Have you ever experienced crying over a damaged cake? Or receiving an angry phone call from a client saying that his baked goods arrived in very bad shape? Or reading a bad review on your social media page? This has everything to do with how you transport your baked goods…safely!
Well, to tell you honestly, I have shed buckets of tears the first time this happened to me. Most of us have, I presume.
We will talk about how to package and transport your baked goods safely in this entry.
But first, let me tell you about my first heartbreak.
A Little Sad Story
I was new to baking and I was really excited to receive cake orders. This order wasn’t my first. I was ecstatic that the client put her trust in me. It was a cake for her favorite aunt whom she considered as her second mother. It was nothing really grand, the cake was a small 7” X 4” chocolate cake with buttercream frosting. I labored over it like there was no tomorrow. I literally put my whole heart and soul into making this cake really special.
The client was on a tight budget and suggested that she can only afford a motorcycle delivery. Naive as I was, I assured her that I will be chilling the cake overnight and that I will caution the rider to go slow so as not to damage the cake.
On the day of delivery, I was confident that the cake would withstand the rigors of travel as it was perfectly chilled and the rider seemed to understand my instructions quite well.
I took a picture of the cake and sent it to my client. She messaged back that she absolutely loved the cake and she was excited to surprise her aunt with it. My ears were flapping with the praise. I was so happy to receive such positive feedback that I was literally floating on air.
An hour later, my phone rang and I got this sinking feeling that I will be receiving bad news. My happy balloon was instantly deflated. It was bad news, indeed. The client sent me a picture of the damaged cake.
The layers were in disarray.
The frosting was splattered all over.
There was no trace of the beautiful cake I made. My heart literally sank to the floor and I felt cold and clammy all over. Breathing became hard and I thought I was gonna topple over.
The client was very disappointed and angry as they won’t have a cake for their special occasion. I repeatedly apologized and told her that I will refund her money. I’ve never cried so hard for a…cake! A lot of you reading this will be able to relate to the heartbreak a damaged cake can bring. It is quite traumatising.
This is the downside of home baking. This is what we, home bakers, dread.
So, how do we transport our cakes and other baked goods safely?
Packing and Securing
All the energy, effort and resources we put in creating a beautiful cake or any baked good or treat for that matter will come to naught when they will arrive in pieces. In not so good looking pieces, mind you!
So, after baking our goodies and decorating our cakes, we want to make sure that these masterpieces reach their destination in one piece, right?
Let us consider some factors before we proceed to transporting our cakes and baked goods.
First, make sure that the cake has the proper support structure. It should be on a cake board that is appropriate for the cake size. Your board should be 2” bigger than your cake. This will give your enough wiggle room when moving the cake in and out of the box.
The cake board should be thick enough to carry a cake without bending. For heavier cakes, you can glue 2 or 3 cake boards together for extra stability. Some would even use plywood for their cakes!
It has to have dowels on the bottom and middle tier when the cake is composed of two tiers and up (it is probably a good idea to assemble on site when the cake has 3 tiers or more).
Second, if the cake has soft icing (buttercream, whipped cream and the like)it should be chilled at least overnight in the chiller or refrigerator. The frosting should be firm to the touch. This would also ensure a stronger cake while in transit.
Third, the cake is to be placed inside a box that will cover it completely. It should also be snug inside the box. Use a box that is the same size as your cake board as much as possible. A non-skid or a non-slip mat would be a big help too. Boxing the cake will also protect the cake from the elements while in transit.
For other baked goods like cupcakes, breads, rolls and the like, just make sure that they fit snugly inside their carriers to prevent them from bouncing around the box resulting in damaged baked goods.
Oh, and check out packaging tips and ideas for more in-depth discussion of the topic.
So, how do we transport them safely?
Pick Up or Delivery
Do we opt for a pick-up? Or delivery?
Requiring our clients to pick-up their orders is probably the safest choice. They go to our location and we hand them the product. The responsibility is taken off our hands.
However, this is not the most convenient way for our clients. Unless they specify it.
Giving good customer service is also key to a better business. We have the option to arrange for the cakes and baked goods to be delivered to our clients. But we have to make sure that they reach them still whole, beautiful and in pristine condition.
Types Of Delivery Services
Delivery apps have made our lives easier. With just a few presses on our mobile phones…voila! We have already arranged for someone to deliver our cakes or baked goods.
For hired delivery services, we have quite a few to choose from. Let us discuss the pros and cons of these services:
In recent years, we have been more environmentally conscious and we have been thinking of ways to ease our carbon footprint on planet Earth. Thus, the utilization of bicycles as means for deliveries have become popular. It is also a very cheap way to bring your goods from point A to point B as it doesn’t require fuel.
One of the disadvantages of bike delivery is the range. It is more likely that long distance deliveries will not be catered to.
Weather is also a factor that we must consider. There is a huge risk of the baked goods not reaching their destination in one piece.
This is the most popular form of delivery service. We have several apps dedicated to this type of service alone. So, what are the advantages and disadvantages?
Well, one of its advantages is it can easily maneuver through traffic and tight spaces making the delivery time shorter. It can go farther than a bicycle. It is relatively cheap, thus, it is a cost-effective choice for small businesses. Since this is app based, we can track the progress of the delivery. Transporting our baked goods have never been this easy!
On the other hand, it is not the most stable form of transport there is. Scooters are good for non-fragile baked items like breads. Don’t use it for cakes, cupcakes and the like. These things can’t take the roughness and instability of the scooter. Rain or bad weather conditions can also impact this kind of transport.
This is an excellent option to transport your goods. It can go a longer distance than a bicycle or a scooter. You can deliver more and larger orders at the same time. Weather also has little impact on this type of delivery. A little or moderate rain won’t affect it. Plus, it is the most stable and safest way to transport your baked goods especially for fragile items like cakes.
As an added tip, you may want to put the cake or baked goods on a level surface inside the car. The car floor is the best choice. A slanted surface could make the cake slide off the board and into the side of the box. Same thing with the baked goods. We wouldn’t want that to happen, right?
However, this is also the most expensive option. Car delivery is significantly affected by traffic . This can result in longer delivery times and maybe even delays.
So, Which Is Better?
Cost- effective but not safe? Expensive but will do the job?
In the end, it will only be you who can determine what is the best delivery service to choose from. Each of our situations is unique and may benefit from this type of transport over a different one.
It is best to know your product so you will be able to determine its characteristics and in turn choose the best delivery or transport service for you.
Destination Set Up
Yes! After deciding the safest way to deliver our baked goods and they arrived safely and in one piece with nary an icing or a chocolate chip out of place, we can now let out a big sigh of relief! A charged punch in the air would be more apt, don’t you think? Ha-ha! I feel you!
Well, aside from securing and transporting our baked goods safely, we should also give our clients “care instructions”. This is one positive attribute that we can extend to the ones supporting our businesses.
For example, if the cake has buttercream frosting we may want to advise our clients to put the cake in the refrigerator or chiller first when it is still not needed.
We can add a small instruction guide on the boxes of our baked goods. This will inform the client of our products’ shelf life or better known as the “best before date”.
We can also inform them to slide the cake off the box instead of lifting it out of the box so there won’t be any chance of the cake falling or hitting the side of the box, thus, resulting in some of the icing sticking to the box and well… creating an ugly mark on the cake.
Or maybe you can send an extra topper, just in case.
A small, kind and personal gesture will have a great impact on your client for sure. This is what also sets small businesses apart from the big corporations.
Your personal touch.