DECEMBER 09, 2013 AT 11:30 AM
Stand & Deliver
Sometimes, what is even more scary than baking, icing, stacking AND decorating a wedding cake, is having to deliver one!
It’s all fine until the night before the delivery day, and then suddenly you are filled with trepidation, your palms are sweating and your mind racing with a thousand questions…have I stacked it right? Are the tiers secure? Is the box going to slide around in the back of the car? Should I have stacked it when I got there? Will there be speed bumps on the road? Will I get lost? Will I get there on time? Will I drop the cake? Obviously a sleepless night on top of all that stress is not really going to help, but hey…it’s the nature of the beast.
For those of you poor unfortunate souls who have had the dubious honour of delivering a cake to an event in the past, particularly a stacked one, you will completely understand what I mean. For those of you who haven’t done it before, but have been asked to do it now…read on and then make your decision!
Of course, the most important thing to remember is to make sure your cake is stacked properly and securely. Back in the mists of time I had a dreadful experience delivering a 3 tiered wedding cake embellished with handcrafted roses to a rather stunning country venue, literally situated in the middle of no-where. All was going well, the cake was sitting happily in its box in the back of the car, I was on time and the sat nav was doing its job, albeit taking me down some pretty narrow country lanes. Then suddenly, from out of nowhere came not just one, but FIVE tractors heading straight towards me. With nowhere to reverse to, and several gesticulating farmers in front of me, I had no choice but to go off-road, which in a Mini was not the best plan. I bumped my way up the grass verge, and it was with a heavy heart that I heard the resonating ‘thud’ from the back of the car.
Upon reaching the venue, things got even worse, as I was greeted by an overly enthusiastic bride and her entourage, who just could not, and would not, wait to see the cake. To be honest, I felt like just throwing it at them and getting out of there before things kicked off, a little like Ross Kemp on Gangs. Instead, I bravely pulled off the lid to find the stuff that horror films are made of. The top tier had slid forward, completely crushing the sugar roses that had taken me so long to make. I wanted to cry. In fact, if memory serves me right, I think I did cry, and the bride ended up comforting me!
Thankfully, all was not completely lost, as I did manage to patch the cake back together, and position the flowers to cover any un-mendable damage. It looked fine, and if you didn’t know what had happened, you wouldn’t have noticed anything wrong. However I knew. It was not a good day.
After that little event I always made sure that my stacked cakes were properly dowelled, well secured with royal icing between the tiers, and I always now make a couple of extra flowers to take with me ‘just in case’.
If that wasn’t bad enough though, another thoroughly unpleasant delivery experience was on the horizon….
I had made a rather brilliant bride and groom topper (if I do say so myself) to go on the top of a particular wedding cake. In my naivety, I had affixed them directly to the top tier of the cake the day before with a little royal icing, instead of sensibly fixing them to a small cake card and positioning them on the cake once at the venue.
All was good as I set off to deliver the cake, although it did look a little bit like the couple were starting to lean slightly backwards. They’ll be fine I told myself as I set off. I knew where I was going, I was on time, I’d delivered a few cakes by now, and was getting a bit too cocky for my own good. Obviously we both know how this is going to pan out though don’t we…they most certainly were not fine.
As I lifted the boot of my car, it was blatantly obvious that both the bride and the groom had made a last ditch bid for freedom! I would like to be able to say that no-one got hurt, but sadly the groom broke several fingers and his arm in two places, and his feet had actually pulled some of the icing off the cake as he fell! The bride, although now halfway down the side of the cake with her mountain climbing gear, didn’t have a hair out of place – thank God for small mercies.
Somehow I managed not to burst into tears, or go into meltdown, but instead decided to channel the Cake Gods. This time at least I had had the foresight to bring with me a small emergency cake repair kit (see, we learn from our mistakes). So with blue lights flashing, I rushed the cake into theatre (the kitchens), whipped out my forceps and bandages and managed to miraculously re-attach all of the groom’s broken limbs, repaired the once flawless icing, and captured the runaway bride. Admittedly, the groom did now look a little like he had a clubfoot, but it was easily disguised, and far better that than having only one arm! The bride and groom loved their cake, and I’m told that they are still happily together.
Its not always the cake the takes a bashing though. We are all human, and sometimes you just can’t help having a bad day.
I knew when I woke up that it was going to be one of those days. The alarm hadn’t gone off, I had to be at my venue by 10am, and it was already 8.30. Not only that but I was putting my entire faith in my sat nav as I had never visited this particular venue before.
While I dashed around, getting dressed my husband was kind enough to load the four tiered giant into the back of the car for me, and I hopped in shortly afterwards with my repair kit, my phone and a postcode for the venue. I had just under 45 minutes to do a 60 minute journey, but that was fine, I could do it in time because why wouldn’t the roads be clear on a Saturday morning?
To be fair, the roads were fairly ok and although it was tight, I did get there on time; what wasn’t ok was that we are talking a rather large scale venue, and my little electronic route finder had for some unfathomable reason decided to take me to the back entrance to the grounds…..the locked back entrance.
I reached for my booking form, which I always bring with me as it provides all the details and phone numbers that I could possibly need, and realised that in my rush to leave, that it was still innocently sitting in the kitchen.
Nevermind….let’s ring 118 118. All well and good, but you’ve guessed it…..no flaming signal! Stay calm…..stay calm. I drove on a little further and pulled over at the glorious sight of signal springing up on my phone. 118 118 gave me the phone number for the venue, and I dialed straight away, feeling a little more jubilant, but Alas…all I got was an answerphone message. Anyway, to cut a very long story short, I eventually rang home to get a mobile number for the wedding co-ordinator who then managed to guide me in to where I should be.
You’d think that that would be the end of it wouldn’t you? But remember how my lovely husband thoughtfully carried the cake out to the car? Well, all I can say is in future….just make sure that you can actually lift the cake yourself when delivering it!
Well if that lot hasn’t put you off and you’ve still agreed to deliver a five tiered cake in the morning, which has taken weeks to design, days to decorate and years off your life…just remember the following:
Make sure you dowel your cake and stack it properly, then put it in a heavy-duty box.
Any unstable decoration may have a better survival rate if you add it to the cake on arrival at your venue, instead of putting it on anyway and just hoping for the best.
Always bring a cake first aid kit with you for any casualties.
Make sure you have all appropriate information with you, such as phone numbers and addresses.
Make sure you or your sat nav know where you are going and how long it is going to take to get there.
Make sure you can actually lift your cake! If not, it may be better to stack it on arrival.
If you’ve done all of that and have faith in yourself, you and your cake will be absolutely fine, so stop worrying, switch of the bedside light, and go to sleep.