Cream cheese frosting is way better on your cake than your passenger seat.
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Coconut Cake with Buttercream Frosting
Credit: Becky Luigart-Stayner

Don’t you hate it when you make a beautifully frosted, homemade cake for a friend or special occasion and it’s completely ruined in transit? Well, that is exactly what happened to me when I recently made a carrot cake with cream cheese frosting. I didn’t have a cake box or carrier and opted to simply place the cake on a cake stand, wrap it loosely, put it on my passenger seat floorboard, and hope for the best. This was a big mistake. As soon as I hit the first red light, my cake slid, in what felt like slow motion, off its pedestal right before my eyes. Not only was there frosting everywhere, the cake was barely salvageable. Thankfully, I did have the thin barrier of foil between the cake and the floor of my car, but the majority of the cream cheese frosting did not make it to our final destination. Heartbreaking? Yes. A waste? I’d like to think not.

There are a few critical lessons I learned from this catastrophe: One, never transport a cake in your car with nothing but a cake stand to hold and protect it; and two, your friends will appreciate the effort you made in baking a from-scratch cake, even if half of it is left on your passenger side floor mat and what was delivered is disfigured (it still tasted good). The next time you need to get from point A to point B with a fragile frosted baked good, here are a few genius tricks to transport the goods safely.

First, grab a plate

The first step you’ll want to take is to place your cake on the flattest, largest plate that you have. This makes it easier to carry the whole cake with stability.

Find a box

Rummage through your holiday closet to find a department store gift box or even an old Amazon shipping box that will accommodate the circumference of your plate. Gently place your plate cake into the box. Pad the area surrounding the plate with tissue paper, paper towels, or clean kitchen towels to prevent to plate from moving around in the box.

Bust out the toothpicks

Problem: You don’t want to wrap your frosted cake with plastic wrap, because when you go to remove the clingy plastic, you’re probably going to remove a rough layer of frosting with it. Solution: toothpicks. A handful of toothpicks and aluminum foil can help preserve the frosting and protect it from dust, dirt, or anything else that may stick to your cake in travel. Gently stick about 5 to 6 toothpicks around the top of your cake, then loosely drape aluminum foil to create a tent around the cake.

WATCH: How to Make Hummingbird Cake

Unroll your yoga mat

There needs to be some sort of traction between your box and the floor or trunk bed of your car. A yoga mat will act as this no-slip buffer to prevent your box from sliding around. Non-adhesive Grip shelf liner (often used to line kitchen cabinets) works well also.

Alternatively, invest in an actual cake carrier

All of that said, for the lowest level of hassle and stress, a designated cake carrier may be the way to go. Dollar stores are a great place to find an inexpensive plastic cake carrier/caddy, just check the kitchen section. If you have a few days notice and bake enough treats that you might as well buy something that will last, you can also purchase a cake carrier on Amazon. Of course, the most foolproof way to transport your cake is to have someone in your passenger seat—A.K.A. the ultimate cake carrier—holding it.