Opinions Wanted On 16 Hour Drive For Wedding Cake Delivery

Decorating By DebbyJG Updated 9 May 2014 , 5:30am by cheeseball

DebbyJG Posted 27 Apr 2014 , 11:20pm
post #1 of 48

AHere's the situation: I'm not a cake newbie, been making cakes including wedding cakes for years, and I use SPS.

BUT this weekend will be a new challenge. My husband's brother is getting married, 16 hours away from me, and I am making the cake. Originaly it was going to be just a small family wedding of 25 or so, but wouldnt you know it, it is now 85 people. Just found out today. Um. Yeah. So..

My gut feeling is to make the cake tiers here, freeze them, and then put the cake together in my hotel roomwhen I get there. The thought of driving two days, through Chicago, and into the unpredictable weather of MN, just has NO written all over it.

But . I've never made a wedding cake in a hotel before. I figure I can make my frosting here ahead of time as well, put it in big containers, and transport that along with my cakes. Has anyone here done anything similar that can give me some tips? I'm keeping the design simple, just a natural vertical textured design, but do I need a box of dry ice, do you think? Should I assemble the tiers with the buttercreme fillings (I do two torted layers and three layers of filling, for each tier)? The torting and filling process always seems to be one of the most mess making parts of the process, so while assembling the cake on a hotel desk doesnt seem frightening, the tier assembly does. But transporting frozen, unassembled cake layers would definitely be easier than assembled, unstacked tiers. I am also renting a minivan for the trip, so space won't be an issue.

Thoughts? Suggestions? A hug of support?

And yes, this cake just became The Wedding Gift, as soon as it went from a little sheet cake for 25, "no big deal", to a 3-4 tiered round stacked cake for 85. Grrr...

Thanks, Debby

47 replies
howsweet Posted 28 Apr 2014 , 2:40am
post #2 of 48

AI think I'd order a cake for them from some place local. Why go to all this trouble? Isn't it enough you're driving 16 hours? Are they even going to appreciate all this?

DebbyJG Posted 28 Apr 2014 , 3:45am
post #3 of 48

ANo, it won't be appreciated; the labor of cake never is, but that said, no, I also can't just back out one week before the wedding and leave them hanging. This is my husband's brother; I wanted and still do want to do the cake for them- even though thet are insensitively ignorant on the work involved in a project that just quadrupled in size.

I am just hoping to get some tips from anyone who has done a long distance cake delivery before, so I dont reinvent a wheel.

DebbyJG Posted 28 Apr 2014 , 3:49am
post #4 of 48

ABesides, I could never afford a cake like I make, so even though a gift of a cake will be worth-wise, a few hundred dollars for what I will be making (plus at least double that if it would have been a paying customer, for the delivery), I would never think of giving them a several hundred dollar gift if I wasn't making it myself.

denetteb Posted 28 Apr 2014 , 3:55am
post #5 of 48

Are you driving straight through the 16 hours or stopping overnight?  How many tiers and what size?  Just curious but where is your final destination (I am in Duluth, MN).  I think you would be fine to torte and fill, probably crumbcoat also before you go to seal moisture in.  Do that before you go and freeze them.  Like tomorrow or as soon as possible and get it out of the way.  Then right before you go box them up, maybe even in plastic storage tubs so it would be sturdier than a cardboard box.  If it is cool where you stop for the night leave them in the van, if not bring them in the hotel, if you are stopping for the night.  Otherwise just let them thaw on the trip.  Lots of fondant people work on cakes over two days, you would just be traveling with them.  Slap on the top coat at the hotel and call it done.  I don't see a reason time wise to mess with dry ice and all that.  You want them thawed for the wedding anyway.  I am just a hobbyist so take it with a grain of salt. 

