The wedding cake is an important centerpiece for the wedding. If you are not a professional baker you may be daunted by the task of transporting a wedding cake. The transportation of tiered cakes can be particularly stress-inducing as no one wants to be responsible for the cake arriving as a damaged, crumbly mess.
If the idea of traveling with the cake stresses you out, it might be a good idea to practice the journey. Completing it successfully will give you confidence in your abilities and will reduce your overall stress levels.
This is also a good idea if you need to travel down small or winding roads, or uneven terrains. This will alert you to whether it is necessary to plan an alternative route to ensure the cake makes it to your destination safely.
The first thing that you should do is to decorate the tiers of your cake. This should be done before the tiers are stacked on top of each other. You may feel uncomfortable with the idea of moving around cake tiers that have been decorated but trust us, it’s the easier option.
If you are concerned about messing up the decoration then remember that mistakes can be corrected. It will be easier to sort a small slip-up when the cakes have been stacked than it is to decorate each tier when the cake is assembled.
Do not forget that you can align all of the mistakes and least aesthetically pleasing areas of the cake. This side can then be angled away from the bridal party and wedding guests. No one will be any the wiser.
Stack the cakes with supports
Once all of the tiers are decorated, it is time to stack them up. It is easier to fix any mistakes that arise during the stacking process at home than it is at the wedding venue. Plus, having the tiers stacked together means that you only need to worry about one cake sliding during transportation.
This advice is only applicable for cakes with 4 tiers or less, or under 16 inches total height. For cakes taller or larger than this, transport them in sections.
The base of the cake should be on a firm cake board to provide support underneath. We recommend using a generous swirl of frosting on the board to stick the cake to it and keep it from sliding around on the board.
You should also pipe some additional frosting at the seams between each tier. This adds some extra adhesion between the layers and will make the final product appear cleaner.
We also strongly recommend using dowels in each layer of cake. These are wooden cylinders that provide structural support and are widely used in the professional cake world.
These dowels should transverse multiple tiers of cake and travel through the cardboard supports underneath each tier too. This will prevent the tiers from sliding around during transportation.
Chill the cake
This is a particularly important step if you are using buttercream as the predominant icing on the cake. If your buttercream has been chilled down sufficiently then it gives the cake a kind of protective shell.
While the buttercream is still cold it will not take on marks from your fingers (if you are gentle), making it much easier to move and handle. This will also mean that the cake moves around less during transport.
For this reason, it is often a good idea to chill the cake after it has been stacked. The seam piping you did earlier will solidify and help to keep the tiers together during transit.
Boxing the cake up
At the base of your cake box should be a layer of non-skid material. We like to use the non-skid shelf liners you can get at most homeware stores. Lie this on the base of your cake box (or the trunk of your car if you are going boxless).
If you are using a box, choose one that fits your cake board snugly inside. This will mean that the board does not slide around inside the box and reduces the likelihood of accidents occurring.
Cool your cake again
Try to keep the interior of your car as cold as possible. We advise turning your air conditioning onto full blast. Try to mimic the temperature of a refrigerator to the best of your ability.
We recommend allowing the AC in your car to work on full blast for 5-10 minutes before you add your cake to the car. This will also reduce the amount of sweat that will develop on the exterior of your cake during its journey.
When transporting a cake, particularly a large one, you will need to drive more slowly and carefully than usual. This is likely to annoy and upset other road users, but they will get over it. You might just get a few honks or angry glares as you drive.
A slow journey will reduce the slippage of the cake and will increase your chances of getting it to the wedding venue undamaged and in one piece. Take care not to go too fast around sharp corners, and where possible, avoid windy roads.
It is always a good idea to bring an extra cup of frosting and some additional decorations when transporting a wedding cake. This can be used to fix any scratches, scuffs, or imperfections that you notice when unboxing the cake at the venue.
Alongside the frosting, you should bring frosting spatulas and a piping bag to allow you to correctly fix the appearance of the cake.
It is also a good idea to call the venue in advance to see what you will be dealing with when you arrive. If possible, try to ask for a catering cart. This will make moving the cake around so much easier and less stressful. You can use this call to ask other specific questions such as which entrance to use and to give them a rough estimate of what time you will be arriving.