Do all of you use covered cardboard as the base for your cakes? What about larger cakes, like wedding cakes? Do you use an actual wooden board since the cake is so much heavier? So far I've used my own cake stands and such, but I haven't yet made a cake where I'm not present for the event. Now I'm being asked to make cakes for events that I WON'T be there for. I'm assuming that whatever you use you'll never see again...
Also, do you have to put cardboard dividers between tiers on a stacked cake? I didn't think I saw them doing that on the TV shows I watch, but I seem them for sale from Wilton...
The above is what I consider a cake "drum". I'm not promoting that site, it's just the first good pic that came up when I googled "cake drum". This is the thing you see when you look at a cake that is all set up at a wedding, for example, the one that is decorated (or not). Some people do use taped together cardboard and tinfoil for this decorative base. I either get English style drums (again, google) or use Wilton's decorative bases for cakes that are two tiers or less. I don't trust em any bigger than that.
I personally do not use cardboard anymore for cake circles (under each tier), I use foam core, as I like to control the amount of icing on the sides, and it gives a little more height to each tier. Very sturdy as well.
I use 1/2" foam core most of the time, sometimes wood depending on the weight of the cake, I either cover with pretty foil, I got a bunch of it at Pheil & Holing, or I cover with fondant. I always put a ribbon around the edge to finish it off. The thinner foam core is great between tiers.
I forgot to mention that I always place a carboard cake board the exact size of the cake under the actual cake then I place that on my covered cake board.
Oh yep, duh. Covered with fondant for sure....forgot about that one.
For the base under the bottom tier, I wrap 3 cardboards together and use that for drop-n-run cakes. I use cardboards (unwrapped) between stacked cakes. D&R cakes (drop-n-run) never or rarely have anything that needs returned.
I am a huge fan of foamcore. It's both durable and cost-effective.
I use masonite, both as my cake circles (under each tier) and as my board.
I wrap a single cardboard with pretty food safe foil... for single b-day cakes and occasion cakes...single unwrapped cardboard under stacked cakes. On small tiered cakes, I like debi... wrap 3 cardboards with pretty foil and don't wan't them back. I use either tile or wood, masonite something heavy for under a wedding cake...I get a deposit on all nonedible parts and by gosh they come back. No deposit they seem to get lost in the shuffle!
Hope this helps!
Now I'm being asked to make cakes for events that I WON'T be there for. I'm assuming that whatever you use you'll never see again...
If you'd like items to be returned, you need to charge a security deposit. I have one set fee for plates/pillars/boards, etc., plus an additional set fee for fountain cakes. If you make the deposit price more than what the actual replacement cost is, heck yeah you'll get it back! (if not, you'll have extra to help cover your cost for time and gas running around to re-purchase the items, or cover shipping cost and such.)
I provide a detailed checklist along with a cake cutting guide and an empty box for the couple's 1st anniversary and leave it under the cake table. It's a good idea to keep a copy for your own records too, that way when they return your box of goodies you can compare what was suppose to be returned before you give the deposit back, and charge appropriately for missing or damaged item(s)... (conveniently, the checklist is never included in the return box when they know something's missing!)
Another helpful tip: I mark the back of all my custom-cut plywood boards with permanent marker to include phone number and where to return to if found. Sometimes the venue forgets to keep them with the returnables especially if they are too big to fit in the box. It makes it a bit easier on a bride that's freaking out that she may lose some of her deposit if she believes it may have gotten tossed out. Usually the venue calls someone, and you don't need to worry about losing track of big boards that are out all over the place on the same weekend.