DebbyJG Posted 28 Apr 2014 , 4:02am
post #6 of 48

AThanks. :)

I'm leaving Thursday morning, stopping for the night near Chicago, at my sister's house (i can use her fridge if I need to) then getting into Minneapolis on Friday late afternoon or evening. The wedding isn't until Sunday morning. So that's why I was thinking dry ice, to keep it as chilled as possible for the trip. (Baking tomorrow and getting it into my deep freeze.)

It's going to be a 6-9-12.

denetteb Posted 28 Apr 2014 , 4:16am
post #7 of 48

That serves 100, way more than 85.  New idea.  It isn't your problem that they changed the number at the wedding last minute, very last minute.  Tell them you are more than happy to make the original cake that serves 25 and they can provide some sheet cakes from a local place for the rest of the servings.  You getting in Friday and the wedding not until Sunday really puts a kink in the travel time.  Even better, make an 8 inch cake which serves 24 and call it a day.  You are not backing out and you are not leaving them hanging.  They dropped the ball and didn't let you know the head count had drastically grown.  That is on them, not you. 

lcubed83 Posted 28 Apr 2014 , 4:58am
post #8 of 48

I, too, am traveling with a cake on Thursday!  We have a 10 hour drive, and have rented a "suites" hotel with kitchenette there.  The wedding is Saturday.

 

I will start baking tomorrow and freezing as I go.  I plan to torte and crumbcoat Tuesday night, chill, then fondant on Wednesday.  From all my research, and gracious answers to all my questions, everything should be sealed up fine with the fondant.  Even though I am using SPS, I plan to box the tiers individually, then Friday I will stack and add the final decorations  in the hotel, except for the gumpaste cherry blossom branch.  That will get added on site Saturday.

 

As for the dry ice, I was advised that as long as the car stays nice and cool, it should not be needed.

 

Good luck to you!  I will be interested in replies to your questions!

DebbyJG Posted 28 Apr 2014 , 2:13pm
post #9 of 48

Considering my cake serving sizes - I don't use Wilton's chart - yes, my sizes are correct. Our family likes bigger slices, and since I am the one who will be cutting the cake, I'm not concerned about having lots of leftover cake. If it was for a client, my serving sizes would be smaller but it would still not serve 100. I use Earlene's chart, typically.

 

And as I said, I'm happy to make the cake, even if yes, it is suddenly a frustration and a much bigger deal than what I was planning.  They are close family. This is not a "I'm your cousin's best friend's girlfriend, can you give me a cake as a wedding present??" situation.   Yes I'm annoyed, but I'm not backing out, or giving them a little cake and telling them to fend for themselves on the rest. I'm making their cake as a blessing to them..  I wasn't quite expecting my wedding gift to be several hundred dollars worth, and no, they have no idea how much time or money will be going into their cake, but when it comes down to it, I'm all in for this project. I just was hoping there would be some "been there done that" people on this board who could give me pointers; my longest wedding cake delivery to date has been just two hours away, and I drove that one fully stacked the day of the wedding. I've never before done this where I need to arrive two days before the wedding, so I can't have it fully assembled.

 

Not that I would *want* to drive a cake 16 hours anyway. Even *with* SPS or my other system, Cake Stackers. I don't want to drive white knuckled for 16 hours. With three kids in the back with me. ;)

DebbyJG Posted 28 Apr 2014 , 2:15pm
post #10 of 48

Quote:

Originally Posted by lcubed83 
 

I, too, am traveling with a cake on Thursday!  We have a 10 hour drive, and have rented a "suites" hotel with kitchenette there.  The wedding is Saturday.

 

 

 

Best wishes to you, too! 

We have a suite hotel as well, Embassy Suites. I'm hoping that will give me more room to have a Cake Assembly Area, without trying to do so around my three children. ;)

DebbyJG Posted 28 Apr 2014 , 2:16pm
post #11 of 48

Quote:

Originally Posted by denetteb 
 

That serves 100, way more than 85.  New idea.  It isn't your problem that they changed the number at the wedding last minute, very last minute.  Tell them you are more than happy to make the original cake that serves 25 and they can provide some sheet cakes from a local place for the rest of the servings.  You getting in Friday and the wedding not until Sunday really puts a kink in the travel time.  Even better, make an 8 inch cake which serves 24 and call it a day.  You are not backing out and you are not leaving them hanging.  They dropped the ball and didn't let you know the head count had drastically grown.  That is on them, not you. 

