Because you know they’re piling up in your cupboards.

By Stacey Ballis
February 04, 2021

I bet you are experiencing this same pattern in your pandemic household that I am in mine: lots of homemade baked goods stacking up on your counters and lots of to-go containers stacking up in your cupboards. But here's the fix for both, and it's a genius one:

1. Give away some of what you bake to your neighbors (safely, of course).

2. Reuse all those deli and disposable containers as your give-away vessels!

But here's the hack: Use the takeout containers upside down.

Why it's hard to package up baked goods

One of the problems with baked goods distribution is always the container. Trying to place slices of things gently into a high-sided vessel without ruining crust or crumb, snapping on a lid without smooshing frosting. And then the reverse, trying to get the item back out without total dessert implosion. Sure, slightly smushed desserts are still delicious, but they don't have the same impact.

Takeout Containers
Credit: Getty / yulkapopkova

Upside-down takeout containers to the rescue!

My eureka moment came when I needed to transport a small six-inch birthday cake to a friend. I did not want to send it in one of my large cake carriers, they are all too big, and then you need to coordinate a return, which is like saying "Here is a birthday cake…plus a future errand." But I also did not want to just go with the "paper plate and foil dome and a prayer" method, which always results in frosting damage. Digging around in my cupboards, I came across a large deli container that had once held a half-gallon of potato salad I had picked up for a BBQ. As I pulled it out, it flipped over and landed, lid side down, on the floor. And my brain looked at it and thought, now THAT looks like a mini cake carrier! I placed the cake on the lid, flipped the bowl over like a dome and clicked it into place. It was perfect!

Ever since then, if I am sharing desserts with people, chances are they are receiving them in upside down takeout containers. A single cupcake, a slice of pie or Bundt or layer cake, a festively decorated cookie, all can be safely transported and served at their best.

Tips for pairing takeout containers with baked goods

  • Deeper containers work best for tall slices of cake or cupcakes, while shorter ones are good for pies and tarts.
  • Be careful when snapping on the lid to ensure it is locked in; it is easiest to start in one corner and hear that snap and then work your way around.
  • If you think your item might slide around in the bottom, a smear of frosting can help it stick (cupcakes in liners can get a small ring of tape to secure them).
  • Make sure your reused takeout container hasn’t retained any odors of the original food—you do not want your gorgeous cheesecake to pick up a tinge of masala dal on its way to your bestie!