Whether you’ve offered to bring cupcakes to a dinner party for dessert or made a dozen or two for someone’s birthday party, you’ll need to transport those cute little individual cakes safely and securely.
Cupcakes. They’re delicious, look pretty and dainty, and are always a hit with everyone no matter what the occasion, flavor, or how you’ve decorated them.
But you don’t want to risk dropping or ruining even one of your cupcakes! So…how to transport cupcakes so they arrive in the same condition they left your kitchen?
Let me show you the best ways to carry and transport your cupcakes.
How to Transport Cupcakes
1 – Cupcake Carrier
By far the most stress-free way to get your cupcakes to where you need them to be…is by purchasing a portable cupcake carrier.
Carriers not only keep each cupcake safe, but you can also use them to display your cupcakes when you get to where you’re going.
Types of Cupcake Carriers
Cupcake carriers come in different sizes and styles. Some are flat, carrying cupcakes all on one layer. Others are like a small caddy, carrying layers of six cupcakes, with each layer stacked and secured on the other.
There’s no right or wrong here when it comes to cupcake carriers. Choose one that’s not too cumbersome and bulky to carry. And one that has a style that catches your eye and complements your cupcakes.
Where to Buy Cupcake Carriers
Look online for retailers that sell cupcake carriers, such as Amazon (this one is the one I use). Or check online for stores near you. Kitchen, hardware, and some craft stores will carry a selection of cupcake carriers that are good quality.
Dollar stores also often carry inexpensive carriers in the kitchen section.
How to Transport Cupcakes Without a Carrier
If you have cupcakes you need to transport and don’t have a cupcake carrier, there are other methods you can use to make sure your cakes arrive safely.
2 – Cupcake Box
Buy a cupcake box. These are easily available online or at your local gourmet baking and cooking shop. Some craft stores may also carry a small selection. Boxes are available to hold six or a dozen cupcakes securely.
3 – Tupperware or Plastic Container
A 9×13 inch Tupperware or plastic container can work well for cupcakes that are quite small with minimal frosting. Arrange your cupcakes inside and cover with the lid.
Be careful to keep the container in a horizontal position as you travel to your destination.
4 – Using Non-Skid Shelf Liner
A trick used by many bakeries is to use a non-skid shelf liner to keep cupcakes safe while they travel. This paper can be purchased at most hardware or kitchen stores, as well as online.
Find a box that’s not too big and tall to fit your cupcakes. Line the box with the paper and arrange the cupcakes inside.
Be sure to arrange them so they’re close together but not touching. The shelf liner will keep your cupcakes from moving around.
Tip: Make sure the box you choose is strong enough to hold your cupcakes. Boxes that bend and sag are going to damage the cakes.
5 – Use a Dot of Icing or Chocolate
Another way to transport cupcakes without a carrier is to use icing or melted chocolate.
Whip up a batch of icing to secure your cupcakes. Fit a lining of parchment paper into a shallow box, being sure it doesn’t slip around. Pipe a small amount of icing onto the paper, placing the cupcake onto the icing.
Once it dries, the icing will securely hold the cupcakes in place. Don’t want to use icing? If you have some chocolate candy melts, these will work as well. Just melt a few in the microwave and put a dab of chocolate beneath the cupcake instead of icing.
6 – Shirt Apparel Box
You can buy shirt boxes online or at the dollar store – they often come in sets of ten, so you’ll have plenty for the next time you make cupcakes.
Measuring the distance so you can safely fit cupcakes without them touching, cut X’s into the top of the box. Carefully nest each cupcake into the slot you just made.
Alternatively you could leave the lid off the box and line it with aluminum foil and then a tea towel, placing the cupcakes inside the box. Both methods work well with shirt boxes, fitting up to one dozen in each box.
7 – Use a Roasting Pan
Have a large roasting pan? This is a great way to transport cupcakes without a carrier. Once you’ve frosted and decorated your cupcakes, clean the cupcake pan you baked them in and set the cupcakes back into the tin.
Then set the tin carefully inside the large roasting pan. Cover the roasting pan with tin foil, or the roasting pan lid, and you’re ready to go.
How to Transport Cupcakes in Hot Weather
As if transporting your cupcakes isn’t tricky enough, add hot weather and it’s even trickier. Here are some of the best way to transport cupcakes in hot weather.
8 – Dry Ice
Dry ice melts slowly, so it can keep your cupcakes cool for a few hours as you transport them. Do a search online to see where you can purchase dry ice nearby – you’ll spend less than $15 for the right amount of dry ice.
Once you have the dry ice, you’ll want to pack it so it’s below your box of cupcakes. Place the dry ice in a box of its own in a flat layer, putting a layer of towels on top. Place your cupcake carrier or box on top.
You don’t want the cupcake box to come into contact with ice. Using dry ice, your cupcakes will arrive undamaged from the summer heat.
9 – Turn on the Air Conditioning
Before loading the cupcakes into your vehicle, turn on the air conditioning and let it cool down. This way you’ll be putting your cupcakes into a cool, not hot vehicle, so the frosting doesn’t immediately start to melt.
10 – Decorate When You Arrive
If you know that hot weather is going cause havoc with your cupcakes, and if you’re going to have time, consider decorating them after you arrive.
Pack and store the frosting and decorations in appropriate containers. Place in a cooler with the cupcakes also packed in small containers.
Add one or two frozen ice packs to the cooler to keep the temperature inside nice and cool. Once you get where you’re going, unpack and decorate.
Tips For Transporting Cupcakes Safely
- Cupcakes that are freshly decorated are easily damaged. Try to frost and decorate your cupcakes a few hours before you need to transport them. Keep them in a cool place until you’re ready to go.
- If you need to transport your cupcakes shortly after frosting them, place them in the fridge for 5 to 10 minutes. This gives the icing a few minutes to set, making it safer for them to travel.
- Try not to transport cupcakes in a container that’s too large. Too much space between the cupcakes makes it easier for them to slip around and get damaged. To prevent damage if you have to use a box that’s too big, use the icing method to transport safely.
- If you’re going to cover your cupcakes, use foil and not plastic wrap. Foil will stay in place, while plastic wrap, no matter how carefully you place it over the top or prop it up with supporting toothpicks, will start to droop and fall onto the cupcakes.
- Good choices for shallow boxes that are the right size for a dozen cupcakes – flat boxes from the grocery store that are used for strawberries or the flats that store soda pop.
With these tips and tricks you’ll know exactly how to transport cupcakes from your kitchen without having them fall over or nudge against each other, causing a frosting disaster.
After all, one of the great things about sharing your cupcakes is the smile on everyone’s face when they see how cute and pretty they look…and how sweet and delicious they taste!
Sarah is the founder of Baking Kneads, LLC, a blog sharing guides, tips, and recipes for those learning how to bake. Growing up as the daughter of a baker, she spent much of her childhood learning the basics in a local bakery.