Considering my cake serving sizes - I don't use Wilton's chart - yes, my sizes are correct. Our family likes bigger slices, and since I am the one who will be cutting the cake, I'm not concerned about having lots of leftover cake. If it was for a client, my serving sizes would be smaller but it would still not serve 100. I use Earlene's chart, typically.

 

And as I said, I'm happy to make the cake, even if yes, it is suddenly a frustration and a much bigger deal than what I was planning.  They are close family. This is not a "I'm your cousin's best friend's girlfriend, can you give me a cake as a wedding present??" situation.   Yes I'm annoyed, but I'm not backing out, or giving them a little cake and telling them to fend for themselves on the rest. I'm making their cake as a blessing to them..  I wasn't quite expecting my wedding gift to be several hundred dollars worth, and no, they have no idea how much time or money will be going into their cake, but when it comes down to it, I'm all in for this project. I just was hoping there would be some "been there done that" people on this board who could give me pointers; my longest wedding cake delivery to date has been just two hours away, and I drove that one fully stacked the day of the wedding. I've never before done this where I need to arrive two days before the wedding, so I can't have it fully assembled.

 

Not that I would *want* to drive a cake 16 hours anyway. Even *with* SPS or my other system, Cake Stackers. I don't want to drive white knuckled for 16 hours. With three kids in the back with me. ;)

enga Posted 28 Apr 2014 , 2:19pm
post #12 of 48

Maybe you could ask this member for tips.

 

http://cakecentral.com/t/774092/almost-a-disaster#post_7508268

-K8memphis Posted 28 Apr 2014 , 2:47pm
post #13 of 48

i've done several long distance cakes--the one that was 2000 miles away - i planned it both ways, bake here and transport or bake it there and i chose to bake it there--

 

but for your trip i would bake fill & crumb coat and freeze them up at home and package them really well in several layers of plastic wrap and foil--then i'd place them frozen into those organizational plastic boxes;

 

http://www.target.com/p/sterilite-clearview-110-qt-storage-bin-with-latching-lid-purple/-/A-13794501#prodSlot=large_1_15

 

i mean you'll have to do your own calculations but something like that--all three tiers will fit in there--or maybe do the 12 in one and the 9 & 6 on another--and watch out for recesses and little dit dots poking out from the lids & stuff-- i took cake dummies with me to the store to measure--

 

then i placed those into corrugated cardboard moving boxes with enough room to add freezer packs that were wrapped in paper towels and placed in plastic bags so the condensation was composed -- nothing wiggled or jiggled everything was secure and measured and tight --

 

point being you want to keep the cakes cold and hard so they don't jostle their brains out traveling--your sister can have you some fresh freezer packs ready--it's surprising how cold and tidy this will stay--i've used dry ice before -- i don't think it's necessary --

 

then just do the buttercream at the hotel--you can place your buttercream in one of those too--also keep it refrigerated on the way is my point--it gets hot in cars even in cold weather--just keep your stuff cold--you'll be fine-- i'd bring my mixer too

howsweet Posted 28 Apr 2014 , 5:01pm
post #14 of 48

APersonally, I wouldn't ice a cake in a hotel room. If you do , for heaven sake disinfect the area. Gives me the shivers. They seriously can't provide a kitchen for you?

-K8memphis Posted 28 Apr 2014 , 5:05pm
post #15 of 48

i dissenfect my hotel rooms anyhow--cake or no cake -- take my own linens too

DebbyJG Posted 28 Apr 2014 , 5:15pm
post #16 of 48

AYes I disinfect every hotel already anyway. And never use the hotel glasses. Never.

