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Nov 20, 2008 03:03 AM

Desserts that travel well

We're traveling to visit the inlaws on Thanksgiving Day. I'm in charge of dessert, and I was initially planning on ordering something online to be delivered a few days before. As I was searching and not happy with the results I thought there was surely something I could make that would travel well. I don't think it needs to look pretty, just taste good (I don't want to show up with crumbs either). We have a 3 hour plane ride, total travel time will probably be about 6 hours from door to door. Other things of note are that we'll be traveling with a 2 year old and an infant. My backup plan is to pick up some stuff at a Whole Foods on the way to their house from the airport. And ordering something locally fpor the in-laws to pick up is not an option... Any ideas? Thanks!

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  1. While you have great intentions of bringing a homemade dessert, I think you should go with the Whole Foods or mail order option. I have 4 and 2 year old kids and traveling is so stressful as it is with kids. Worrying about carrying a dessert with you is just a bad idea IMO. The less you have to carry with you, the better.

    1. If you make a dense cake that ages well - like the Gramercy Tavern gingerbread, or many apple cakes - you can freeze, wrap well, and pack up well to take - with proper support you can even check it. Buy whipping cream or ice cream at Whole Foods when you get there.

      Of note, is that a few folks have had a hard time taking custard pies as carry-ons (e.g. pumpkin). I think it is silly, but technically the custard is a liquid. Others have had no problems whatsoever.

      However, with the new luggage limits, it may be better to pick up a dessert too. Another idea is that Whole Foods has a lot of good ice creams at least here. You can put together a quick ice cream pie or trifle when you get there. A semi-homemade dessert (not Sandra Lee style).

      1. Here's a link to a recipe for one of my favorite cakes, a Crystal Almond Pound Cake from Flo Braker's "The Simple Art of Perfect Baking." The cake can't be frozen, but it stays moist for days. Although light, it's sturdy enough to travel. I'd put it on a a piece of round cardboard (the kind you can buy in a baking supply store) that's at least half an inch wider all around than the cake. Then put the cardboard in a cake box to fit. That will keep the cake from hitting the sides of the box and getting smooshed.

        Pay no attention to the angst this blogger seems to have gone through in trying to make the cake. Don't know what her problem was, but she seems not to be very good about reading directions. Anyway, I've made the cake at least half a dozen times and never had any of the problems she encountered.

        And if not this particular recipe, and you decide you definitely want to bring something from home despite everything else, I agree wholeheartedly with jsaimd that any kind of dense cake--and both apple and gingerbread are great ideas for the holiday--should be quite easy to travel with.

        2 Replies
        1. re: JoanN

          I think this is the time you should make yourself dessert; and this is one of the few times of the year that people do. I would go for a dense and moist chocolate cake or cheesecake that can be freezed and left thawing during trail (who could say no?)

          I made this a month ago and drove it around town for an entire day (in CA, in a cake carrier). it took my marathon buddies, office ladies and hubby 1 week to finish and it was still awesome on the last day.

          holy- this is good cake! and it is not all that hard to bake and assemble and plus you don't really have to decorate it! you won't be sorry! =)

          1. re: JoanN

            Thanks - I love the dense cake suggestions. I was thinking cookies, but my brain wouldn't go any farther than that.

            And thanks to Valerie for the concerns about traveling with 2 kids. We do it pretty often and have a routine down. They're better travelers than most adults. It's the only reason I would even consider adding a layer of complexity to this day...

          2. Cookies or bar cookies do generally travel well, as well, but aren't as festive. No kids, but I have often carried LOTS of cookies a similar distance, with no ill-effect. TSA is generally amused by my enormous bag of cookies. Other options in the snacky dessert rather than formal dessert category include sugared nuts and marshmallows (which continue to amaze people!).

            The food safety police would undoubtedly disapprove, but I've also traveled with a pumpkin bread pudding, and it held up just fine. You could also just travel with a baking dish filled with the bread & cranberries, then mix up a quick custard and bake upon arrival, if you can get over access for an hour or so.