How to Host a Cupcake Exchange

You may have heard of cookie exchanges, but wouldn’t a cupcake exchange be even tastier? Baking up and decorating a batch of cupcakes, then swapping with a group of friends who have done the same, is fun during the holidays or anytime.

A cupcake exchange or swap can be held as part of an event, such as a bazaar, potluck or party, or busy participants can simply arrange to drop off and pick up cupcakes at a common location.

If you’re organizing a cupcake exchange, come up with some “ground rules” that will make sure everyone is baking on the same page, but that won’t cramp anyone’s cupcake style. For example, do you want to require all cupcakes to have been baked from scratch? Is taste the most important factor, or are participants seeking the “eye candy” of decorations? You may decide to set a theme for the exchange. For example, a Christmas cupcake exchange could (obviously) feature all Christmas cupcakes. But you could also host a red velvet cupcake exchange, an animal-themed cupcake exchange and so on. (Or, you may aim for a variety by having someone sign up to bring chocolate cupcakes, another to bring vanilla, and so on.) Also, decide how many cupcakes each participant should provide. Typically, it’s an even exchange: With 10 participants each baking 10 cupcakes, everyone would come away with 10 different cupcakes.

First, round up participants! Spread the word that you’re organizing a cupcake exchange and give it a few weeks for word to get around. Try to get people to formally sign up or to RSVP via Evite or another method, so they are less likely bail on the project. Get phone numbers and/or emails for gentle reminders. Set a deadline and meeting or drop-off place. Suggest that people bring a box or other container in which to safely transport their acquired cupcakes (or they can just use the one they brought their own in.)

Getting together and enjoying the cupcakes together (or at least one of two of them) is the most fun, but definitely not required for a successful cupcake exchange. But if you do make it a party, be sure to share your baking and decorating secrets so everyone comes away with new ideas. You could even decorate or have a contest or raffle. And don’t forget the drinks or other refreshments to complement the cupcakes!