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Cupcake Experiment: How (Not) to Ship a Cupcake


Cupcake #1 in Padded Mailer
Want to buy cupcakes online? It's possible, but it's gonna cost you to ship them. And what if you want just one? Not possible; of the few online retailers who will ship cupcakes, rarely will they sell them in quantities less than 9 or 10. If you ask us, that's a lot of commitment for cupcakes. So, with a goal of figuring out what might be an easier way to ship cupcakes--say, to a buddy for a "thinking of you" present or perhaps a care package to a faraway relative--the Cakespy crew recently did a cupcake shipping experiment, packing and shipping cupcakes in four different ways to see what might work and what definitely would not. Here's the rundown:

Who did it? Mr. and Mrs. Cakespy (a couple of serious troublemakers)


What did we do? We shipped 4 parcels containing cupcakes, each packaged in a different way, to see which ones would arrive in the best condition. (Note: To ease our holiday-stressed budget, the cakes were all from an economy-sized box of "Fun Cakes with Buttercreme Icing"--their spelling--from the local QFC grocery store; the cupcakes themselves were of a medium size, so this experiment might not turn out the same with jumbo or mini cupcakes).

Why did we do this? To see how well cupcakes need to be packaged to ship safely...and to see how they arrive if not packed carefully. And, you know, for fun.

Where did we ship the cupcakes? For ease of time and budget, we shipped each package from ourselves to ourselves (so each parcel would remain within the Seattle city limits). The transit time in this case should be just one or two days.

How did we do this? We packed the boxes as follows:


Shipping Cupcake #1Cupcake #1 in Padded Mailer

Box 1 (Above): In the first package, we packed a cupcake in a padded envelope just by itself, no additional packing material. Not so sure about this one. Shipped via first class; total cost $1.31.



Shipping Cupcake #2, in Cup-a-cakeCupcake #2 being packed

Box 2 (Above): This one we have high hopes for; an individual cupcake packed in the Cup-a-cake carrier with bubble wrap all around it, in a box. Shipped via first class, $2.83.



Shipping Cupcake #3Shipping Cupcake #3

Box 3 (Above): This cupcake was wrapped in tinfoil and surrounded by newsprint, then
packed in a box. Risky, or will it be OK? We wonder. Shipped via first class; total cost $2.49.



Shipping Cupcakes #4Shipping Cupcakes #4

Box 4 (Above): we tried putting a few cupcakes (to avoid them sliding around) in an airtight container, then padded around it with newsprint. Seemed pretty safe. Shipped via priority mail (it was cheaper); total cost: $4.60.


*Note: the shipping method for each box was the most economical, and none of the parcels were marked as fragile or given any special treatment.

And as for the results? Well, at the time of this writing all of the parcels were currently in transit; check back on Friday to see the results! But in the meantime...which one do you think will arrive in the best condition?


Ready to Ship


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Reader Comments (31)

Okay, this is real dedication to the cupcake cause. Also kinda nutty. :-)

I so canNOT believe you even bothered with the padded envelope. I'm still giggling just thinking about it.


December 18 | Unregistered Commenterredactedrecipes

I can't wait. I want to know now!

December 18 | Unregistered CommenterPhil

omg, you guys are hilarious.

:) I can't wait until Friday!

December 18 | Unregistered CommenterStephanie

i never would have thought of shipping cupcakes. interesting idea. good post.

December 18 | Unregistered CommenterJerri

Not sure which one will arrive in the best shape (my guess is the multiple cupcakes in one Gladware container), but I hope for your sake they don't get delayed in the mail because of the holidays. I wouldn't want to see those cupcakes after a couple of weeks ::giggle::

December 18 | Unregistered CommenterColumbus Foodie

Looks like one cupcake was packaged in a pair of big red lips.

December 19 | Unregistered CommenterCookie Jill

I laughed when i read you guys shipped it to your self :-)
I think the first one which is packed seperate will arrive safely.
Fingers cross

December 19 | Unregistered CommenterHappy cook

i have to weigh in: a) no way that cupcake in the envelope is going to survive. b) because i believe in the underdog, i'm voting for foil surrounded by newsprint, because i will be thrilled if it works! look forward to your results report!

