Pick-Up or Delivery?

Decorating By gabby0318 Updated 14 Jan 2014 , 9:06pm by scholesmeister

gabby0318 Posted 11 Jan 2014 , 5:36pm
post #1 of 58

AI've been doing cakes from home for sometime now and 9/10 I usually deliver them. When I deliver them, I usually never use a cake box to sore them in or anything. But now it seems it's becoming more and more of a problem. My customers always ask "Did you just bring the cake like that?" Or "Where's the box?" As if they're expecting it to be closed off.. Wondering if I'm doing something wrong here...? I don't see te point in me putting it in a box when I deliver if I'm just gonna set it at the table an te box will be thrown away

57 replies
jenmat Posted 11 Jan 2014 , 6:05pm
post #2 of 58

we always put it in a box, unless for some reason it's just too big. Even when we are delivering a 3 tier cake that won't fit in a standard box height for a celebration we cut off the top and at least put it in the box. A lot of decorators will build their own boxes around the cake, buy them from Office Max, or custom order the ones with windows, even if delivering. We usually don't go that far, but it is a good idea.

It may not make sense to you, but a box is kind of a way of saying "you got a professional product." It's also more sanitary and secure. 

Nothing like pulling someone's unboxed cake out of your trunk to give people the wrong impression. 

as you wish Posted 11 Jan 2014 , 6:12pm
post #3 of 58

AI always put cake in a box. It just feels cleaner to me. It is also a great place to attach a business card. ;)

Godot Posted 11 Jan 2014 , 6:21pm
post #4 of 58

AGrosd and totally unhygienic. Nasty.

Why is it so strange that clients expect their costly cakes to be hygienically packed and delivered?

I can't believe the amount of people who deliver cakes unboxed! Wtf? Where's the common sense here, folks?

leah_s Posted 11 Jan 2014 , 6:26pm
post #5 of 58

I pretty much never boxed cakes when I delivered them.  Just the way I was taught when I first worked at the bakery.  ::shrugs::

-K8memphis Posted 11 Jan 2014 , 6:56pm
post #6 of 58

i've done it all different ways--some bakeries never use a box for tier cakes--some always make and seal up the box--some use the plastic (organizational type re-useable) boxes--


i started out not boxing -- somewhere along the line i switched--then for one cake i thought screw that box making mess-- easy cake--just gonna toss it in the car--no worries--well it came up a brief downpour right at delivery time--there was thick white steam pouring off roofs and cars and all the surfaces --it was an instantaneous steam bath so i had to toss a box together last minute--and it was good thing really because it was a long way from the car to the venue and up this massive staircase--so i like the security of boxes for climate control and it is easier to maneuver--


oh but more importantly--delivering a couple new cake boxes* for leftovers is important -- keeps caterers, venue peeps & clients very happy--they u 4 that --and the opposite is true too--


*i often deliver in corrugated cardboard moving boxes, sometimes re-fashioned sheet boxes--

MimiFix Posted 11 Jan 2014 , 7:49pm
post #7 of 58

 Boxing a cake (or any product) is the professional standard.

as you wish Posted 11 Jan 2014 , 7:53pm
post #8 of 58

AJust out of curiosity, why would you NOT use a box?

VanillaSky Posted 11 Jan 2014 , 8:02pm
post #9 of 58

ATo the OP: I understand that many people have no problem with a cake being uncovered in transport but many people are grossed out by it. But if you have more than a few customers telling you their cake should be covered, why not invest in boxes?

I would not eat a cake, much less order another cake from the baker, if it was delivered uncovered. I know that it's possible that it came in contact with nothing disgusting, but my imagination is active.

Why hurt your chances for return customers?

howsweet Posted 11 Jan 2014 , 8:11pm
post #10 of 58

It's really going overboard to say it's nasty. If it's so nasty, then it must also be nasty to set the cake uncovered at the venue table with all sorts of people oohing and ahhing and breathing on the cake.  I suppose if a person's car is filthy and animals ride in it... My car is quite clean.  Plus, I always line the areas where the cake is going with clean, white sheets whether delivering a boxed cake or not boxed.

Pastrybaglady Posted 11 Jan 2014 , 8:11pm
post #11 of 58

AMy opinion is that when you work from your home (I do) you need to go out of your way to look professional so you are not perceived just as a cake lady. I would expect my cake to be delivered in a box and I would want it for the leftovers. Although I do have to admit that many friends ask if I want the box back, I guess they want to help me save money, but I never take them back. Who wants a used cake box?

as you wish Posted 11 Jan 2014 , 8:35pm
post #13 of 58


Original message sent by howsweet

There are some good reasons not to box. If picking up, many customers can't fit the cake in their car if it's boxed. Also, if I'm letting a customer pick up, I like them to set the cake on the floorboard passenger side so they can observe how their driving is effecting the cake. I always line it with paper towels for them.  I rarely sell a cake that would still fit in a box in that spot.

