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How to Ship Cupcakes

It is notoriously hard to ship cupcakes.  When trying to ship cupcakes, there is that pesky problem of keeping the cupcakes from turning upside-down and the gift arriving as a frosted box rather than frosted cupcakes.

So How Do You Ship Cupcakes?

So how do you ship cupcakes?  The answer is to use half pint mason jars as your cups! The mason jars are oven safe – you can bake your cupcakes directly in the jars.  Put 1/4 cup of batter in the jar – leaving room for plenty of frosting – and place the jar directly onto your oven rack (make sure the lid isn’t on!).  Bake just as you would your regular cupcakes.

When the cupcakes are out of the oven, wait for them to cool and frost them (most frostings will work, although I wouldn’t recommend using whipped cream because it doesn’t freeze as well). Then, seal the jars and freeze them.  Once they are frozen solid, decorate the jars however you like (ribbons and gift tags work well), pack them well (broken glass is worse than smooshed frosting), and ship them next day air.  If you are shipping them somewhere warm, you might also want to include an ice pack in the box to ensure that they stay cool during their travels.

Do you have another way to ship cupcakes?  Please share it in the comments!

The Specific Cupcakes in the Photo

The cupcakes in the photo are brandied cherry cupcakes.  Because I baked them in the jars, I was able to make them extra moist without fear of the wrappers falling off.  They are loaded with brandied cherries and then drizzled with extra cherry syrup.  They would make an outstanding holiday gift.

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Brandied Cherry Cupcakes
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5 from 1 vote

Brandied Cherry Cupcakes

Brandied cherry cupcakes are dense enough to travel well.
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword brandied cherry cupcakes, vanilla buttercream
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 18 cupcakes
Calories 411kcal


Brandied Cherry Syrup Ingredients

  • 2 15 ounce cans of cherries in heavy syrup
  • ½ cup brandy

Cupcake Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¾ cup unsalted butter room temperature
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • Brandied cherry syrup from above
  • Brandied cherries from above
  • 18 half pint mason jars

Frosting Ingredients

  • 1 cup unsalted butter room temperature
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 4 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • ¾ cup mini chocolate chips


Brandied Cherry Syrup Directions

  • Combine ingredients in a medium-sized saucepan.
  • Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to medium-low.
  • Simmer for fifteen minutes.
  • Use a sieve to strain out the cherries. Reserve both the syrup and cherries.

Cupcake Directions

  • Directions
  • Preheat oven to 350 F.
  • In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, and baking soda.
  • In another medium-sized bowl, beat butter, sugar, and honey until well combined.
  • Beat eggs and milk into the butter mixture.
  • Alternately fold the flour mixture and 2/3 cup of the cherry syrup into the wet ingredients.
  • Fold in all of the brandied cherries.
  • Scoop ¼ cup of batter into each mason jar.
  • Carefully, put the jars directly onto the oven rack – no baking sheet is needed. Important: Do not put the lids on.
  • Bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out dry.
  • Remove from oven and pour 1 tablespoon of cherry syrup into each jar. The cupcake will absorb the syrup.

Frosting Directions

  • Directions
  • Mix butter and powdered sugar until light and fluffy.
  • Mix in vanilla bean paste and milk until fully combined.
  • Fold in chocolate chips.
  • Pipe onto cooled cupcakes.
  • Seal the jars.
  • If desired, freeze until ready to gift.


Nutrition Facts
Brandied Cherry Cupcakes
Amount Per Serving
Calories 411 Calories from Fat 180
% Daily Value*
Fat 20g31%
Saturated Fat 12g60%
Cholesterol 67mg22%
Sodium 52mg2%
Potassium 103mg3%
Carbohydrates 51g17%
Sugar 34g38%
Protein 3g6%
Vitamin A 805IU16%
Vitamin C 0.5mg1%
Calcium 48mg5%
Iron 1.2mg7%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Have you tried this recipe?Click here to leave a comment and rating!

Shout Out

A special shout out to CakeSpy and Beantown Baker for the shipping in jars inspiration.

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78 comments on “How to Ship Cupcakes”

  1. Genius! I would never think to send cupcakes but I bet this would work. It would be so fun to get a homemade cupcake in the mail.

