I had a simple 1 tier birthday cake to deliver today. It was a rather important birthday though. This birthday was for a 50 year old college professor, and a new cake clientel I was moving into.
The cake was covered in buttercream. Our weather changed drastically last night. Yesterday it was cool and low humidity. A front came through last night and this morning you were soaking wet just from walking outside. Within minutes of taking my cake out of the refrigerator the cake had bead drops all over it. I boxed it, hoping it would be okay. When I arrived at its destination, 30 minutes away, and they opened the box, the whole cake had fallen apart. The shell trim icing had fallen down, the writing had bled, and the cake was in total disarray. I already told them to ignore payment for the cake, but what could I have done differently to have this have not happened? I have been so upset and embarrassed by it all day.
Was it really hot and humid? I don't know that there's anything you could do - I always make sure to have my A/C on in the house, even if it's not that hot outside, to keep the humidity down. Then, if it's hot outside, I turn on the car and run the A/C full blast for awhile before moving the cake in there, so it's cool in the car, and keep it as cold as you can stand for the trip. Sorry that happened!
Same as above for me... freezing kitchen and freezing vehicle. The AC compressor pulls humidity out of the car. You can actually turn on the compressor in cold weather with the temp on hot and it will clear up your car.
High humidity will increase the condensation on your cake. It is better not to refrigerate it when it is humid. I've also kept the cake in the box while in the refrigerator. Then taken it out and let it come to room temperature without opening it. And like perfectcakebyashirley and scp1127 advised, cold a/c!!
I have never had this happen, even in heat that is 100F and 100% humidity. Car was light coloured but no A/C...
The cake would have to warm up significantly to fall apart like this. Now in a black vehicle in the sun without A/C this might be possible...
What icing did you use?
But what amazes me are the members who live in tropical areas with no ac and do fondant cakes.
Maybe we do certain cakes that work for us in our environment, but if we did the same thing somewhere else, it may not work.
Can I ask the obvious? Was the cake baked correctly or was this possibly a delicate cake to begin with that couldn't hold up the fondant that stopped holding itself up? If you have used this cake before, could it have been a mistake that affected the structure? Just trying to help.
Ok, my big disaster backup plan:
I have the most beautiful punch bowl, clear bowl on an ornate silver pedestal. I do dessert buffets and offer punch. But I have another plan for that bowl too.
If I ever have a disaster, and we all could have one, I will make the most beautiful trifle with the cake, whipped cream, maybe some marsala or other mild liqueur, and some cherries on top. I'll still have to refund it if it was my fault, but at least I can serve the guests and save the dessert.
That's my plan. I hope I never need to use it.
There is a video on you tube from Caljava on how to make a cake delivery box that looks simple. They use dry ice in the box to keep the cake cool which I thought sounded great! I had a cake fall apart while driving from the OC to Pasadena on a 100 degree day. I have AC in the house and car and it didn't matter. My all butter buttercream icing did not hold up! Hopefully the box with dry ice can solve those problems since my husband won't let me get a refrigerated truck! Lol!
Having worked with dry ice, I would warn you that it's a really good way to suck all of the vehicle's moisture into the cake box...and then it melts.
Ask your husband to fix up an acrylic box for your cakes. You can then line the inside with these re-usable water traps that do an excellent job
Thank you everyone for all of the advice and the support! It was a simple buttercream cake with buttercream filling and icing. I always have a more difficult time with my buttercream - hard time smoothing it and getting little air bubbles out. I have tried dozens of buttercream recipes and have yet to find one I really like - taste yes, but appearance, not yet.