There's a lot that goes into creating the perfect wedding cake: After you've selected the flavors and design for your big-day dessert, your cake maker not only has to bake it, but also get it to your reception in one piece. So how does everyone involved with the wedding cake ensure the treat arrives in perfect condition? We talked to bakers Amy Cullifer, owner of Amy Cakes, and Kimberly Bailey, owner of the Butter End Cakery, and wedding planner Gretchen Culver, owner of Rocket Science Events, to gather their best tips for the smoothest delivery ever.
Get the timing down.
To coordinate a seamless cake delivery, talk with your baker about any specific details that may impact the timing. Your pro may need to do some assembly or apply finishing touches once the cake is arrives as the venue, so you'll want to allocate time for that. You should also ask your venue manager about how your cake will be stored once it's delivered. If your baker will be adding fresh flowers to your dessert, you should also make sure that your florist will still be on-site once it arrives. As for when it should actually arrive at the venue, Cullifer says the cake should be delivered at least an hour-and-a-half before guests arrive. "I feel that is the 'sweet spot' for freshness of both the cake and the flowers," she says, "That setup window also gives us time, should something happen, to fix any mishaps."
Avoid transporting it yourself.
While picking up the cake may seem like a checklist item that the maid-of-honor or father of the bride can help with, transporting a cake is no easy task. If you're relying on a relative or friend to pick up the cake, Bailey suggests having them arrive in an SUV that has a flat compartment in the back. "The cake will be boxed, but cannot stay in a warm car. Cakes also like a slow, smooth ride, so no speeding or fast stops or starts!" If the risk of receiving a less-than-perfect wedding cake doesn't seem worth the delivery charge you'd save, leave it to the professionals. Culver knows the stress of cake deliveries from experience. "I have carried many a cake in my day and I can still remember the first time I had to move one. My heart was in my throat!" Plus, she adds a helpful reminder, "If you drop it, it is your fault. If the bakery drops it, they're obligated to make it right and get you a replacement cake."
Trust the pros to get it done.
Professionals rarely drop cakes during delivery, so your big-day dessert is, literally, in good hands. The team at The Buttery End Cakery always sends someone with extensive training on each of their deliveries. "Not only do our delivery people know how to carefully load, drive the cake to the destination, and off-load the cake perfectly, but most importantly they can address any issue that may happen to the cake," Bailey says. They even keep an emergency kit handy in their refrigerated van so they have any tool they may need, no matter where they are.
Have a plan B in place for dessert disasters.
Just because your baker has flawlessly delivered your wedding cake doesn't mean you're out of the woods yet. Certain mishaps, like your nephew jamming his finger into your cake, are unavoidable. Weather can impact your dessert, too. If you'll be having an outdoor reception, make sure to store and display your cake in a cool, dry area to prevent it from falling. Bailey recommends using a market umbrella to provide shade so that you don't end up with a melted cake. If the cake starts to fall during the event, Culver offers a helpful tip she's learned over time: "Do your cake cutting photo immediately and then have the catering staff move to the back of the house so they can disassemble and cut before disaster happens!"