  2. Yolandasays:

    Oh I love this idea. Would be so sweet to send to someone for their birthday, too.

  3. Bobbi Tsays:

    What kind of box do you put the jars in? Aren’t jars kind of heavy, contributing to the shipping cost?

  4. Stefsays:

    Bobbi – Yeah, you’re right. They are heavy and shipping can be expensive. You might not want to send a full dozen. Even one or two could brighten someone’s day.

  5. Great post! I make lots of cupcakes and so this will be so useful!

  6. Amysays:

    I seen these on tipjunkie awhile back,..I am so doing it this yr. I am not baking mine in the jars though.making mini cuppies and putting in jar…sorta cheating, but no wrappers to mess with.

  7. Johnnasays:

    I bake pie in mini jars (the wide mouth 3 oz. jars) and ship them in the large Priority Mail flat rate boxes. They are a little bit heavy and a little pricey, but on the positive side, they have made it to the other side of the country safely and created really big smiles. I’m excited to try it with cupcakes!

    Here’s my pie-in-a-jar post:

  8. Seriously, shipping cupcakes is probably one of the hardest things to do ever. Baking them in the jar in a great idea because they will be less likely to move around.

  9. Debbiesays:

    A brilliant idea! I always send cookies at Christmas time, but I would love to send some of my newest cupcakes to my faraway friends, thanks!

  10. This is utterly, and completely original!!! Cupcake Genius! I totally dig being able to eat a cupcake with a personal spoon…swoon!!!

  11. Ruchi Msays:

    I am totally inspired by your blog before I bake any cupcakes… all the way in India – and those better than sex cupcakes and vanilla bean butter cream recipe are great!!!

  12. Arisays:

    I tried the mason jar method yesterday so that a friend of mine could take cupcakes to her boyfriend in Hawaii (he looooves my cupcakes), but the batter pulled away from the glass and made them look kind of weird… Should I adjust the baking time or something? Other than that it appears to have worked quite well!

  13. Stefsays:

    Ari – No sure why that would have happened. Have you made that same recipe in cupcake wrappers? Does it also pull away from the wrapper? It could be the recipe you chose.

  14. Raesays:

    When you say seal the jar, do you mean just putting the lid on or fully heat sealing it? I would think the heat would melt the frosting

  15. Stefsays:

    Rae – I just meant to put the lid on. Sorry for any confusion.

  16. Jensays:

    So cute with the spoon tied to the jar! I’ll have to remember that next time I make these.

    I like to use the flat rate boxes from the post office and just send as many as will fit at once.

  17. Gabbysays:

    that is super cute. One time this company delivered cupcakes in dry ice. The cupcakes were less than fantastic.

  18. Anonymoussays:

    OH, thank you!!!! You have seriously just made my life better (and a friend’s birthday fabulous!)

  19. This is such a great idea! I had to share on my blog post about shipping handmade treats today! Care Package Ideas for Homemade Goodies

  20. Leanspasays:

    My nephew wants aunt seeny to make him some cupcakes.
    I live in Illinois and he lives in Texas….!

  21. Harrietsays:

    If you happen to be shipping to a military loved one, reconsider if they are on a ship. They have limited capacity for disposal of anything but paper/plastic and have precious little storage for themselves. Just a thought. Some boxes are also taking upwards of 3 weeks for the sailors and Marines to receive them when aboard ship, so be cautious of homemade frosting.

  22. Most amazing idea I have ever seen.

  23. Anonymoussays:

    you should pattent that idea!

  24. Love it!!! I can now send goodies! I’d love to share this on my blog, if you don’t mind, you being featured of course! Stop by and see, or even join my linky party called A Themed Baker’s Sunday where this weeks theme is cakes!
    Cupcake Apothecary

  25. I just bought the jars yesterday, and am very excited to start making some today for some of my friends in College! I just had one question, and I hope it’s not a stupid one. How did you get the frosting into such a perfect dollop on top of the cupcake? I’m just worried about it glopping all over the place and not looking quite as neat.
    How did you do it?

