I have volunteered to make the wedding cake for my cousin's wedding in July which is a two hour drive from where I live and over the border. I have looked at the US border website and they say that bringing baked goods over is okay (which I have done many times but on a much smaller scale). I would bring the tiers separately and set up at the church after the Friday evening rehearsal. I am planning on covering the cakes with fondant on Thursday and all fillings would be non-perishable. Would anyone recommend that I NOT do this? I'm particularly nervous about the border inspection - is it at all possible that they would want to pull apart a 14" cake to verify the contents?
I don't know about the border regulations as the last time I crossed was way before the new restrictions. Perhaps you could be sure to take along the wedding invite and one of your business card to show them if they question you.
You can call them. They are very good (at least when I've called) about answering border crossing questions. I had the number at work so I don't have it on me but you should be able to google it.
Please let me know if you get an answer on this, I am transporting a birthday cake on April 4 and I never even thought about that.
I just looked at the US Customs website and I'm pretty sure this means we are safe as long as we aren't bringing in any African bush meat. Sorry, that just tickled me.
Food Products (Prepared)
You may bring bakery items and certain cheeses into the United States. The APHIS Web site features a Travelers Tips section and Game and Hunting Trophies section that offers extensive information about bringing food and other products into the U.S. Many prepared foods are admissible. However, bush meat made from African wildlife and almost anything containing meat products, such as bouillon, soup mixes, etc., is not admissible. As a general rule, condiments, vinegars, oils, packaged spices, honey, coffee and tea are admissible. Because rice can often harbor insects, it is best to avoid bringing it into the United States. Some imported foods are also subject to requirements of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Eisskween: I've taken a birthday cake over with no problems before - I think I just told them I had some baking that I was bringing over. I don't think you should have a problem.
It depends on the ingredients and the intent of the import.
Did you purchase the cake? The border agent will see the choice of bringing a cake through customs as a choice to not use commercial services in Canada to create the cake, and will likely increase your hassle because you will likely have a hard time assuring him that the cake was supplied within NAFTA using ingredients not contaminated with E Coli etc etc etc. Having "made in the USA" on it prominently would help with the NAFTA exemption. But strictly speaking, if you are not trying to hide the importation of a prohibited ingredient, it should be legal. If you baked it, list the ingredients and what due diligence you did to ensure all the ingredients were legal, and you "should" be good.
However, it is extremely unwise to knowingly try to bring any kind of foodstuff across the border. It is always going to be suspicious why you are importing a manufactured good wedding cake, and why if you can get legally married in Canada, why you aren't using Canadian resources in that process.
Worst of all would be failure to declare- if they have any suspicion which warrants the need for search, a fully baked cake is not likely to survive the search process, even if it is found to be legal. You won't be fined, but your plan will be halted nonetheless.
You're coming FROM Canada TO the US, right?
I've only transported a wedding cake over the border in the other direction, and it was my wedding present to Canadian friends (I'm in Michigan).
I would be sure to mention (if asked about it) that you baked it yourself, and that it's a present, to make it clear that you're not trying to do business across the border, which is what they're most apt to be worried about.
As mentioned, make sure there are no perishable fillings, since there are rules about taking things like fresh fruit over the border.