In my experience the general public is more likely to be careless with a boxed cake.  And if it's one of those flimsy bakery boxes, the first thing they want to do is squeeze the sides in. 

And the box for a large cake can be unwieldy and make it harder for anyone to pick up and keep level.

In my experience many cakes are safer unboxed - it depends on the size.

Interesting; thanks!

-K8memphis Posted 11 Jan 2014 , 9:00pm
post #14 of 58

buddy and duff do both--used boxes & didn't use boxes--looked like mostly no box when they delivered and boxed for pickups--normal operating procedure

Godot Posted 11 Jan 2014 , 9:07pm
post #15 of 58

AYes, it IS nasty (not to mention very unprofessional) to deliver unboxed product. What clients do with a product once delivered or picked-up is up to them.

It's MY responsibility to make sure the product is as hygienic as possible, which means boxed (not to mention following HD regulations for food service premises), and the use of ONLY food-safe equipment when making the product.

If I ordered a cake (or any other food product, for that matter) and it was delivered unboxed I would refuse delivery and never order from there again, and never ever recommend the place.

It's up to ME, the professional, to provide the right size and type of box for the product.

Cars are pretty gross, too. It doesn't matter how clean you think your car is - it isn't. Thrre'd always crud floating around in it.

I am constantly amazed at all the different feeble reasons folks come up with in order to justify their unhygienic practices.

For the record, I'm absolutely NOT one of those people who are scared to death of bacteria!

howsweet Posted 11 Jan 2014 , 9:23pm
post #16 of 58

So if you make a 4 tier cake, it's boxed, right? 5 tier, boxed, too?  I don't have the resources to deliver cakes like that boxed. You must have two strong men, a big van and a lot of skill getting these cakes in and out of these huge boxes. Good for you. But it's not nasty and you haven't seen my car decked out in white sheets, so you really don't know, do you? But I'm telling you.  My car doesn't have "crud" floating around in it. What crud are you even talking about? That's absurd.

as you wish Posted 11 Jan 2014 , 9:26pm
post #17 of 58


Original message sent by howsweet

So if you make a 4 tier cake, it's boxed, right? 5 tier, boxed, too?  I don't have the resources to deliver cakes like that boxed. You must have two strong men, a big van and a lot of skill getting these cakes in and out of these huge boxes. Good for you. But it's not nasty and you haven't seen my car decked out in white sheets, so you really don't know, do you?

Wow! You deliver 5 tiers already stacked?! I don't know if I would trust my driving! lol! I would be stacking that on-site.

howsweet Posted 11 Jan 2014 , 9:33pm
post #18 of 58

Yes, my cakes are fully assembled except sometimes for a few decorations tht can be quickly added. I do mostly high end fondant cakes than can't be stacked at the venue. And if the cake is going to a party place, you only have 15 minutes to get the cake in and set up, anyway. And yes, people do order huge fancy cakes for kids party venues.



FromScratchSF Posted 11 Jan 2014 , 10:12pm
post #19 of 58

OK so lets state the obvious - some states, NOT ALL, require licensed home bakers to have all food transported and delivered in a box or a food safe container as part of the cottage law and some cottage laws require your food have a sticker on it stating it was made in a home kitchen - the only way to abide by said law is to deliver your cake in a box with the appropriate sticker... if you are legal then you should already know if this is a requirement or not.  Not trying to start a legal vs. not, but OP, you will get mixed answers on this because we are from all over the world... some have opinions, some follow their own local laws, all our laws are different, some have even bigger opinions, and not everyone will be helpful here.  


I live in CA and it is not a state requirement to deliver in a box because I work in a commercial facility.  If I worked from home it would be a requirement (I think) to deliver in a box and have it labeled that it was made in a home kitchen.  However I try to box when possible because it's logistically more sanitary.  I didn't used to worry about it (for large cakes) because I didn't have to legally until I saw an episode of Top Gear (US) where they tested the insides of 3 used cars and found literally the most disgusting things in them you can imagine.  I was going to list it out here but I started grossing myself out and I have a used car (yeah, made a trip to have it shampooed right away.  People do the most disgusting things in cars).  At any rate, if the cake is under 10", its in a box.  If it's a large tiered cake I use large moving boxes and try and minimize any funk from getting onto the cake in transport and always bring a small box to leave at the venue for any left overs.  


But there is another reason to invest into boxes for smaller cakes - BRANDING.  I brand, sticker and label everything.  Word of mouth is extremely important and people are naturally curious.  If they see a box, they want to look at the box.  And guess what?  They see my company name, website and phone number.  They taste cake.  They love it.  Then remember they saw where it came from and low and behold, I get business from it.



liz at sugar Posted 11 Jan 2014 , 10:29pm
post #20 of 58

If the local pizza parlor delivers your $10 pizza in a box, why wouldn't someone expect the same from the baker they just paid $100+ to for a cake?



