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Thursday
Dec202007

How (Not) To Ship a Cupcake: The Results

 

Experiment Roundup

What is the best way to ship a cupcake? How should you definitely not ship a cupcake? In an effort to find the truth, Cakespy recently did a cupcake experiment, shipping four parcels of cupcakes in four different ways to see which would fare best. For a quick review, this is how each of them was packed:

 

Box 1: A cupcake in a padded envelope just by itself, no additional packing material.
Box 2: An individual cupcake packed in the Cup-a-cake carrier with bubble wrap in a box.
Box 3: A cupcake wrapped in tinfoil and surrounded by newsprint, then packed in a box.
Box 4: Four cupcakes (packed this way so they would not slide around) packed in an airtight container, then padded it with newsprint and packed in a box.

 


So we shipped them off, and then we waited. Sure, we had our guesses as to the outcome, and so did you: most readers thought either the Cup-a-Cake or airtight container packages would fare best. But would there be any surprises? Only time would tell. And gratification was ours on Wednesday night, when we found the packages (above) waiting for us at our front door. Upon eagerly opening them, here’s what we found:

 

 

Crushed!

 

Experiment Roundup


Box 1, Packed in Padded Mailer (above): Before opening, we noted that the envelope was suspiciously flat, and bore a tiny grease stain on the top. This did not bode well. Upon opening it, our suspicions proved correct: the cake was crushed. However, we were amazed by how contained it had remained; the frosting was not all over the inside, but had still retained the shape (albeit flat) of a mound of cupcake frosting. It made us think of what might happen if you tried to fry a cupcake grilled-cheese style. We probably wouldn’t eat it, but have to admit this was the most fascinating one to look at.

 

 

Parcel 2: Cup a Cake

 

Parcel 2: Cup a Cake


Box 2, packed in the Cup-a-Cake carrier (above): When we found the packages at our door, we found this one resting on its side. We weren’t too worried; it had felt so secure when we'd packed it. However, upon opening...cupcake carnage! The poor cake had turned sideways in its carrier, and frosting was all over the inside. Nonetheless, once taken out of its plastic prison, although not pretty, we'd still rate it eatable.

 

 

Parcel 3: Tin foil

 

Parcel 3: Tin foil


Box 3, Packed in tinfoil (above): Actually, we were surprised by how well this one held up, considering the pliable nature of tinfoil. When we unpacked it, the bottom of the cup was a little bit scrunched on one side, and the frosting had taken on a look as if it had been decorated by an overzealous kindergartner. All in all though, it had held its shape rather impressively, and was definitely still eatable, if slightly compromised in looks.

 

 

Parcel 4: Airtight container

 

Parcel 4: Airtight container


Box 4, Four packed together in an airtight container (above): These cakes fared surprisingly well, with only a minimal amount of frosting smeared on the sides of the case. It did not appear that any had capsized or shifted too much; being packed together, they had held each other in position, and when taken out of the box, didn’t look so bad at all; we can attest that they were still edible and yummy, in that guilty way that only grocery-store bought cakes can be.

 

*Cakespy Note: Although the photos cannot reflect this, we would be remiss if we did not mention the amazing smell that greeted us upon opening each box. It was sugary, sweet, and not too strong as to be obtrusive: sweet cake aromatherapy.

So, with all said and done, what did we learn from this experiment? To sum it up:

-Cupcakes that have been shipped might not be cute, but do still taste good if shipped and received in a timely manner.
-Shipping Cupcakes in padded mailers, while not necessarily a “good” idea, is strangely fascinating and kind of fun.
-Perhaps there is safety in numbers when shipping cupcakes: judging by the success of the four cupcakes in an airtight container, we think that perhaps the cakes balanced out the weight in addition to anchoring one another in position.
-Whereas we once thought that companies who ship cupcakes charged too much for shipping, we now have a better understanding of why it costs so dearly to deliver cupcakes that look and taste good.

Crushed Cakes

 

Reader Comments (33)

What a great experiment! Don't you love when experiments give surprising (sweet) results?

December 20 | Unregistered CommenterCB

Woohooooooo! I was right! Do I get a prize? How about you ship me a cupcake? ;)

December 20 | Unregistered CommenterCyndi

fascinating!

December 20 | Unregistered CommenterKim

I'm still trying to understand why the frosting on box #1 retained it's shape. I think this experiment will need to be done again in warm weather. :-)

December 21 | Unregistered CommenterAnn

I really think you should try frying a flat cupcake. Just another way to make it more fattening. *S*

December 21 | Unregistered CommenterSequana

sheer genius! you are true scientific minds dedicated to your field!

Cupcake carnage! Awesome.

