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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)

Jessie! You're hilarious, I'm just short of bursting out in laughter at my workplace and risking my entire reputation! Kudos!

December 20 | Unregistered Commentercupcakeculture


I think I've found a (somewhat ghetto fabulous - but functional) solution. Unless your padded envelope thing works out, then I'm totally adopting that method.

December 20 | Unregistered CommenterLook Cupcake

hahah! AWESOME!!! do you know that i JUST did a post about wishing i could figure out a way to do a cupcake swap?? it's my second to last post down. i can't wait to see how this turned out. since it's an old post, i don't have to wait in suspense! woooo!

May 29 | Unregistered Commenterjasmine

What an experiment, I will assume that the cup a cake contained cupcake will be the all around winner. I happened upon this site looking for just the information you are experimenting..what is the best way to ship cupcakes. I can't wait to see the results.

January 17 | Unregistered CommenterRonda

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July 8 | Unregistered Commenternfljersey
I'm going to vote for the one in the cup-a-cake carrier, since I own two of those carriers myself and can vouch for how well they hold a cupcake. I've had them tumbling around in my backpack all morning and they still end up basically un-smooshed. The little prongs hold the cupcake perfectly in place.

Can't wait to see the results! The one in the envelope should be hilarious.
October 18 | Unregistered CommenterAri
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