  26. Stefsays:

    Morgan – I just piped it with a star tip and then froze it so it would keep the shape.

  27. teeteesays:

    What an absolutely ingenious idea for shipping cupcakes. I might add that I like the idea for gift giving in general. Thanks so much and I am so happy to have found you.


  28. Bethsays:

    I absolutely love this idea. we are having a big halloween party this weekend and I am making homemade pumpkin cupcakes in the jar as a “takeaway”.

  29. OneSweetMommssays:

    love this idea! would have never thought of that! so cute too!

  30. I found cheaper jars on Kmarts website, 8.99 for 12! that’s roughly .79 a jar! Im looking forward to trying these!

  31. Anonymoussays:

    Do you need to grease the bottom of the jars? I wouldn’t think that you would since they are glass but I wanted to make sure before I tried it. Thanks

  32. Stefsays:

    Anon – Nope. I didn’t grease the jars.

  33. I am going to try this today. I’m going to send one to comedian Chris Hardwick for his birthday, which is 11/23. A group of fans are all sending cards with a similar design, and whatever else we want. He’s had my baked goods before, so I know he’ll love it. I might make another for a friend. I just love this idea!

  34. Chiantelsays:

    This is such a wonderful idea! I am so glad I came across your blog today because I was trying to figure out how to ship out cupcakes for Christmas. This is perfect! I do have one question for you though – you said to put about 1/4 cup of batter into the jar, place directly onto the oven rack and bake as you normally would bake the cupcakes….well since cupcakes usually bake 12 at a time..can I place 12 jars onto the oven rack?? Or do you suggest baking fewer at a time?

    • debrasays:

      I’ve seen,bought and sold Cakes in a Jar for years. Women up in Smokey mountains been making them for years. Their cakes fill the whole jar .are super moist, but do have short shelf life.

  35. Anonymoussays:

    This would look so cute on my wedding dessert table. Thanks for the idea!!!

  36. Lindseysays:

    Fantastic idea! So freezing them won’t affect the taste after the cupcake with frosting has thawed? What type of shipping box is best? I can’t wait to try this! Thanks so much.

  37. Anonymoussays:

    This is such a cute festive idea. I have a much cheaper solution though…. my husband was deployed to Kuwait during the holidays last year, so I went and picked up plastic tupperware. Many companies now sell small shallow lidded cups, which can be stacked. Many of these can be vacuum sealed, for long distance shipping, and they also come in packs of 6 or 12. The upside is they are inexpensive and also light. They add virtually no weight to the package. I frosted and filled the cupcakes, and they arrived frosting in place, right side up… all the way to the middle east!

  38. Anonymoussays:

    I read somewhere that freezing frosting will make it runny and gross after it defrosts. Is that true or will it be ok?

  39. Anonymoussays:

    Has anyone shipped the traditional way – a dozen in a box? Is the only way to freeze dry them? How do we avoid them toppling over?

  40. mauisays:

    This is awesome! I’ve never shipped cupcakes before but my sister is now in Vermont and I’m in Illinois and want to send her some cupcakes for her birthday. One question though, how can I ship cupcakes if the frosting needs to be refrigerated? Thanks!

  41. Stefsays:

    Anon with the Tupperware idea – LOVE it!

    Anon about the shipping in the box – I’ve never tried it. But, I just posed the question about cupcake shipping to my FB community so maybe someone else can help!

    Maui – Freeze them first.

  42. Stef, I stumbled upon your blog after seeing it on a friend’s Facebook page. I’m getting married next year but haven’t officially asked the members of my wedding party. I read about someone sending cookies with the message of “Will you be my bridesmaid?” but now reading about how you can ship cupcakes, I like this idea even better! Thank you for your wonderful baking suggestions, recipes, tips, and inspirations!

  43. Nimsays:

    My friends birthday is coming up and I desperately wanted to post her some cupcakes but had no idea how it would be possible. You have solved the issue and I am incredibly grateful; thank you!

  44. iss iffsays:

    i want to mail cupcakes from toronto, canada to dubai, UAE.. and it takes about 7-8 days to deliver.. do you think the cupcakes will taste fine by the time they reach? will they go stale?

