How to Feed 500 People Dessert for Under $100

A few months ago I signed up to provided dessert for 500 people for a school function. And since Mrs Active Wear’s daughter and The Girl attend the same school, I figured she would LOVE to help me.

Basically, I sign us up for crap all the time.  It’s kinda fun.  My favorite part is when I call Mrs Active Wear up and tell her what we are doing.  She yells expletives into the phone, tells me where to go, and then says I’m on crack and that she’s not going to help.

It’s awesome.

We are such a good team.

Basically, this is how we work it.

We each bake 250 cupcakes in our own ovens once the kids are off to school.  As the cupcakes come out of the oven, we  then place the cupcakes in strawberry boxes we scored for free from Costco.

Once all the cupcakes are baked, Mrs. Active Wear brings her cupcakes over to my house and we then line up the boxes on the kitchen counter.  I frost, and she decorates.  It took us about 40 minutes to frost and decorate 500 cupcakes. We have it down to a science.

Once all the cupcakes are finished, we simply stack the cupcake boxes and transport them to the school.  The best part about using cardboard fruit boxes, is that they are sort of like Legos.  They connect together and you can stack them as high as you want.  Plus, you don’t have to worry about hanging around and talking to a bunch of soccer moms to get your cupcake containers back either.

You can just drop off and go.

How much did all this cost?

20 Boxes of Cake Mix $9.80
5 gallon tub Butter Cream frosting $52
2 bags Mini Oreos $3
12 Hershey Bars $5.04
1 box Chocolate Wafers $3.99
500 Cupcake Liners $9.99
Vegetable Oil $9.89
5 Dozen Eggs $4.99
$98.70 {I could of done this for much less, but I was given a $100 gift card to a specific store and had to purchase the supplies there}.

I only have 1 more major school function to bake for and then I’m off the hook until fall.  Summer vacation here I come!


P.S.  If you need a HUGE quantity of frosting, ask the bakery manager at your local grocery store if they can order you a 5 gallon bucket.  It is shelf stable and runs anywhere between $32-$50.

For more cupcake decorating ideas, check out the book Betty Crocker Big Book of Cupcakes.  It’s packed full of great ideas. Amazon currently has it on sale for $13.57.

Also, check out this Cupcake Courier 36-Cupcake Plastic Storage Container.  I own several of these and highly recommend them.

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  1. Megan says

    Oh my… How long did it take you to bake 250 cupcakes? (That has got to be the time consuming part…)

    • Mavis says

      LOL… I have no idea. I started baking cupcakes when I woke up and continued baking in between blogging, gardening and laundry. I know we were done about 11 am though. We are pretty speedy.

  2. Crystal says

    I wish we could bake for our schools. Our school district won’t allow any homebaked goodies for any function. I just hate buying cupcakes for my daughters birthday to share during snack time when I could make them healthier at home.

  3. LaToya says

    LOL @ having to talk to the soccer moms. They’re all a bunch of cliquey b*tches. Oh my did I just type that? I’m sorry, please don’t ban me from your blog like the FF wenches did. Yikes, that was naughty too. Sorry, I’ll be better on my next post.
    Love the fruit box idea though….and those cuppies look summm good….mmm….

  4. Tricia says

    I do this to my friend all the time. She works full-time so I am at times her nag and secretary. Haha! Great blog!

  5. Desi says

    Wow! Your cupcakes always turn out looking so stinkin cute! Wish Costco wasn’t 45 min. away, love the boxes idea!

  6. vickie says

    I think you are really lucky Miss ActiveWear is still accepting your calls! They do look so good -professionals for sure!

  7. Theresa McGallicher says

    Thank you so much this post! I was tasked with providing dessert for 500 at a Spring Gala fundraiser that my daughter’s high school held to raise money for their arts and music programs last month. I could not get any local restaurants to donate desserts, though we did get some donations from grocery stores. I used the gift cards to buy all their day old baked goods, then got my mom to help me bake and decorate 250 cupcakes following your instructions. Luckily I already had a lot of cakes mixes in my pantry that were free or cost pennies from couponing. If I hadn’t found your blog however, I would not have been inspired to pull it off!

  8. Denise says

    So the 5-gallon bucket would frost 500 cupcakes? And what did you use the chocolate wafers for? (I’m guessing that’s crushed oreos on top of the cupcakes?) Thank you!!

    • Mavis Butterfield says

      Yes, and then some! You can finely crushed oreos or chocolate wafers to dust the top of the cupcakes.

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