Sending someone a home-baked cake is a fabulous idea and it's a perfect gift for a loved one who lives far away. But can you actually mail something like this Bacardi Rum bundt cake? It's a very good question because you want to ensure that your hard work and the delicious results do not go to waste.
There are two concerns that many people have. First, is whether a cake like that needs to be refrigerated. The other common question is how to package it for shipping. The good news is that it is possible to mail a cake to many places—possibly even international destinations—if it's packed well.
Can You Ship a Cake?
The key to shipping any baked good is ensuring that it arrives safely and doesn't spoil in transit. Not every cake is going to work and you'll want to think twice about sending anything with delicate ingredients or frosting. Your fancy decorations are not likely to make it and the recipient will receive a mess—a delicious one, but a mess nonetheless.
As far as stable cakes go, a rum cake is one of your best options. It doesn't have to be refrigerated and the rum and sugar do a lot to increase the shelf life. Also, a glaze is much less likely to be damaged than frosting.
The other thing to consider is how long it will take for the package to arrive at the destination. If you're shipping it within the country, this shouldn't be an issue. On the other hand, if your cake is going on an international adventure, it's best to do some research on how long it will take to get there.
In theory, a rum cake will likely be good for a couple of weeks. However, that's hard to say because these delicious desserts usually don't last that long at anyone's house.
It is important to check the shipping regulations for the carrier who will be delivering your package. Some have restrictions on food and perishable items.
The United States Postal Service (USPS), for instance, considers food in its "Perishable Matter" regulations. As long as your cake is stable, does not create odors or a health hazard, or deteriorate in an extraordinary manner, you should be okay. However, they do note that "mailable perishable matter may be sent at the mailer's own risk."
Other carriers may have different policies, so be sure to ask before you pack up your cake.
If you are shipping internationally, that is an entirely different matter. Beyond researching the carrier's policies, you need to check into regulations in the destination country. Some will not allow any food to come through the mail, while others are rather lenient.
The USPS website also offers a wealth of information about international mail. Keep in mind that you will likely have to fill out customs forms as well.
How to Safely Pack a Cake
Once you have the information you need and get the green light, you'll need to pack your cake so it arrives safely. There are many valuable tips for shipping baked goods that you'll want to familiarize yourself with before you begin.
The biggest problem with any cake is finding a container to ship it in. Metal tins are the safest way to mail desserts, and if you can find one that fits your cake, use it.
The other option is to create neat slices of the cake and package these in a large cookie tin. Line the tin with a large zipper bag, then place the cake slices inside. Use multiple bags and tins if needed.
To keep the cake from moving around inside the tin, add some type of packing material. When you're sure it's solid and safe, tape the tin shut all the way around so it can't pop open. Put it in a sturdy box and pack the tin with plenty of packing material so it's a tight fit. Seal it up and send it off in the mail.
When you mail anything, there is always a risk that it will be damaged. However, if you take the time to really pack it well and think each step through as you go, your chances of success are increased. With all luck, your cake will arrive safely and be thoroughly enjoyed.