Birthdays and anniversaries provide ample opportunities to cross-merchandise and showcase your cake shop’s best promotional efforts.

One great example involves offering party supplies that complement your cakes. At Cake Life Bake Shop in Philadelphia, chef/owners Nima Etemadi and Lily Fischer sell eye-catching Meri Meri party supplies, including 6-inch birthday candles and party hats. “Being a bit of a one-stop shop is important,” Fischer says.

Thanks to the clever chocolatiers at Let Them Eat Candles, cake shoppers can now offer customers a new way to top party cakes and cupcakes with premium milk or dark chocolate candles, festively decorated in 12 colorful candy designs. These edible artisan candles are the brainchild of architect/mom Loree Sandler, and are available at

Bakery owners including John Lupo at Grandma’s Bakery in White Bear Lake, Minnesota, and John Roeser of Roeser’s Bakery in Chicago recognize the importance of offering party supplies that add profits for your bakery. Roeser’s has a party shop right next door to its bakery, offering convenience for customers who want to fill all their needs in one shopping trip.

Other creative promotional ideas include happy hours. 3 Women and an Oven, based in Overland Park, Kansas, conducts a variety of creative promotions that include happy hours that feature cocktails paired with unique flavors of French macarons (champagne, piña colada). One of the groups the bakery works with locally is Top Shelf Bartending Services, a popular company for Kansas City weddings. Collaborations like this one help increase business and boost creativity in product development.

Image: 3 Women and an Oven

In other ongoing projects at 3 Women and an Oven, special weekly promotions like Throwback Thursdays (when a dozen babycakes go on sale for $15) and Cupcake Tuesdays (six cupcakes for $12) help spur instore sales throughout the week. “Having specials are a way to say thank you to our customers and bring in business,” co-owner Jayne Torline says.

Making colorful fondant cake decorations (like fun animals, owl faces or striped bow ties) that customers can see in the front display case and choose to add to their favorite cakes. These fondant decorations sell from $1 apiece to $7 each. This serves as another way the bakery helps customers create one-of-a-kind experiences.

Beyond birthdays, be on the lookout for special corporate anniversaries that may want a special cake for their celebration.

Wrangler, the iconic manufacturer of blue jeans, recognized its 70th anniversary last year by holding a special “Jeansboro” Day in its home city of Greensboro, North Carolina, and Wrangler asked local bakery Easy Peasy Decadent Desserts to create a unique cake for the event.

The bakery decided to create a pair of life-sized edible jeans sculptures. The desserts were inspired by some local art around the city depicting Wrangler jeans. To make the sculptures, Traci and Erik Rankins sculpted legs from a mixture of rice cereal and melted marshmallow. Then, they covered it in white chocolate and modeling chocolate. Rankins referenced photos of models wearing Wrangler jeans to get the details as life-like as possible, including creases. The process took more than 100 hours to complete.