MBalaska Posted 11 Jan 2014 , 10:51pm
post #23 of 58

This is definitely an interesting thread to read, with lots of information to mull over.  And the fact is that you guys are all doing it differently and you are all in successful businesses.  


Thinking back over the Big Money Cake businesses on TV; not only do they appear to NOT cover their cakes, (although some are transported in a box) but they have tons of nasty unsanitary on-camera habits that are off-putting.  For example they walk around in their delivery truck then place a cake board (with a cake) directly on the floor of the delivery truck.

-K8memphis Posted 11 Jan 2014 , 10:52pm
post #24 of 58

i actually go to great lengths to box my cakes, liz, thank you for asking so nice though--


however it's not a crime against humanity to deliver unboxed cakes imo--


it's just done all day every day everywhere--


i mean start a campaign against i guess but it's ok to do this most everywhere--

-K8memphis Posted 11 Jan 2014 , 10:56pm
post #25 of 58

what i mean is i'm surprised at the surprise --


it's ordinary to me--

howsweet Posted 11 Jan 2014 , 11:01pm
post #26 of 58

Scratch, our law states this: Items that are too large or bulky for conventional packaging, like wedding cakes or cupcake bouquets, are not required to be packaged. My cakes are mostly 2 and 3 tier cakes. My other specialty is cupcakes with a 6 inch cake and these all come boxed, but it's the tiered cakes I'm referring to on this thread.


I don't buy this business about my car being dirty. It may have been true when I had kids, but sitting a cake in my car is pretty much like sitting it in my kitchen. If the cake is on the floorboard, it's sitting on a quadruple thick folded sheet. It's not dirty in any way. I'm sure they've done the same research on kitchen counters and the sponges some people use to clean them. Not to mention restaurant kitchens.


Some people don't use clean practices for handling food, but I think if you saw the way I drape the sheets and keep things clean in general, I don't think you'd be too worried about my car or the air circulating in it. I have 90 hours towards a biology degree including microbiology and made A's in organic chemistry - this is not a subject I can't wrap my brain around. People who think there are all sorts of dangerous things floating around in the air, are just uneducated on the subject. Sure, there may be some influenza germs, but those are from the guests at the party. And most people agree the cake should be uncovered where it's probably the very most vulnerable to contamination.


I've certainly seen my cakes go into nasty, dirty cars, but it's in the hands of the customer at that point.


Quote: by liz at sugar


If the local pizza parlor delivers your $10 pizza in a box, why wouldn't someone expect the same from the baker they just paid $100+ to for a cake?

Because the customer cannot fit the box in their car?


I have heavy cardboard boxes up to 16x16x12 inches high.  Anything bigger than that becomes unwieldy.  If you have some suggestions, please share, but I don't know how to handle a larger box than that with a cake in it.

howsweet Posted 11 Jan 2014 , 11:05pm
post #27 of 58


And I said this before, but I guess you didn't see it:

I do mostly high end fondant cakes than can't be stacked at the venue.

howsweet Posted 11 Jan 2014 , 11:08pm
post #28 of 58

Look, I don't want to be in this argument. I only posted because of Godot's inflammatory comment using the word nasty. It's not nasty. If you think it is, then that's your right. Obviously a box is better than not a box, but a box is not always possible or advisable. Hats off to those of you putting your 3 tiered cakes and big cake sculptures in a box.

-K8memphis Posted 11 Jan 2014 , 11:39pm
post #29 of 58

yeah--16x16x16 is the largest that i can do --i can fit 5 in my car ( a sedan) at one time i think--no 6 if nobody's riding shotgun--i've never had a maximum load like that though--and i make removeable plateaus and bottom boards so i can place a maximum 15" cake in there--if i had a 16" cake or larger i would box that one alone --probably have to box the next tier separate too--otherwise the remaining tiers would be too heavy to stack--


how sanitary are moving boxes--how sanitary are cake circles and boxes that sit around every freaking where--if you buy half & full sheet cake boxes do you have them wrap them all up so nothing can get on them? my cake store doesn't even bag those--(but they carry my stuff to the car for me--they are awesome)  but everybody can grab those cake circles with whatever is on their hands--there ain't no sneeze guards on any of those products--they just come packed into in a cardboard box anyhow--


we buy these items and get them home and all of a sudden they are magically clean enough for food--(but our cars are not?)


it's what we do

Godot Posted 12 Jan 2014 , 12:22am
post #30 of 58

ANo, it's what you do. Don't you wipe them down with paper towels and food-safe sterilizing solution?

MY cake boxes come in a pack of 100 - sealed. Drums are sealed.

I would never use a moving box or a used box for food storage or transportation.

As I said before - it's MY responsibility as a food service provider to make sure product arrives safely, and to only use food-safe equipment.

And yeah, it's nasty. I stand by what I wrote. It's my opinion.

Every single cake that leaves my premises is boxed. No exceptions.

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