Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Sugar Mama explains why you should just pay for delivery

This is a photo from
This is a photo of an actual cake transport mishap!

How do I transport my cake safely?
don't skip to the bottom for the answer!

Here are three things you can say to your cake designer to scare the frosting out of them when you come to pick up your cake.
  1. I can just hold the cake on my lap.
  2. We can just stick it in the backseat.
  3. Where's the nearest subway/bus stop?
Why, you wonder, would these seemingly innocuous statements scare a cake designer. It's because we know, which the average specialty cake consumer doesn't, that these are the top three worst ways to transport a cake. Let's examine...

Your lap is not a good place to hang out if you're a cake during a car ride because whether you feel it or not, you are always in motion. Your knees move up and down. Your stomach and chest move in and out. In your noble try to keep your confectionary treasure safe, you may clutch the box with every turn or stop. You may shift the box to make yourself more comfortable and put the box in a better position. All this motion and shifting isn't good for a moist spongy food, with a soft creamy filling covered with a solid frosting susceptible to cracking.

The backseat sounds safe, right? Wrong. You may have never noticed this before but the backseat of your car is on an angle. When you place some thing meant to be stored flat on an incline for and extended period of time and things start to shift and or slide. If you add in a the bumps and turns of an average car ride then you have a recipe for disaster. This is also assuming your cake won't slide from one side of the seat to the other; which happens time to time.

Mass Transit is the absolutely worst place to take your cake for a ride because it's so unpredictable. You can't control the climate, speed or the amount of people. Is it the middle of Summer and the subway car you're in has no A/C and your going from the Brooklyn Bridge to Yankee Stadium (that's an over an hour train ride for you non NYers)? Oh well. Has the bus driver stopped short unexpectedly and a kid's book bag swings off of his shoulder and onto your cake box? Oh well. Did you get on the bus/subway and there are no seats, so you have to stand and hold the cake? Oh well. And even if you get lucky an get and air conditioned vehicle that's mostly empty, you're still holding the cake on your lap!

So now you're saying, "Ok, brainiac, you made your point. So what's the best way to transport a cake?

Let me do it!

The number one, fool proof method to transport your cake is to pay your cake designer to deliver it. "But I just paid four hundred dollars for this cake," you say. "Why would I pay another 75 bucks for delivery?" The answer is: because you paid hundreds of dollars for your cake! Consider these factors when deciding whether to pay your designer to deliver your cake:
  • They made it! They know what's in it and what's on it. So, if anything falls off, cracks or who knows what else; they can fix it. Most cake designers travel with a delivery kit filled with royal icing, extra fondant, skewers, extra flowers and etc. and pray they don't have to use it.
  • They've probably delivered so many cakes that transporting a cake safely is second nature. Sometimes if I'm driving and I have to brake suddenly, my heart will stop for a few seconds before I realize that there isn't even a cake in the car!
  • Delivery is assumed until the client tells us otherwise. It's part of job. We'd rather deliver and get it there safely than risk something happening.
  • Delivery gives you more time on the day of the event. Have you ever been planning a party for weeks, but on the day of your party your to do list is three pages long and you're running around like a chicken without a head? I've packed more cakes than I care to think about into a car crammed with balloons, gifts, napkins, streamers, people, dogs, kitchen sinks... kidding about the sinks, but not the dogs. Or how about having to ask your less than reliable cousin to pick up the cake because you realized you won't have enough time? Stress much?!
  • Possession is nine tenths of the law and cake disasters can happen to us too! But the difference is while we possess the cake were responsible. If that means repairing, remaking or refunding... if we break it, we bought it. It's like buying an insurance policy for your cake. Having a cake damaged beyond repair is not a fun thought, but imagine having no cake, no money and no one to blame...

  • This cake (right) was made for a really great client. I spent hours working on this cake and was very proud of the results. Instead of paying for delivery, he had a friend pick it up and transport it over an hour to it's destination. This (left) was the result. While I have absolutely no idea why this happened, because I wasn't certain of the cake's traveling conditions, I provided him with a partial refund because I felt bad but if I had delivered the cake and this happened, I might have been able to fix it or at the very least provided a full refund.

Picking up the cake yourself
did you skip straight to the bottom after I asked you not to? Back to the top, you!

Now after I've made this long winded explanation on why delivery is the best option, I still get many client who'll reply, "Yeah, but we'll still pick it up." For that reason, I've put this guide together for picking up and transporting your cake effectively for the novice cake courier.

  • Communicate with your designer. Ask him/her the best way to remove the cake from the box and the best place to store your cake when you get to your destination. Also, check to make sure the cake doesn't slide around in the box. The cake board will either be the same size as the box or secured to the bottom.
  • The cake is best kept cool. For fondant cakes 65- 75 f. is fine. Buttercream cakes should be kept cooler. Please reduce the heat in your car or for best results: no heat in winter & a/c on high in the summer
  • Always hold the cake from the bottom, not the sides and close to your body.
  • The best vehicles for transporting cake are station wagons, vans, hatchbacks or SUV's. Any vehicle with a large flat surface. If you do not have access to one of these (depending on the size of your cake) the trunk or the floor can be used as long as they are clean and cool , but only as last resorts. DO NOT attempt to hold the cake on your lap, and you know why!

  • Please drive carefully. Sharp turns & short stops are your cakes arch nemeses. Ask your designer if they can provide a non slip mat to keep your cake from doing even more traveling than it already has to. If not, you can find it at any housewares store. It's the stuff you put under rugs to keep them from sliding.

  • Depending on your design, you may be required to do some assembly when you reach your destination. Again, communicate with your designer and the best part is you won't be lying if you decide to tell your friends that you decorated the cake yourself.
Don't let this happen to you...

This is a video about a woman with the worst wedding cake disaster I've ever seen. Also, be sure to check out the way she's transporting the cake and see if you can spot any mistakes.

Well it's bake to work for me.

Thanks for tuning in. Until next time....
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