a great price.  What do you do if you’re not celebrating for a year?  Start looking for birthday cakes in that 6 month window.  Any earlier than that results in a rotten birthday.  Your cake will either be too dry or too mushy.  It won’t taste anything like the bakery at all.

Personalize Your Cake Frugally

This is the clearance section for the grocery side.  Each section in a retailer has a clearance.  Sometimes, they group all the clearance in one section, but many times it’s hidden in different corners of each department within the store. There were lots of items like cereal, canned vegetables and fruit, mixes and baking supplies.  But then I found this gem!

As you can see, I found some decorating icing to write any names on cakes for just $1!  You can also become creative here.  Liam’s birthday is coming up in July.  I have been debating what to put on his cake that I bought discounted.  Maybe a #4 candle along with some firework type candles and maybe add Skylanders on here since they are his favorite.  The decorations can be a present as well.  I may find a lid like the top of a kids snack container, stick the Skylander on top with some tape and place it on the cake as to not mess up the toy for video game play.  

What To Look For In Discount Baked Goods

#1  Is the packaging intact?

The first thing you want to look for in discount baked goods is if the packaging is intact.  Any cracks in the packaging or containers that aren’t properly sealed are a health hazard.  You should avoid these at all costs.

#2  When was the product made?

The second thing to look for is when the product was made.  Often times, these products were made just a day or a few days before they have been discounted  That means they sat at the designated section and did not sell as predicted by the sales managers.  Therefore, fresh products have been made to take their place and these have been marked to make room.  If products do not sell, stores legally have to trash these items so little to no profit is better than a complete loss.  

#3  Is the product damaged on the inside or not?

The third thing you look for is if the product is damaged or not.  Sometimes, items are discounted because of melted icing or someone dropped the cake placing it on the shelf.  The item is not pleasing to the eye therefore, it is discounted for quick sale because of its appearance.  While it wouldn’t be a great choice for a birthday or a party of any kind, it would suit regular consumption just fine.  It would also be a fantastic base for starting cake pops as you need icing and crumbled up cake to make the base.  

#4  Is there mold or foreign matter on the product?

I have rarely seen this happen ever at a bakery.  Every once in a blue moon, an item is discounted because of the presence of mold.  If such an occurrence has happened to your baked item you’re examining, walk away completely.  Mold won’t hurt you in large quantities, but it does cause allergies and makes your food taste terrible.  No food is worth any discount with mold and other things in it.  Disgusting!

#5  Do I have enough room in my freezer?  And how long will it stay?

If all the other 4 conditions met your criteria, then the last question you should ask is if you have room in your freezer or refrigerator.  If you are planning on eating the product in the next 24 to 48 hours, you should be good to get the product and leave it on the counter.  If you know it will be eaten in the next 3 to 4 days, it will be fine in your refrigerator.  Anything longer than 4 days needs to be in the freezer.  Baked goods will keep in a freezer properly sealed for up to 6 months.  That doesn’t mean it has to stay in there 6 months.  If you want to eat it a week later, take it out of your freezer and eat it.  If you want to eat it in a month or two, same thing.  Cakes do not do well longer than 6 months in the freezer.  I have tried in the past and the result is either a dried cake with a mushy icing or a bland flavorless gooey mess.

Here are two examples of cakes that I bought last Sunday.  Kroger was selling these for $6.99 a piece, and I bought 1 cake for Liam’s birthday next month and the other for Michael’s birthday in October.  Liam really wants chocolate cupcakes with chocolate frosting, and I will continue to keep my eye out for them, but this cake was just too beautiful and colorful for a 4 year old to pass up.

This cake was discounted because there were multiple cakes like it that were fresher.  Mike’s cake was the same way.  

While I consider myself an okay cook, I could never buy or bake these cakes for the prices that I payed for them.  $13.98 for two cakes?  That’s usually the cost of 1 of these cakes or a small sheet cake.  That’s all I have for today, folks!  So remember to just add the discount baker’s rack to your grocery list.  You could be having delicious garlic bread or tasty cakes just as these at your table for a fraction of the cost to make them.  Until next time, folks.  See ya!

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