Okay - here's the situation...
I have made a couple of cakes for clients about 1/2 hour away. Last year we discussed her sister's wedding cake and how they would love for me to make the cake. It's 3 1/2 hours away - in another state. I told them I would IF they would check with the reception venue to make sure that it was okay. In Iowa we can do home-based bakery (non-hazardous) and it is fine. Not sure about Nebraska. I just didn't want to go through all that work and send a cake with them and have it turned away. That would be awful.
Fast forward to today....
They want to know if they can find someplace for me to work, would I make the cake THERE. They said they would pay my expenses for the weekend (and for the cake, too!) and would I be willing to do this. So, I again mentioned that it needed to be okayed with the venue to have what the state/venue would view as a "homemade" cake. If it is okay, I think I'll request it in writing on their letterhead. The caterer already told them that it was probably just fine, but I want a DEFINITIVE answer.
Would YOU do this? I want to, really badly, because I think it would be a great experience (or a terrible one that I will never do again!). I'm thinking of telling them that I'd rather bake the actual cakes in my own oven (because I know how THAT one works) and travel with them frozen to avoid breakage. Then all I have to do is decorate and stuff in a weird environment. I want to, but it's kind of scary, too!!!!
Your sage advice is much needed on this one! (Oh, and if there are any expenses that I'm not likely to think of on my own - feel free to mention them!)
I've made a couple of cakes "on location"... one of which was my best friends wedding cake!
I've also made all of the components in my kitchen, baked cakes, frosting, filling, colored fondant, gumpaste flowers etc... and traveled with everything ready to assemble on sight! BY FAR the easiest way, for me, was to make it all, trasport, then assemble.
When I had to bake and mix and color and decorate in another location.. I feel like my work was very compromised! I was really disappointed because I KNEW that it would have turned out so much better if I made it in the comfort of my own kitchen!
I'll make a cake in a 'foreign' kitchen if absolutley necessary, but I'll also try to move heaven and earth so that I can get most of the components made in the controlled atmosphere of my own kitchen! ~~
That's kind of what I was thinking! Thank you!
I've baked at home and assembled elsewhere. It was fine. I'd be too scared to bake in a different oven, like you said! Especially at the last minute before the event, I'd have a heart attack from the stress. Good luck!
Would it be possible to bake tiers and decorate them as much as possible then transport them in individual boxes and assemble and finish decorating once you get there? I am making my son and future DIL's cake next March and that is my plan. They are 4 hours from me and are inviting 270 people.
I just made a cake for my daughter's birthday, baked, filled, frosted, and covered it with fondant.. packed it in a very large tin can.....(also packed the gumpaste flowers individually).... traveled with it for 24 in the car... then when I opened it... the fondant was all messy..the delicate gumpaste flowers were unscathed!!!
next time, I'll plan a little extra time to cover the cake AFTER I travel!!
Wow, jonahsmom, how flattered you must be that they want your cake so badly they're willing to pay all of your travel expenses, etc. I'm sure they want it for a reason -- your creations must be beautiful and delicious!
I think it all depends on how you look at it.
I would look at it as being a personal chef. I would view it as the bride being able to say "I'm flying my baker in from out of state to make MY cake." (oh yeah .... there's value in that!). I would view it as expanding my territory and having my skill being "in demand from other states".
I would view it as a definite marketing tool to enhance my reputation and value.
I have a local photographer friend who has a goal of shooting a wedding in an Ireland Castle. He wants to go global and he's already been to Jamaica to start his fantastic journey
It's all in the marketing. Take it and run with it!!
I've made the 4 hour trip with assembled cakes...I do not recommend it! They always need repair. I transported a 3 tier cake 8 hours by car but baked, filled and frosted the tiers then transported them in individual boxes. I made up all the decorations and fondant in advance then covered and decorated there. That worked nicely. Best of luck to you and best wishes to the couple!
If you don't mind the stress - I'd go for it! I agree with the others about making the individual tiers ahead of time and traveling with them separated. That way you don't have to worry about using different equipment/oven then you are used to. I just made a two tier cake this past weekend and traveled 8 hours with it (tiers separated) and it made it no problem. Assembled on site and the client (my 2 year old niece!) loved it!
I've had to do this several times since we live about a 90 minutes (*bumpy*) drive from our families. I agree: bake, mix, etc at home and then decorate/assemble at the destination city. My only advice is to plan ahead and make lists (check them twice..) of anything and everything you could possible need, especially if disaster were to strike.
And congrats to you on having such a loyal following ~ your cakes must be superb!
I have shipped all of my supplies by courier to the other side of the country to make my brother's wedding cake which I baked in his Mother In Laws kitchen. Nice way to get to know people - get them measuring ingredients for you. LOL. Everything worked out well but it was about 3 gruelling days of baking and mixing and icing and etc. etc. from 7am until 2 am (had to catch a tiny bit of sleep in there!). They were shocked when I got there the first day and pulled out my level to check the ovens LOL.
BUT..... If I would have had the choice - I definately would have baked and prepped in my own kitchen and assembled elsewhere. I would have been able to spend 1 and a half of those 3 days visiting with family.
I did it last Month for my Sisters surprise 50th Birthday and that was 5000kms away - 9.5 hours of flying and sitting around in Air Terminals.
(latest photo in my gallery)
I did it out of Love - but if your getting Paid - hell yes, go for it - who knows what it might bring your way.