:)

Thanks so much for the tips K8. Very helpful!

enga Posted 28 Apr 2014 , 5:21pm
post #17 of 48

K8 you always give great advice, and you beat me again :grin:, oh well here is what I found.

 

Good Luck DebbyJG!

 

http://cakecentral.com/t/747767/thank-you-blakescakes

http://cakecentral.com/t/764392/long-distance-transport#post_7450238

kakeladi Posted 28 Apr 2014 , 6:25pm
post #18 of 48

You have already gotten some good advice - especially those links in enga's post :)

I have done a couple of similar ventures.  I never have used dry ice.  As another poster said if it's not hot, Hot, HOT you do not need dry ice.  Just don't keep the car at 90 degrees and the cakes should be just fine :)

I agree w/whoever said torte and crumb coat you cakes, then wrap them well in plastic wrap and they should be just fine.  In fact, I even went so far as to finish ice my tiers.  The problem w/not doing that much is you *always!* WILL forget some important tool needed :(

I made 3 or 4 tires basically the same size (don't remember exactly now it was yrs ago) and arranged them tiered on pillars (can use vases or even boxes covered w/a pretty cloth) so they were different heights so it haves a wedding cake look.  Similar to this:  http://cakecentral.com/g/i/2158946/a/2159946 or http://cakecentral.com/g/i/1332904/a/1333904 or http://cakecentral.com/g/i/53821/a/54821

Hope these suggestion give you some ideas to make this work.

DebbyJG Posted 28 Apr 2014 , 6:31pm
post #19 of 48

AThanks for all the suggestions! And yes, those links from enge were very useful.

I hadn't thought about how long dry ice should last... I guess I just assumed it wouldbe more useful and long lasting than ice or ice packs, but an evaporation rate lasting only 5 or 6 hours won't work for me since I am driving two days. And kinda hoping to stop by the field museum with my kids in Chicago on the way up, for a few hours before going to my sister's, since we never get up that way and even a quick stop would break up the monotony for my kids. I may be asking too much for this trip to do that.... ;)

-K8memphis Posted 28 Apr 2014 , 6:33pm
post #20 of 48

thank you, enga, very kind of you

enga Posted 28 Apr 2014 , 6:46pm
post #21 of 48

No problem kakeladi, DebbyJG, and you're welcome K8.

cakesbycathy Posted 29 Apr 2014 , 2:52pm
post #22 of 48

Quote:

Originally Posted by DebbyJG 

Thanks for all the suggestions! And yes, those links from enge were very useful.

I hadn't thought about how long dry ice should last... I guess I just assumed it wouldbe more useful and long lasting than ice or ice packs, but an evaporation rate lasting only 5 or 6 hours won't work for me since I am driving two days. And kinda hoping to stop by the field museum with my kids in Chicago on the way up, for a few hours before going to my sister's, since we never get up that way and even a quick stop would break up the monotony for my kids. I may be asking too much for this trip to do that.... icon_wink.gif


I so would not be stopping at a museum for a few hours with a cake in the car!!!

-K8memphis Posted 29 Apr 2014 , 3:00pm
post #23 of 48

i get what you mean, cathy but if it is properly sealed and secure, kept cold and it is withstanding a 16 hour trip anyway--it really won't hurt even though it does go against the grain of sanity--and with three kids alone on a 16 hour trip--that goes against the grain of sanity too--they'll need a trip to the museum but why not the science & industry where they can do more hands on stuff? field museum is cool too, aquarium, art museum--chicago is great with all that culture

 

maybe just a dip in the lake :grin: 

cupadeecakes Posted 29 Apr 2014 , 3:09pm
post #24 of 48

Someone mentioned dry ice, if you decide to use it, please make sure you do so safely.  Dry ice is meant to be used in a well ventilated area.