December 19 | Unregistered CommenterJane

FABULOUS IDEA!!!!! Loved package #1! FUNNY! I'm thinking SQUISHED cupcake on that one! Can't WAIT for the results!!

December 19 | Unregistered CommenterRetro Bakery

I just want to see the shot of the inside of the padded envelope!

How funny...okay, the individual cupcake holder HAS to be the winner.

For perfectly safe cupcake arrival, you can order cupcake jewelry at www.RockerJewlz.com...no worries on how THEY will arrive!

December 19 | Unregistered CommenterRockerJewlz

What an awesome post, I can't wait to see your results! I have to admit, I would have never even imagined that shipping (frosted!) cupcakes in the mail would be possible!

December 19 | Unregistered Commenterbazu

can you feel my admiration? i adore this experiment. can't wait to see the results. i'm voting that the single cupcake in the carrying case will do the best...but...you can never tell when dealing with such volatile goods...the frosting explosion on the one in the padded envelope is going to be a real sight to behold i think.

December 19 | Unregistered CommenterEmilie

lol, brilliant! I must say though, I fear for Box One.

December 19 | Unregistered CommenterAlicia

Suspense can be a good thing.

December 19 | Unregistered CommenterMaria

how have i never seen YOUR blog before! the only thing that ranks higher than cake in my book, is funny and cake!

i'll be back. sure could use some cake.

It must have been so fun doing this!! :)Thanks for taking the time to try out this experiment! I can't wait for the results either. My vote is for the multi-packed cupcakes in the plastic container! Yes, I know the one in the single plastic container will work too, but hey...receiving more than one cupcakes is even better!!

December 19 | Unregistered CommenterEsmeralda

My money is on the 4 packed in the Gladware container. The first one has no chance and the foil one will look ugly from being smooshed by the foil. And the Cup-a-Cake? That one can go either way.

December 19 | Unregistered CommenterCyndi

I think package 2....gr8 idea for an experiment .. just wished some of those cupcakes were mailed to me :P

December 19 | Unregistered Commenterthe creatist

Defintly the cup-a-cake carrier!

December 20 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

I am anxious to see the results. What a fun experiment!

December 20 | Unregistered CommenterVeg-a-Nut

So funny! When I send cupcakes home with guests I put them in a plastic Solo cup (you know the ones we used to use in college so no one knew what was in it!!) and top it with plastic wrap...and if it's a tall glass, I make it two cupcakes, frostings touching in the cup! I suppose you could do this and then ship them in a box too...

December 20 | Unregistered CommenterKaci

Ann: Yes, I guess we are kinda nutty! But curious too!

Phil: well, all the packages came, so you'll know soon!

Stephanie: we were pretty tickled with ourselves...can't wait to post the results!

Jerri: As we learned, they're hard to handle when shipping! We had to be very delicate with them. :-) We can't speak for the post office though...

Columbus Foodie: They did all arrive! :-) We'll be posting the results later tonight for the friday post!

Cookie Jill: we never kiss cupcakes and tell. :-) Just kidding! Maybe we had one..or two...

Happy Cook: See if you were right tomorrow!

Jane and Retro Bakery: Ye have little faith in the padded mailer! OK, we don't have high hopes for that one either. It's funny though :-)

EB: We can't wait to see those photos up either!

Rockerjewlz: no, I guess these are a little more...eh...volatile as goods than your jewelry!

Bazu: No, a lot of people don't think of it! We became obsessed with the idea recently when bakeries started shipping cupcakes.

December 20 | Unregistered CommenterCakespy

Emilie: I think that their being volatile goods was a lot of the fun! He he he.

Alicia: Once again, ye have little faith!

Maria: We were practically peeing our pants with anticipation to see how they'd arrive!

Practically perfect: Yes, this is the place for internet cake fixes!

Esmeralda: I like the way you think.

Cyndi: yep, we'll see! :-)

Creatist: Maybe we'll do another one next time and send them all to you! :-)

Anonymous...yes, we shall see.

Veg-a-Nut: Thanks! We're all excited too.

Kaci: thanks for the hot tip! Love that idea.

December 20 | Unregistered CommenterCakespy

This is facinating, I can't wait to see how it worked out. If you have a winner you might have just opened up a world of deliciousness for my friends and relatives.

December 20 | Unregistered CommenterNatalie
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