Can You Ship A Cupcake?

Lisa and I are lucky that we have a lot of friends and family all over the globe, but we hate telling them they have to come to us if they want some OLOC goodness.  We’ve been trying to think up some ways to ship cupcakes, especially since we have a Top Secret Very Exciting promotion happening soon that might require the ability to do just that.  We came up with a few ideas but we couldn’t decide on the best method.  In order to figure it out, we asked some lovely volunteers, Michael in California and Danielle in Indiana, to help us do a test.  All very scientifical, I assure you!

We used the same cake (chocolate chocolate chip) and frosting (salted caramel buttercream) for all the tests.  If you’re trying this at home (or ordering a shipment from us), keep in mind that this will not work with cream cheese or whipped cream based frostings.  They will probably go bad which can make someone pretty sick.  In order to ship those, it’d have to be overnight with some dry ice.

Method #1: JARS

Sending cupcakes in jars seems to be the most popular method, at least according to our (highly scientific) Google searches.  We initially didn’t plan on doing them because we thought they would be super spendy to ship based on weight, but flat rate shipping from USPS saved the day.  Here’s what one looked like before shipping:

Chocolate Cupcake with Salted Caramel Buttercream in a Jar

And here’s what it looked like when it arrived in California:

Not too shabby!  A little squished, some minor frosting loss.  How did they survive the trip to Indiana?

Eeek!  Okay, so not great.  They didn’t arrive super pretty… BUT they did arrive super tasty.  The jars seemed to hold up well because there was no danger of being flattened or getting stale.

Method #2: POPS

Push-up style cake pops are all the rage, if you believe what you read on cupcake and party organizing blogs.  Which we do!  They’re fun, kinda nostalgic, and much less messy than a traditional cupcake when kids are involved.  Plus there are so many ways to make them look cute – none of which we really did for this test.  Oh well, they still looked pretty nice before they shipped:


So how did they look when they arrived?

The top layer of frosting came apart on both!  We could not have predicted that.  When we make our second attempt, we plan to do two things differently:  put a little less filling in the tube so frosting doesn’t get in the cap AND shrink wrap the caps so they can’t pop off during shipping.  Whatever happened during transport caused a cap to come off and it made Danielle’s package look like this:

How does that happen?!

Method #3: KIT

A while back, before I was baking, I got the idea to order some cupcakes for my mom via the internets and have them sent to her in Missouri.  The only place I could find sent cupcake kits instead of whole cupcakes.  I think she got 3 cupcakes, one bag of frosting, and a cup of sprinkles – and wasn’t very impressed with any of it.  Sorry, Mom!  But thanks, past-self!  We totally stole that idea and sent our test subject a DIY cupcake kit.

The frosting and sprinkles held up, but the cake got pretty smooshed.  Unfortunately, we didn’t get pictures of how it looked after the kit was assembled – gorgeous, I’m sure!


Surprisingly, all three methods got our product to the tasters in fairly good condition taste- and texture-wise.  However, both of our test subjects preferred the JAR method – and for a reason we did not expect.  When we made a list of pros and cons, we though the fact that they’d require a fork was negative, but both our tasters liked that part!  It’s cleaner, you can get the perfect cake-to-frosting ratio, and you can save some for later if you want.  Plus you get a nice commemorative jar to remember us by!

As we start up our Top Secret Very Exciting project, we’ll probably offer both Jar and Push-Up style cupcakes.  Keep an eye out for more details soon!

And thanks again to our awesome test subjects – you guys rock!

KT Cupcake
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