 

http://www.dryiceinfo.com/safe.htm

-K8memphis Posted 29 Apr 2014 , 3:33pm
post #25 of 48

i just realized that you said "kids" and i said  three kids--sorry if i imagined the # & got it wrong--

cakesbycathy Posted 29 Apr 2014 , 3:33pm
post #26 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by -K8memphis 
 

i get what you mean, cathy but if it is properly sealed and secure, kept cold and it is withstanding a 16 hour trip anyway--it really won't hurt even though it does go against the grain of sanity--and with three kids alone on a 16 hour trip--that goes against the grain of sanity too--they'll need a trip to the museum but why not the science & industry where they can do more hands on stuff? field museum is cool too, aquarium, art museum--chicago is great with all that culture

 

maybe just a dip in the lake :grin: 


Are you serious??

I am truly shocked that you are advising her it's okay to do this. 

 

It's one thing to be driving in the car where you can control the temp with the air conditioning or whatever.  But the minute they turn off the car and get out for a little sightseeing jaunt the temp in the car is going to go up.  I don't care how well she packages it for travel.  She's not talking about running into McDonald's for a bathroom and lunch break.  She's saying stopping to visit a museum or something.  With KIDS.  That's a couple hours at at minimum.

 

How many cake disaster stories have there been on here about clients that picked up their cakes and then made stops on the way home and then were upset when the cake melted?  Would you advise a client it's okay to leave their cake in the car for a couple of hours?  I can't imagine you would.  It's common sense you don't leave a cake in a car that's turned off for a few hours.

 

If you want to do something fun with the  kids so the road trip is more bearable (and I have 3 kids so I totally get it) then do it on the trip home.

-K8memphis Posted 29 Apr 2014 , 3:42pm
post #27 of 48

yes of course but wait--within the thread i advised how to package the cake so that because it will be riddled with hundreds of miles of road jiggle and temperature extremes and even though it will sit around for hours in the car it will be ok--not at all dependent on the air conditioning--it would be difficult, nearly impossible imo to attempt to travel with a cake this distance depending on the car's air conditioner to hold it--

 

 

i keep my cakes climate controlled for most of my deliveries--where i could be stuck on the side of the road for hours and not worry about the cake--so that is what i was advising here--

DebbyJG Posted 30 Apr 2014 , 4:51am
post #28 of 48

AErm... I guess it wasn't apparent by my sideways smiley, but that was a joke. I am NOT going to stop at the Chicago field museum on the way up there, with a cake and bucket of no-shortening buttercreme in my car.

As a homeschool mom always looking for ways to do things, I *thought* about how I might accomplish that, yes. For all of about 1 minute. And then laughed and said Not A Chance.

Sheesh. :)

So here's the update, sorry I've been away from the thread, but I had a busy day. I got all the cakes made, torted and filled, crumb coated, and wrapped in plastic and foil and then in giant ziplock bags. They are now solidifying in my freezer. Thursday morning I'll be heading out, with the cakes packed next to bags of ice in large plastic storage containers that I found at Lowes. I've decided not to mess with dry ice, and just replace the bags of ice on the way as needed.

Hopefully they will all arrive in nearly the same manner in which I wrapped them tonight. I have the SPS stuff ready to go, and I'll be making a huge bucket o' frosting tomorrow. Now to just not forget any of my tools.. ;)

DebbyJG Posted 30 Apr 2014 , 4:58am
post #29 of 48

AOh, and yes, you were correct. Three kids. Cake. Alone. Absolutely it's insanity.

I'm stressed just thinking about it. Thankfully my kids like their kindles and are old enough to not require potty breaks every 30 min.

My husband (this is for his brother) has to work on Friday, so he's flying out to meet me there on Friday night. I'm hauling everything else myself, and then he will be driving back with me. Sans cake at that point. Hey, maybe we should stop at the Field Museum.... ;-)

-K8memphis Posted 30 Apr 2014 , 12:12pm
post #30 of 48

science & industry :-D

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