Cake Delivery 101: The Check List

I will never forget the first wedding cake I delivered. It was also, the greatest lesson about cake deliveries. My husband usually delivered the cakes with me, but had to work that day. Raul, one of his friends, volunteered to drive me to the reception hall. When Raul arrived to pick me up, he gasped at surprise for the size of the cake. I tried to place the cake in the car but, as Raul’s car was a Sport Spitfire Triumph 1976, a very small two seats car; it was going to be very difficult to find a place for the cake!

It was a three tier wedding cake without separators, covered with poured fondant frosting. Poured fondant was very delicate and to prevent it from cracking, I’d placed the cake, decorated with sugar lace and embroidery, on a round mirror. At a top was a bouquet of sugar roses. But, how I was going to get into this midget car with the cake?

The process of getting both, the cake and myself in the car was a little complicated. Everything that happens usually has bright side, in this case this was a convertible car, but in order to get into it with a 3 tier wedding cake, the manual retractable rag roof had to be removed. I slid the seat all the way back away from the dash board.

After many trials and errors, and Raul guided all my guardian angels, I sat in the sport car with a 3 tier wedding cake on my lap. The cake side was dangerously about 1 inch away from the dash board. Raul was not very happy to go through the trouble of placing the rag top back on the car. But finally we headed on to the banquet hall.

The hall was a 2 hours’ drive to a nearby town. We took a side road. When Raul, who had a heavy foot on the gas pedal, reached the dirt road, the little car shook like a small boat on a stormy sea. The cake started to slide from one side to the other.

“Raul, please slow down, this thing is falling apart!!” I screamed constantly. But the more I screamed the fastest Raul drove, he could not wait to get to the hall. The sugar lace fell.

With the vibration created by the shift changing and the speed, the poured fondant started to crack. I tried to hold the cake in place, but the frosting was sticky, my hands were sweating, and my heart thudded with fear of facing the people at the banquet hall with that disaster cake.

When we arrived at the banquet hall, the florist, the banquet manager and the caterer were busy preparing the hall. None of them had any idea how to help and were busy with their own work.

“We are two hours away, not enough time to go home, fix the cake and return,” I thought. I asked Raul to find a bakery to fix the disaster. At the bakery, the person in charge could not help. The baker said he did not have the authority to let anybody use the equipment. I was upset and started to blame Raul for the situation. At that moment the bakery owner, Rafael, entered and asked why I was crying. I explained to him my predicament.

“I don’t see a way to fix this cake.” Rafael said.

“ I know how to fix it, but I need some tools and butter cream,” I said.

He called the baker and authorized him to give me the things needed. I asked for a decorating bag, a small tip number one and a star tip number 16. At the bakery they did not use that specialty equipment. Instead, he offered a piece of parchment paper, big star tip number 199 and the butter cream. They also lent a spatula, lots of paper napkins and water to clean the mirror.

With the parchment paper I made a decorating bag. To make the parchment paper bag, I folded the paper in an angle and made a triangle, and with it made a cone and secured the top corner where the tips of the triangle met. I cut the tip of the cone to make a very small hole and filled it with butter cream.

I separated the three cakes, then repositioned the base tier in the center of the mirror. Once the base was centered, and the mirror thoroughly cleaned, I proceeded to decorate the three cakes with cornelli lace. Cornelli lace is a design that gives the cakes a very delicate look, also known as “the mistake cover”. The cakes were placed in their original positions. With the star tip 199 I made a shell border to dissimulate the ragged edges at the bottom of the cakes. The lace pieces that did not break were placed around the rose bouquet. The bakery owner was amazed at the final product. I was very grateful for the help he’d offered.

“Thanks for your help! I will never forget this moment, you are like an angel sent to help me, Rafael.” I said.

We got back at the car with the cake balanced on my lap. This time Raul drove carefully. We arrived at the hall just in time to place the cake on the assigned spot. Everybody celebrated the cake.

When I told my husband the cake delivery experience, he gave me an unforgettable advice. “For the deliveries, you must have a checklist, the same way an airline pilot has a check list before departure, you need a check list before departing to deliver a cake.”

My biggest lesson from this experience was: be organized and pay attention to details.

Here is my cake delivery check list:

  1. Have the proper transportation.

  2. If the cake has more than one tier, insert a wooden dowel through the tiers for them to stay in place.

  3. Bring extra pieces of the ornaments used in the decoration.

  4. Tool box with butter cream, decorating bags, tips, and the colors used to decorate the cake, a big spatula and a little one, wet napkins to clean the mess, if necessary.

  5. When facing the unexpected, look for the solution and not for the guilty.

  6. I am responsible for the safe delivery of the cake. Never expect help from people working at the hall. The florist is too busy decorating, the caterer withthe food, the banquet manager with all the things that pertain to the affair. They do not have the knowledge nor the time to help.

  7. It is important to keep my work organized, the tool box complete, and don’t forget the Check List.