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Carrying a cake on the plane.

MrsJonesey Apr 2, 2013 06:00 PM

Have you ever and would you do it again? We will be visiting our son during his birthday and I am debating whether to attempt this or not. What with a carry-on, laptop, purse...what to do?

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  1. t
    tardigrade RE: MrsJonesey Apr 2, 2013 06:19 PM

    Assuming you're flying in the US - if TSA lets it through (I don't see why not but they can be weird). You'll have to store it somewhere, either in your seat or in an overhead bin. On all the flights I've been on in the last few years the bins fill up quickly, so you'll have to transport it in something crush proof (some passengers apparently have not grasped the concept that two objects can not occupy the same physical space and will try to shove as much as they can in them). Futhermore, airlines are cracking down on the amount of stuff they'll let people bring on board: if you plan on bringing a carry-on bag AND a purse AND a cake container, my recent experience is that they'll have you check the carry-on.

    It's a nice gesture, but unless you are the world's best cake maker or your son lives in an area devoid of bakeries, I'd say don't do it, or just take something small enough to fit into a checked bag or into your carry-on.

    10 Replies
    1. re: tardigrade
      MrsJonesey RE: tardigrade Apr 2, 2013 06:52 PM

      I really appreciate everyone's input. Good ideas about freezing and using a crush-proof container, inside the carry-on.

      1. re: MrsJonesey
        chowser RE: MrsJonesey Apr 3, 2013 08:29 AM

        You can bake it in a large coffee can--comes with its own lid, even!

      2. re: tardigrade
        cleobeach RE: tardigrade Apr 3, 2013 06:43 AM

        On all my recent flights, the airlines were brutal about carry-ons, so +1 to tardigrade's advice. Prepare for the worst.

        1. re: cleobeach
          masha RE: cleobeach Apr 3, 2013 09:49 AM

          As previously noted, I carry cakes (and other food gifts, such as potato pancakes) in carry-on when I visit my mother occasionally. Very infrequently, the TSA guard monitoring the xray machine will note the object and I'll be asked to remove it. I do, explaining that it's a cake, etc. and have had no problems.

          1. re: masha
            Isolda RE: masha Apr 3, 2013 09:55 AM

            Glad to know you haven't had problems with this, but in my experience, TSA agents are very inconsistent--some might say arbitrary--when it comes to bringing food on airplanes. So have a plan B in case you have to abandon your cake for the TSA workers' snack.

            1. re: Isolda
              masha RE: Isolda Apr 3, 2013 10:07 AM

              For what it's worth, my good experiences carrying on food have been at O'Hare, Terminal 1 (United) - i.e., a very busy airport. Generally, I've found that I get more scrutiny at airports that are not busy; seems like the TSA uses the downtime at those airports as training for their new personnel to completely inspect the contents of bags, etc. ORD terminal 1 is always busy, so I think they are fairly adept at "triaging" risks and rapidly conclude that I'm not one.

              1. re: masha
                pollymerase RE: masha Apr 3, 2013 10:13 AM

                I've always found the opposite. I've had things get through fine at small airports like Kansas City, only to have similar items be confiscated at O'Hare. I've really found that it is a total crapshoot and that I should be prepared to leave things behind.

                1. re: pollymerase
                  MrsJonesey RE: pollymerase Apr 3, 2013 05:40 PM

                  Thank you all for sharing your experience. I've got a couple of weeks to decide. If I do, I won't ice it (may just go for brownies or chocolate bread). I'll freeze it, put it in a sturdy container and inside my carry-on.

                  1. re: MrsJonesey
                    Claudette RE: MrsJonesey Apr 3, 2013 08:28 PM

                    You won't believe this but I sawTSA take away a person's cupcake once - said the frosting was considered gel. So stupid - because sometimes I get yogurt passed on through...

                    1. re: Claudette
                      iL Divo RE: Claudette Apr 15, 2013 02:00 PM

                      it's a hit or a miss I've found. a lady got her pnut butter taken but a man's plastic jug of pop went unnoticed-we shrugged

      3. Kris in Beijing RE: MrsJonesey Apr 2, 2013 06:29 PM


        1 Reply
        1. re: Kris in Beijing
          PotatoHouse RE: Kris in Beijing Apr 7, 2013 05:29 PM

          Aww hell no!!

          I am a truck driver and I know firsthand how those package services (mis)treat the packages entrusted to their (lack of) care.

        2. m
          masha RE: MrsJonesey Apr 2, 2013 06:35 PM

          I have done it but only for an un-iced single layer or loaf cake. I freeze the cake, wrapped in foil and then, just before I leave home, put the frozen cake in a plastic container or metal tin that is a snug fit for the cake, and place the container in my carryon bag. Since the cake isn't iced, has been frozen and is in a hard-sided container, it travels pretty well. You can ice it whe you arrive at your destination.

          1. d
            dorolee23 RE: MrsJonesey Apr 2, 2013 06:50 PM

            All I can say is: I've had it with these mother f'ing cakes on this mother f'ing plane!

            1. r
              rochfood RE: MrsJonesey Apr 2, 2013 07:13 PM

              Cakes on a plane ?

              1. KarenDW RE: MrsJonesey Apr 2, 2013 08:08 PM

                Because I have two kids who live overseas, I can totally understand wanting to take a cake, if it's one of their favorites :) But... would freeze, and pack into my carry on, or with my laptop. I can pack enough for a month in Australia into a 22" carry-on and a backpack (laptop goes in the backpack); I buy laundry soap and some toiletries upon arrival. Last time I visited, I bought a "good" cheap knife, to use during my stay, and left if for the kids. Otherwise, I wouldn't have made it past security.

                1. j
                  Jerzeegirl RE: MrsJonesey Apr 3, 2013 08:37 AM

                  Are you staying with your son or at a hotel? If you're staying with your son, why not just buy the ingredients when you arrive & bake it there?

                  1. h
                    holdthecow RE: MrsJonesey Apr 3, 2013 09:54 AM

                    I've done it : ) And very happily and with great success. TSA does allow cakes, you can look on the website for more deets. They're more fussy about pies w/ "liquid" ish fillings.

                    I organized myself enough that I had it under the seat in front of me.

                    And the best part was when I initially went thru security. They opened the cake box and about 4 security workers all said, "Awwwwww!"

                    Really, I say do it.

                    1. olyolyy RE: MrsJonesey Apr 5, 2013 09:26 PM

                      I did this once, on a 6-7 hour flight (along with a generous stash of garlic knots and my suitcase stuffed with 2 dozen onion and sesame bagels...but that's another story/predicament).

                      The cake looked a little worse for wear at the end but was (kind of) worth it. Not knowing how long your flight would be, it's hard to say. I had a fresh cake in a bakery box. This was a specialty regional cake so it was better than not having it at all. Hope this helps.

                      1. PotatoHouse RE: MrsJonesey Apr 7, 2013 05:27 PM

                        I know that Duff Goldman's crew has delivered cakes before by flying them.

                        1. Kris in Beijing RE: MrsJonesey Apr 15, 2013 01:05 PM

                          Did you fly already? How did it go?

                          I was reminded of you because I caught an old episode of Extra Virgin with Debi and Gabriele making a traditional cake... and they make a passing reference to Taking It To Tuscany... from their Cali home.

                          The episode was dated 2011, so the TSA was definitely around.

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