How to Ship a Cake for a Special Event
You can ship cakes to people across huge distances. This can expand your business and make you more money.
But first, take a look at this guide to learn how to ship a cake safely.
Pick Your Cake
When you’re shipping a cake, dense, moist cakes are always a better choice. Things like pound cakes, carrot cakes, and fruitcakes tend to ship well. Though you can ship any type of cake, light cakes are much more likely to crumble and break during the trip.
Cakes steeped in things like syrups and liqueur are also ideal shipping cakes. Because they are infused with the syrup, these cakes are less likely to fall apart.
If your cake has some kind of cream filling, you’ll need to make sure you ship it correctly, especially if the cream is dairy based. Anything made from eggs or other dairies must be refrigerated at all times.
This doesn’t mean you can’t ship these cakes, but it does mean you’ll need to make sure you keep the cake at the right temperature during shipment. If you don’t, the filling can spoil and give your clients food poisoning.
Pick Your Frosting
Again, if this frosting is dairy based, you’ll need to ensure your cake stays properly cooled during the shipping process.
But you should avoid shipping cakes with delicate, fluffy frosting or a lot of intricate designs. These might not hold up well during the trip.
For example, the frosting on your cake can start melting if the temperature gets too warm. This will leave whoever opens the cake with a sticky, slimy, mess.
Fondant holds up a lot better. It will hold its shape and won’t stick to the packaging if things get a little warm.
If you have delicate or intricate cakes, save those ones for hand deliveries only. Shipping cakes like that will only lead to disappointed customers and a damaged reputation.
Prepare Your Cake for Shipment
You should always freeze a cake before you ship it.
This will actually set the icing in place and help the cake stay together and keep its shape. It also keeps the cake cool, which will, in turn, keep the cake fresh.
You should put the cake in the freezer at least 12 to 24 hours before you’re ready to package it. This will ensure its completely frozen through.
Once frozen, wrap the cake in plastic wrap so it’s completely covered and wrap that layer in aluminum foil. This will both give the cake some support and keep the cold temperatures inside the wrapping.
The cake will start to thaw during shipment, but that’s what you want. Thawing will keep the cake moist and fresh.
How to Ship a Cake
Becuase you want the cake to arrive at its final destination in good condition, you must package cakes very carefully and treat them like a fragile item (because they actually are).
These shipping instructions will help your cake stay in one piece during the delivery.
Put the Cake in a Styrofoam Cooler
A styrofoam cooler will keep the cake from getting too warm.
First, put the cake in the cooler. Then line the cake with some kind of frozen gel packs to keep the cooler nice and cold.
For the best results, put the cooler in the refrigerator before packaging the cake. This way the cooler will already be the temperature you want, and the gel packs will work better.
If you can’t find a styrofoam cooler, you can also…
Put the Cake in a Specially Designed Cake Box
These are essentially the same things as styrofoam coolers.
They are made from foam insulation so the inside will stay cool, but they are also cut to the exact shape of a cake. Most of them also come with compartments in the bottom for frozen gel packs.
Put the Cake and Cooler in Another Box
Whatever cooler you decide to use, putting the whole thing in a cardboard box is your next step.
Spread a layer of foam peanuts on the bottom of the cardboard box. Having these peanuts underneath the cake will keep it from sliding around during shipment.
Place the cooler on top of the foam peanuts and fill in any remaining gaps with more foam peanuts. When the box is completely full and secure, place another layer of foam peanuts on top of the cooler as well.
This should prevent the cooler from moving and damaging the cake.
Tape the Box Shut
Use packing tape, and make sure you put several layers over every seam. The last thing you want is your only layer of tape popping off and spilling your foam cooler and cake into the back of a truck somewhere.
Mark the Package
The cake should not be turned upside down, so you must mark which side of the package is the top.
You can either do this with stickers or a permanent marker.
Write the phrase “THIS SIDE UP” on every side of the box and include arrows that point to the top. You should also mark the box as perishable and fragile.
Choosing the Right Shipping Method
Obviously, you want your cake to get to your client as fast as possible. A longer shipping time only means a bigger risk of your cake getting damaged.
Though the cake could probably last a one or two day shipping time, you should get same day shipping as often as possible. If you can’t do this, your next best bet is overnight shipping.
This will minimize the shipping time and make sure your cake stays in good condition for your client.
Let Your Client Know Your Plan
As you’re considering how to ship a cake, make sure your client knows what to expect. Tell them what kinds of cake you can ship, how long the shipping will take, and how they can expect the cake to arrive.
Because the cakes are frozen, your client should wait until the cakes thaw out and reach room temperature before eating.
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