December 21 | Unregistered CommenterEB

ahh!! such a tragic ending to the packing/shipping experiment - but at least it justifies expensive shipping costs!! :0)

December 21 | Unregistered CommenterVeggieGirl

What a fun experiment! I definitely still would've tried to eat the cupcake from the bubble mailer...

December 21 | Unregistered CommenterVegan_Noodle

Cupcakes make great festive celebrations, great for throwing at each other too :) Wishing you and your family an early Merry Christmas and a happy New Year, just before I leave for my holidays.
Cheers from Fruity

December 21 | Unregistered CommenterFruit species

thank you for this INVALUABLE research. science is really about contributing to the community and you've certainly done that today!!

December 21 | Unregistered Commentermoonrat

Genius!

December 21 | Unregistered CommenterKelly Jean Walden

*quickly finds wrapped boxes for nieces with Cup-a-Cake thingies and switches them out for a Glad disposable container*

December 21 | Unregistered Commenterbeanblossom

Haha, this was such an awesome trial, and it's good to know what actually works! Thanks for putting your cupcakes on the line in the name of foodies near and far.

December 21 | Unregistered Commenterbittersweetblog

I would actually like to order some smushed cupcakes. I think that they are perfect for a smushy person like myself! I'm sure it would feel less fattening coming in a flat form.

Just wanted to wish you a very wonderful holiday season!

Peace,
E

December 21 | Unregistered CommenterEllo

Hmmm...I would have expected better from the cup-a-cake carrier.

December 22 | Unregistered CommenterMallow

Wow, those cupcakes got squished! I've always wondered about those cupcake carrier things. Nice concept but I've always been skeptical how well they actually worked. I love baking cupcakes, and I love sending goodies to friends & family, but with shipping you've gotta go with something sturdy or have a really good method, when it comes to cupcakes I definitely don't, so I unfortunately always have to avoid shipping them. Awesome and useful experiment!

Btw, I found your reply email a few days ago. It got lost in my spam folder somehow. So sorry! I'm working on my reply, I just got finished with unexpected out of town company, the baby just started puppy training classes and the holidays, well..it's the holidays. I'll email you back ASAP though.

December 22 | Unregistered CommenterCulinarily Obsessed

This was a cool experiment! Yeaa! Love that the four cupcakes in the plastic container made it through quite well! Awesome! More yummy for the tummy!

December 22 | Unregistered CommenterEsmeralda

hahaha now that is really very original. Love the first pic. Looks right out of cartoon network :)
I'm always stressing about transporting cupcakes as well , and never make them if i know i dont have my car to transport them. Then just place them on open trays and fill up the back seat and take them. I know its not the most practical solution but i cant seem to find a better way.

December 22 | Unregistered CommenterKate / Kajal

Thanks for giving me a good laugh this morning! Poor, poor Bubble Mailer Cupcake!

December 23 | Unregistered CommenterRural Vegan

CB: Yea! I love it when the results are sweet (literally)!

Cyndi: Sure, I think we've got an extra padded mailer around here...:-)

Kim: We agree! Fascinating!

Ann: Touche...maybe there should be a summer version of the experiment. Somehow I think that one might not be pretty.

Sequana: Yum...fried cupcakes? Fried YUM.

December 23 | Unregistered CommenterCakespy

hahahaha! Yay, this was fun. I can't wait for your next experiment. (there will be more, right?)

:) Happy Holidays!

December 23 | Unregistered CommenterStephanie

Practically Perfect and Moonrat: Yes, we are dedicated to science. Anything for the cause.

EB: Glad you noticed my personal favorite part about the post! :-)

Veggiegirl: Yes, it was interesting to see why it's so expensive to ship cupcakes!

Vegan Noodle: maybe next time we will send one to you and see how they taste :-)

Fruit Species: Thanks, and happy holidays to you too!

Kelly: Thanks!

Beanblossom: Ha! It may have been our mail carrier too though. Perhaps yours would make out better in the mail!

Bittersweetblog: Anything for research!

Ello: I know what you mean, the smaller size made it feel low-cal!

Mallow: Yep...so sad!

Culinarily: Glad you liked it! Looking forward to your replies! :-)

Esmeralda: Thanks for the kind words!

Kate / kajal: I know! It can be hard and stressful to transport. I was actually surprised by how well some came out!

Rural Vegan: You don't even know how much we cracked up while doing it :-)

Stephanie: Yes, I think more experiments will follow--this was too fun!

December 23 | Unregistered CommenterCakespy

hee hee... all in the name of science. sweet, delicious science.

December 25 | Unregistered Commenterbazu

I canNOT believe how utterly entertaining this experiment was! Who'd have thunk it?

Thanks for the laughs...the writing was quite witty!

December 26 | Unregistered CommenterRockerJewlz
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