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Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Cupcake Shipping Experiment

Cupcake Shipping has been all over the place lately. Theres the original "Cupcake-In-A-Jar": Bangerang Bake Shop, and a whole slew of other bakeries like Mrs. Beasley's Cupcakes, Teacake Bakeshop, Babycakes NYC, Crumbs, and Chicago Cupcakes that now offer shipment of their cupcakes nation-(and sometimes world)-wide. All of these travelling cupcakes inspired me to solve a problem: I like sharing my baked goods with people I care about. Most people I know live in New York. I live in Florida. While I have people here in Florida to force my baked goods upon, my sister, Dad, mother, friends, aunts, uncles, cousins, some shih tzus, etc., all live scattered across the Empire State, 1,000 miles away. How to solve this problem... Air-Mail Cupcakes, of course!! Now, to experiment with several shipping methods, High School Lab Report Style...

Cupcake Shipping Method Number 1
Observation: A large portion of my potential cupcake samplers live too far to taste my goodies regularly.
Hypothesis: Shipping cupcakes baked into glass jars might provide a safe vessel for transport.
Experiment: To bake a cupcake directly into a glass jar, let it cool, frost it, seal it, and send it on its way to Jennifer and Dee in NYC with UPS.
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Analysis: Partial rejection of hypothesis. Why? Well... This is what it looked like upon arrival at its destination:

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Fortunately, I had the chance of being on the phone with Jennifer as she opened her surprise package. It was so badly damaged by the rough transit & extreme heat, she didn't even know what it was. When I said, "Its a CUPCAKE! Does it look like a cupcake?", Jenn quite appropriately responded by describing it as such, "It looked like someone ate a cupcake and threw it back up into the jar". Quite right, I'd say.

New Hypothesis: Not giving up on Jar shipping method yet. Next, try baking it into a much smaller jar, leaving less room for it to jiggle around, like Bangerang bakeshop does. Note: With all the unlicensed online bakeries floating around the internet, please be aware I have no intention of selling my cupcakes this way, I'd just like to be able to share them with my family and friends that live too far. :)

Fortunately, Jennifer and Dee reported that it was still delicious, despite its less than delicious-looking appearance.

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And um... even Simon had some.
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Though he needed to be cleaned off a little afterwards...
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Well, I guess it tasted good enough! Half the beauty of the art of cupcake is their adorable little appearance. So, this experimentation with have to continue, until I reach a a positive conclusion.

11 comments:

Alyse said...

cute idea.

Robin Sue said...

I loved Jenn's decription of how the cupcake looked on arrival! That is a hoot. When my Hubby was in the Army and deployed to another country I would bake him cupcakes in a jar and put the lid on while the jar was still hot so that it would seal. Therefore be fresh after the long shipping time, sometimes weeks. I would just ship him a purchased can of frosting to eat with it. He likes canned frosting, I don't. Thanks for the memory!

ChezUS said...

That is funny, love the big cupcake! I send them all the time. Found the perfect solution .... ziploc makes a container that 6 will fit in snuggly. If you want to know rest of the secret, let me know!

Helene said...

It's funny. I'm not sure I'll try it.

Maggie said...

Aww, too bad it didn't work out. Maybe July just isn't the time to ship cupcakes? My cat has a thing for frosting too.

Stephanie said...

Robin Sue,
I didn't seal them up while they were hot because I thought it would make them mushy. The cupcakes that you sent didn't get soft and squishy? I love that it would seal it up night and tight by sealing the jar when its warm, what a great idea!

Stephanie said...

chezus, I'd love to see that container! Where can I find one? I have a plastic cupcake carrier (I think Wilton makes it) that can transport 12 of them but definitely NOT for shipment

Robin Sue said...

Stephanie, I don't think they got squishy. The batter baked all the way to the top. On some it even spilled over making a big mess. So fill only 1/3 full then bake. While hot, seal. There will be condensation in there which I was afraid would mold but like I said it was just to keep it fresh while it traveled, not for a shelf life of months. Longest trip I think was three weeks when he was first deployed, he thought they were fine.

Jennifer said...

When I visited The Container store last, they had individual cupcake holders that should pinch the cupcake in place so that the frosting doesn't get smashed around. The idea is for school children's lunch packs, but I don't know how the frosting would hold in shipment.
Here is a link of the container:

http://www.containerstore.com/browse/Product.jhtml?searchId=15060742&itemIndex=4&CATID=74067&PRODID=10015475

Stephanie said...

Jennifer,
I've seen those, I'm actually quite curious how they would hold up in shipment. But I also need something that I don't need returned to me, or else I would either have to have the recipient send it back, or I'd have to buy a lot of them. I might buy one and just try it anyway though

Alisa said...

There is a place in Natchez, Mississippi called Cora's Cake-in-a-Jar. And that's what she sells: a variety of cakes, baked into glass jars and sealed. They keep for 6 months or something. I admit, when I was working for a terrible summer stock theater a four years ago, my co-designer and I bought a case of them. "Cora" happened to be making these cakes in the basement of the falling down high school where we were staging our operas. The cakes were okay actually... Un-iced though.

Good luck on further attempts.

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