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How to ship a cake

Bundt cakes with powdered sugar

From the pleasures of cheesecake to the delights of a Bundt, there’s always a time and a place for a good piece of cake.

Whether it’s for a celebration in another state or you’re simply sending a smile to friends and family away from home, what could be better than sending and receiving a shipped confection in perfect shape?

Now it’s time to put down the cake decorating supplies and take out the shipping box and tape: here’s what you need to know about shipping cakes.

Shipping cakes of different shapes and sizes

It may be obvious to say, but cakes don’t come in one shape or size—for every cake, expect to take a slightly different approach when preparing it for shipping.

Here are some rules of thumb for the most popular types of cake:

Layer cakes—So much cake, so little time. Freeze your layer cake prior to shipping. Be careful shipping cakes with softer, or heavy amounts of frosting—too much frosting may not travel well, and you want to avoid the cake smushing in transit. Stiffer icing is preferable where possible.

Depending on the design of the cake, wrap a collar of paper around it to protect the sides. You may also wrap the cake carefully in plastic. One trick here is to place small sticks in the areas of heaviest frosting to put a little distance between the wrap and the icing. Nobody wants to receive a cake with more frosting on the inside of the box than on the cake itself. 

Bundt and pound cakes—They look amazing and they taste great too. Freeze and then carefully place plastic wrap around these cakes prior to shipping. Compared with layer cakes, the sturdy shape of Bundts and pound cakes make them easier to wrap in plastic without peeling off the outer layer of the cake when the wrap is removed.

Bundts and pound cakes can normally stay refrigerated a couple of weeks or frozen for up to a year, if stored properly. Just remember to wrap them in plastic before you freeze them.

Cheesecakes—Perhaps the richest of all the cakes. Follow the guidance above and be careful to protect the sides of the cake for shipping. Consider freezing individual slices and placing them in separate freezer bags for extra protection.

Cupcakes—Small really is beautiful. Space out the cupcakes inside a special cupcake box, using the cupcake inserts provided. Consider applying a light dab of baking glue to the bottom of each cupcake to secure it within the container.

You might also place sticks through the middle of each cupcake, such that each stick reaches the top of the box when closed. This could help stop your cupcakes smashing against the inside lid of the box. A smashed cupcake is never a good look.

Make shipping a piece of cake 

Now, it’s time to get your cake on its way.

For layer cakes and cheesecakes, place your edible creation in a well-fitting cake box before lowering into an insulated cooler lined with bubble wrap. Stop by The UPS Store® location near you to pick up packaging supplies. Apply dry ice into the cooler to keep the contents cold. Remember to use protective gloves and follow all directions when handling dry ice. At all times, keep the dry ice away from the surface of the cake. For next-day delivery, frozen gel packs may also work. 

Fill up empty space inside the container with packing material, such as bubble wrap, to secure the contents within the box, and shake lightly to confirm everything’s safely in place. If you’re shipping individual slices of cake, place each frozen slice within a freezer bag and pack snugly within the insulated cooler, again secured with bubble wrap.

Mark the outside of the box as fragile, with arrows indicating which side is up. Tape the outer container shut, but not so tightly that the dry ice isn’t able to vent. Select the best shipping service based on how quickly you need your cake to arrive at its destination—as a rule, the faster the better, particularly for cakes containing higher concentrations of dairy. Make sure your shipping label is securely fastened to the outside of the box.

Next, organize UPS® residential or commercial pick-up. Alternatively, take your cake to one of the many The UPS Store locations nationwide or find your local UPS Access Point® location.

Tips to ship a cake 

Remember these seven pointers and you’ll soon be putting the cakewalk into cake shipping:

  1. Freeze your cake prior to shipping whenever possible.
  2. Be careful not to damage the frosting when applying plastic wrap. Mini sticks are great for keeping your frosting on the cake and off the wrap or the sides of the box.
  3. Consider packing a cheesecake as individual frozen slices.
  4. Ensure the cake box is secured with as much packing material as needed within the shipping container.
  5. Always use protective gloves when handling dry ice.
  6. Choose the fastest delivery service available that meets your needs.
  7. Write “fragile” and indicate “this side up” on the outer container.

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