  45. Faithsays:

    I’ve done this a number of times. I love shipping cupcakes in a jar!! I use the little 4 oz jars, bake enough batter so that it fills half of the jar and fill the remainder of the jar with buttercream, all the way to the top. Seal them up and ship them out. I typically just ship ups ground, which sometimes takes 3-4 days and they arrive tasting great! I’ve had one box take well over a week to arrive and they were perfect. I did try adding sprinkles to the frosting once, however they dissolved and left odd color blotches (even for ones that arrived next day). Have you used sprinkles, etc. with success? I’m wondering if freezing with the sprinkles on would help?

  46. Terrific idea! Have tried shipping cupcakes using sturdy box but sometimes the icing got messed up. Thanks Stef for this.

  47. Anonymoussays:

    I just stumbled upon this and now I am just thankful for.. “if it fits, it ships” haha!

  48. Nicolesays:

    I am just wondering why you freeze them? Is it hold the shape of the frosting? Im asking because I am in the middle of making them now and would like to mail them today….

  49. I’m planning to start my own online cupcake shop which i can ship nation wide. But, considering the risk of the cake being destroyed during the journey and considering that the courier, here in my country, are lack in responsibility. I’ve decided to sell just for the local customers..

  50. Hi,
    I was wondering what type of mason jars you bought. Were they wide mouth or regular mouth?
    The link you gave us was for regular mouth mason jars but the pictures on this blog looks like wide mouth jars.

  51. Laurensays:

    I work at a cupcake bakery and we always tell the customers never to refrigerate the cakes bc it makes the cake itself really dense. Is it the same effect with freezing? Also, will the frosting arrive in that smooth velvety form still, after freezing?

  52. OMG this is a brilliant idea and a great find. I work for a lady who owns her own bakery using fresh organic ingredients: Daisy’s Desserts The only downside to that is not being able to ship orders because it loosing authenticity, freshness and beauty so we will definitely be trying this approach first thing Friday! Thank you for sharing. Check out our website

  53. This idea works very well. I make what I call J-Cakes. Layers of cake and frosting in a jar and beautifully wrapped. I do vendor events so the cakes with frosting keep well in the sun. No frosting melting all over the tables.* I’d love to share my blog with you all!

  54. Anonymoussays:

    If this is your picture I just saw someone passing it off as their own.

  55. samsays:

    Steph, thanks for your advice but I have more questions or rather a huge advice needed from you If I want to ship overnight a red velvet with cream cheese frosting in a jar, should I freeze/or refrigerate and ship with dry ice or should I freeze/ or refrigerate and send with ice packs.
    Where do you buy a small styrofoam container that fits at least 6 jars.
    And if i were to use a buttercream frosting would you even freeze the cupcake? does it defrost in good condition?

    thank you!!!

  56. SweetTee'ssays:

    I am wondering about the cupcakes being place upside in the box, wouldn’t that mess them up?

  57. Rob Lsays:

    the jar idea is not cost effective, it looks nice but it is wasteful. the best way is a standard plastic 6 cupcake tray wit a large toothpick in the center or a plastic drink squire, you know the ones that hold the cherry. it prevents the cupcake from getting squished..and put a this side up sticker o it for the post office..with disposable cooling pad on the bottom they can last 5 to 7 days on the road and get from boston to California nice and fresh…

  58. ミズノ マキシマイザー

  59. Yvonnesays:

    How long will they stay fresh without being refrigerated. Cupcakes normally shrink a little after a day does sealing them in a jar prevent this? I have a couple of my favorite recipes that call for fresh fruit to be baked in them or topped with fresh fruit, will sealing the jar keep them fresh and how long? Thank you so much. Can’t wait to ship to the grand babies.

  60. Elizabeth Singersays:

    The recipe for the Brandied Cherry Cupcakes is no longer on Paula’s website. Any chance you could publish it or send to me?
    I love everything you do, and these look like they would be wonderful as well!

  61. Stefsays:

    I added it to this post. Thanks for bringing this to my attention!

  62. Nancy M Gillessays:

    don’t ice the cupcakes..fill a pastry bag and when they are delivered ice them once they arrive.

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