This is a subject I have barely scratched the surface of from a business perspective.
As a customer I’ve enjoyed receiving untold number of cupcakes in a plethora of packaging solutions from custom imprinted cardboard boxes with inserts to simple plastic take-out containers as you see me use in the photos.
At the moment, here is where I land, it’s not pretty, so let me tell you how I got here. And I’m sure this will evolve and I will be completely thrilled to post again with new and improved packaging that is gorgeous yet has the functionality I am looking for.
Last week I went to a famous local bakery for no other reason than God told me to. Since I didn’t know WHY I was there I decided to sample a few of their products, I’m currently researching a specific flavor and saw an entire 6″ cake in the same for sale but spied a couple cupcake flavors to take home to the kids.
A momentary rant:
First of all the products came from a refrigerated case. Refrigeration is the arch enemy of cake moisture, better to go straight into the freezer which will actually lock in the moisture of most products.
I read somewhere that fillings thickened with cornstarch will get a weird texture upon thaw, but I buy frozen pies, I don’t believe it, you’ve been slightly warned.
Anyhoo I thought, what if they have some special cake-moisture-in-spite-of-refrigeration secret I need to research? Nope. And they bake fresh daily, by only 10:30am-ish the cupcake I sampled was dry and crumbly. My suggestion if refrigeration is a must? (cream cheese icing) A cake with tons of natural moisture like a carrot, hummingbird or Hawaiian wedding cake. I’ve wondered how an injection of simple syrup would do, I’ll add that to my humongous list of things to try.
Back to our regularly scheduled program:
Their packaging, did not travel well AT ALL. Their beautiful custom print box was thin cardboard, that’s barely a barrier for airflow. And the insert they used to hold my kids’ cupcakes was too shallow, with no tricky Nascar driving at all, they toppled over along the way home. They had no insert for the single cupcake I bought and it did not survive the exciting walk from store to car.
My ugly plastic containers serve me in 2 ways.
First of all, see those deep wells? And these are bakery sized cupcakes, not standard. The cupcake nestles all the way down in there. No careful driving required. Air conditioning and avoiding sun required, but take all the curves you like with speed and flair.
I also buy greaseproof cupcake liners. Not because my recipes stick, I practice on cheaper paper liners, but the greaseproof liners provide another layer of moisture-loss protection. Which is then nestled down into a snug plastic well and a thick swirl of creamy buttercream as ANOTHER layer of moisture-loss protection.
Can you tell I’ve eaten a TON-O-DRY-CUPCAKES in the past 6 months?! Seriously now.
The nekked cupcakes? (no liners) No. Stop it. I’m barely forgiving of nekked cakes for the same reason.
I do plan to find beautiful boutique packaging for gift giving or just because you’re worth it, but it still has to be air tight (or close) and travel carefree, or be easily customized to become such.
And plastic wrap. My cupcakes never sit, tucked carefully into their individual bungalows, door shut for the night, unprotected from the ravages of the harsh airflow conditions in my open kitchen tundra. If they still have to be filled and decorated, yet I am not ready, in the wrap they go. I don’t reserve protection strictly to completed product. Better to trash an extra 2′ of plastic wrap than serve a dry cupcake I always say.
Standard restaurant size/quantity plastic wrap from GFS or Sam’s Club is what I currently use. It’s wide enough, as you see from my photos, to form 2 layers of protection along the long sides.
Though I formulate all of my recipes based on the “sitting out unprotected on the counter overnight” method of endurance training.
Because treats are expensive when they’re done right,
They ought to last more than just one night.
I’m a poet, who knew?
Back to the bakery. I drove in behind a delivery truck that is going to revolutionize my ingredient purchasing when I open my first brick-and-mortar. The cake I purchased by random chance as similar to recipes I’ve recently pinned? A day after I sampled it my cousin asked me to try that flavor for her wedding cupcakes. Refrigeration reminder: not even the best bakeries with decades of experience can outwit cold air and humidity. Or whatever it is that makes the fridge a no-no. And last but not least, I love the pretty packaging of custom printed boxes. I was just about to order some in pretty colors that was quite inexpensive, though not custom printed, and now I see firsthand, that won’t do.
I’ll keep looking, but for now I’ll focus on pretty bags to carry them out it. REUSABLE bags. We got the COOLEST reusable bag from Lululemon, Paris and I used it to carry my niece’s souvenirs to encourage her continued study of the French language. Or just to carry her whatnot around in a cool reusable bag. Their manifesto was printed all over the bag, but of course in French even a shopping bag looks chic.
I JUST GOT AN IDEA. Good things come to those who wait.