Plus you have the joy of knowing - you did it for your Sister.
I transported a cake 6 hours for a dear friend of my daughter. I baked and crumb coated the tiers then decorated them in my SIL's kitchen. She was amazed at the work involved and my brother cleaned the kitchen! I then transported the individual tiers two more hours and set up the cake on site.
I did take my pans with me-just in case. But the tiers traveled well.
I've transported a groom's cake from Arkansas to Iowa for a wedding. I was a nervous wreck the entire 12 hour drive. But we, and the cake, arrived intact...at least the cake was lovely and delicious. I, however, was a little worse for wear.
lking12- great tip about taking your pans along too, just in case! Doing this myself at the end of the month and am taking cakes baked and ready to go, but might not have thought to take the pans along, Thanks!
And to the OP- GO FOR IT!!!!!! I think it is a great opportunity for all the reasons everyone else has mentioned.
Thank you for all of the advise and the ¡§go for it¡¨s! I¡¦m getting pretty excited. I just talked to the sister of the bride over lunch and the bride is basically letting them plan the wedding. Of course sister of the bride said she HAD to give her input! I guess she kind of wants to be surprised ¡V so design is going to be largely up to me (and the sister, but I think she¡¦ll let me run with it!)
And, the venue is letting me use their stainless steel EVERYTHING kitchen to decorate in. They said the ovens haven¡¦t been used in ¡§who knows how long¡¨ so they suggested I bake at home, which is what I told her my preference was anyway. So I¡¦m thinking fill and crumb coat to travel and decorate there. Should I travel with them frozen? I¡¦m thinking that would be the safest to avoid breakage. Thoughts? It¡¦s only a 4 hr-ish drive, so shouldn¡¦t be too bad. But I would feel safer frozen I think!
I¡¦m getting sooooo excited! The only bummer is that I was just cast (as a VERY minor role) in our local community theater¡¦s production of Wizard of Oz. And when I say minor, I mean something that she adds to the show everytime she directs it. Shhh¡Kdon¡¦t tell. She¡¦s not supposed to do that! A quartet of singers that help the show move from one scene to the next by singing songs from the show a capella. I¡¦m not the only 1st Soprano that can carry the quartet, I¡¦m sure. Community theater = zero pay. Weddings = $$$$. I¡¦m sure she¡¦ll understand why I¡¦m making this decision!
I am going to let her know that all of the details have not been 100% worked out yet and that it is possible the deal could fall through. Hopefully not, but it is possible. Y¡¦all know how that works! Our first rehearsal is to be tonight, but will be just a read through and quite honestly I probably won¡¦t have much to do! I do plan to go to that, unless she tells me not to after she talks to me! After that, rehearsals don¡¦t really start until September for me so I¡¦m really not putting her out, I don¡¦t think! I¡¦m going to ask her if she would rather I bow out now and just forfeit my quartet role (and just be in the choir) if the deal falls through, or if she wants me to carry on like I¡¦m doing the show as a quartet member until the deal is sealed. I¡¦m telling her I want to do what¡¦s fair to everyone involved and would do whatever she says is best for the show. My guess is that it will be a wait and see type of situation, but I don¡¦t think it would be fair to carry on and then drop an unexpected bombshell. That¡¦s the right thing to do, right?
Again, thank you all soooo much! This will be an experience! And I definitely feel great about myself that they would want to have their own personal chef (thanks Indydebi) for the wedding. I guess they like me! º
Edited to add:
Okay I told her. She was more than cool with it and appreciated that I called her ASAP after finding out. Shes going to replace me because she doesnt think the deal is likely to fall through (and neither do I). So if it does fall through I guess Ill be playing the part of chorus member # 3 or some such thing! But thats okay! Thanks for listening!
Well I think congratulations are in order even if you did have to give up the place in the quartet! You must have a beautiful voice! I can only dream of a beautiful singing voice.
I also am going to start out with my cakes frozen. That is what makes the most sense to me.
Gee, I don't think I have ever conversed with a personal chef/baker before!
Aw, thanks nana_marta! This would've been my first musical theater show since 2006, so I'm kind of bummed about it. BUT there's not much chance of it happening again NEXT year this way, so I'm sure I don't need to worry about it figuring it out next year. I turned in my chorus book and quartet music tonight but it'll be okay. The wedding cake money will make it better!
This was the weekend for my traveling cake kitchen! It was very strange working in someone else's kitchen, even if it was a facility kitchen. But it was a very good experience. Having all the looky-loo's was a little unnerving, but I managed and everyone that saw the "work in progress" was amazed according to the sister of the bride. It was definitely a cool experience. I did learn one thing though...when you travel to make a wedding cake, charging your regular fee plus mileage and food isn't enough. If you have to take your ENTIRE caking arsenal with you, you should charge a little extra. Next time I will!!!!
Here's the cake! http://cakecentral.com/modules.php?name=gallery&file=displayimage&pid=1866174
And a close up of the topper I made! http://cakecentral.com/modules.php?name=gallery&file=displayimage&pid=1866125
The bride and groom wanted to be surprised, so they didn't see ANYTHING until their wedding! Mother of the bride saw the finished cake and said it "will blow her mind!"
Great Job! The cake is beautiful and you did an amazing job on the topper as well. Enjoy the compliments - you deserve every one of them!
Wow what an amazing cake! Great job!!
I have to admit I'm kind of jealous of the "looky loos" ~ I would have loved to see how you got that all together!