I just love this forum. Every time I go looking for answers to my cake questions, I find them on CakeCentral! I haven't worked with cake/fondant in years, so I'm kind of having to relearn everything (ha, not that I had learned everything to begin with!).
So, I am making a grad cake for my daughter and the biggest challenge is I have to travel 9 hours from NV to NM. Any advice on how much I can get done before I go and that will travel well? It's going to be a 3 tier cake, probably dark chocolate ganache filling/crumb coat/icing with fondant. I'm thinking of getting the cakes (8" and 6" rounds, double layers, 2" deep pans and a giant choco choco-chip muffin for the 3rd tier as the grad cap) baked, filled/stacked coated with ganache before the trip and do the fondant, stacking & decorating when I get there.
Think this will work out? I have large plastic cake boxes that I can keep in the console area of the truck, right up front by the AC if its necessary. Cake will be served Saturday. We're leaving either in the wee hours of Thursday or Friday (which ever makes this whole cake business easier!). I don't relish the thought of working in someone elses kitchen so I want to get as much done as possible before I go. I appreciate any advice :)
Oh, and any suggestions for an easy filling other than ganache? It seems like it might need a little something other than ganache and fondant. The cake is just a white box mix (wanted to do orange & black tiger stripes!) and I'm using MMF.
first of all -- i don't use marshmallow fondant much so you have to test to be sure it is fridge-able -- but i had to travel cross country from memphis to california once for a cake so i chose to bake after arriving -- but in all the preparation i did consider trekking it across there already baked -- so i bought plastic organizational boxes like these:
and figured out which size corrugated cardboard moving box the plastic boxes would snugly fit into so i used this set up for the several hour ride over to the wedding through socal's jam packed freeways that can slow to a crawl or stop even -- in summer heat -- but i was fine because i was not relying on the car's air conditioner -- it was all climate controlled in there -- super secure -- i added freezer packs too -- perfect -- but the cake was fondanted and it was cold from the fridge already -- no worries
for a nine hour trip i would so recommend this for you -- then if you refresh the freezer packs you could hold the cake nicely in there overnight even or an extra day or whatever -- y'know use skid mats under the cakes so nothing slides --
i tell you it was difficult to do the fondant away from all my familiar olaces -- people were walking by and stopping and gabbing and directing me -- oh puhlease -- and it was not the best working environment -- it was a large 5 tier so..
but that's one of my experiences with long distance caking --
best to you
I think your idea to bake, fill, stack, and coat should work nicely as long as you keep the car COOL! For a filling what about a cooked (Ermine) frosting?? I just did a MMF with devils food and did a vanilla bean ermine filling and it was so delicious. Its not too sweet so between the super sweet MMF and the chocolate ganache it goes nicely. You could add in whatever flavor to change it up and its so nice and light that its like whipped cream but you dont have to worry about the refrigeration.
K8Memphis - Thanks for sharing your experience and the suggestion on those boxes. I actually have a ton of those (just have to dump out the legos lol). What skid mats are you referring to to keep the cake from sliding?
Mamalynseyloo - I looked up that filling. Sounds so good (love anything vanilla bean!), but wouldn't it need refrigeration because of the milk?
So it sounds like additional cooling is the way to go? And not to depend on the trucks AC. Neither of my coolers are big enough for the cake boxes or the other plastic boxes. I may have to go buy a bigger cooler.
I'd love to be able to do the fondant here and travel with it already done, but it terrifies me that I'll have a mess to fix when I get there. I wonder if the the fondant does get messed up, could I peel it off and start again? Could it damage the ganache underneath? I could even make up some extra MMF and ganache to take with me (along with all my supplies) just in case.
I believe it's a personal choice on the refrigeration, much like leaving butter out on the counter...some people (including myself) leave it on the counter for a couple days with no issues. My issue with leaving ermine unrefrigerated is for holding its shape if you pipe it-it can weep with warm weather. But for a filling I've never had any issues. You'll be keeping the cake at cool temps to travel anyway so it will be fine as the filling (again, IMO and I have personal experience with it being fine every time). If you were planning to travel with the cake for 9 hours in an un air conditioned car with the sun roof open and the sun beating down on the cake...probably not ok lol
Okay, I may give it a try. Would you do a ganache dam before filling? Or is it stable enough?
I just tested my big round cake boxes in the cooler on its side and it fits with just enough room to tuck in some ice packs. Perfect! Just have to buy another cooler.
I think it's stable enough! Try a test run with a cupcake and see how you think it is. You can always add in a little cornstarch or powdered sugar to stiffen it a bit more if you think it's not stable enough.
does the cooler set level inside & out resting on it's side? mine doesn't but i guess some of them do -- will the lid pop open traveling that way i wonder -- tape it shut or something --
i think swiss meringue buttercream is a viable choice for a filling because once that gets cold it's a great hard surface like the ganache will be -- ermine icing, wilton used to call it 'french buttercream' is an icing i would never chose for a long distance delivery/event --
yes refrigeration is a personal choice under most circumstances but traveling that distance/area with a baked cake whether it's iced or not -- to me there's no other way -- road vibration alone can decimate your cake after nine hours -- the cold gives it an internal strength that room temperature cake doesn't have --
point being with the corrugated cardboard or the coolers encasing an already cold cake you could travel with it in an un-air-conditioned car with the sun beating down on it -- no problem-o --
Thanks, I'll have to pick up a roll of that liner.
The cake box sets level inside the cooler and the cooler fairly level on its side. I need to lay something in the trucks seat as it is to get anything level, so I think it will work okay. Its one of those soft sided coolers with a plastic insert and zip top (like this one).
oh interesting -- i hope you get a chance to test it -- do a cake and get it the way you want and drive around with it all day & see how it goes -- i have one of those soft sided lunch boxes and it has three or four skinny freezer packs lining the walls that keep it like a fridge for 8 hours --
hope all goes very well -- best to you