Ship It! Ship It Good!

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Shipping any kind of food is stressful, but shipping a cake is downright anxiety-attack-worthy.  My first stop for anything cake related is Cake Central.  It’s a fabulous forum full of fabulous bakers that love to share their secrets.  I have to say that the baking world, from what I have experienced, is a world of happy people who love to support other happy bakers!  At Cake Central, you will find tutorials, links to video, classes, supplies and forums.  It’s really amazing.

After some research, I learned that the secret to shipping a cake is lots of padding and sensible construction.

My cake was an 8″ round vanilla/vanilla swiss buttercream filling and frosting/fondant covered and decorated.  The Eagles logo was handmade and done with Fondarific fondant.  I can’t tell you how much I love Fondarific, it suits cake designers from beginner to professional and you can do so much more with it than the stuff you will find at the store.  AND it tastes good.  There are so many people that cringe at the mention of fondant because it always tastes so terrible.  Fondarific has changed that completely with buttercream flavored fondant along with specialty flavors like cinnamon bun…CRAZY YUMMY!!!  Not to mention the customer service is nothing short of spectacular.  Laura and Lois love cake and love everyone in the Fondarific family.  They take the time to post your cake pics and respond to questions personally.  It’s part of the bake-love family I was talking about earlier!

In this pic, my cake looks a little wet because I had just steamed it.

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When decorating this cake, I needed to keep in mind that it might move around a bit and there would be pressure from packing,  so I decided to use a clay extruder to create the lettering.  I didn’t love it, but it worked and I needed what would work.

First, I covered the cake with a layer of plastic wrap.  I draped it, didn’t press it on the cake.

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Next, the cake went into a 10″ cake box and was covered with bubble wrap to fill in the gaps between the cake and the box.  This is probably the most crucial step.  With the cake padded, the box can move around with minimal impact to the cake itself.

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Now, the cake went into a cooler.  This is a $10 soft-sided cooler from Wal-Mart.  Ideally, I would have used a hard-sided styrofoam cooler, but couldn’t find one and I was in a time crunch, so this one had to do.  It took me a lot of wiggling to get this box into this cooler since their measurements were almost identical.  Measure before you buy.  Planning is the key to anything cake related!

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Now the cooler went into the cardboard box and I depleted my grocery bag stash to pad the cake box.

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I also depleted my bubble wrap to pad the top and ran out of soft packing material!  Lesson learned for next time, buy a smaller cardboard box!  That gap in the top remained since I literally ran out of everything soft with the exception of a blanket!

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Here, you’ll see that I wrote on the side of the box to indicate all of the important directions for the mail carrier.  Then, I said a little prayer that the mail carrier would actually read them 🙂

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Next, I took it to the local post office and paid for overnight priority mail.  I let the clerk know that it was a cake and she was almost 100% sure it would get there right side up.  I’ll take 99%. Shipping was about $32 from PA to DC (yes, there is an Eagles fan in DC!!!).  My cousin, whom the cake was for (perfect experiment subject) said it took him longer to get to the cake than to eat it, but it got there in perfect shape and it was delicious!!!  Mission accomplished!

I don’t recommend trying to do this unless you have the patience and funds to cover it from start to finish.  There is not a frugal way to ship a cake if you want it there in one piece (no pun intended).  Although I will tell you that I could have taken the commuter train from Aberdeen to DC for $20 round trip and hand delivered it!  Next time 🙂

Have you ever shipped a cake?  Have any tips to share?  Comment or send them to me at bakevintage@gmail.com!  Happy caking!

Want to know more about Steph Tomko?  Head to www.StephTomko.com!  Thanks for reading!

 

 

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