Help - Advice Needed For Buttercream Cake Transport!

Decorating By AnnieBeeVee Updated 3 Jun 2016 , 1:24am by AnnieBeeVee

AnnieBeeVee Posted 2 Jun 2016 , 2:49pm
post #1 of 10


I am working on a pretty simple two tier (10/8) wedding cake, that I will be delivering tomorrow afternoon. It is a rustic buttercream finish with gumpaste roses, sweet peas and hydrangea.

I never do buttercream cakes (family wedding, bride's request), and I am slightly terrified about travelling 2 1/2 hours on a hot day with one. I am also really nervous about placing gumpaste flowers on a buttercream cake. What if the buttercream gets spoiled by the flowers? What if the flowers get covered with buttercream? Argh!

So, I am looking for some general advice and answers. I am planning on doing all of the buttercream tonight. I figure that way it will crust a bit before putting on the flowers. Is that best? Or should I fill and crumb coat today and do the buttercream finish tomorrow? I feel like my timeline is completely off from what I would do for a fondant cake.

Any advice on transportation? Stacked or unstacked? Should I place the flowers on once I'm there so they don't jiggle around in the car, or is it best just to get it all finished at home and have one less thing to do once we're there? Do I have to use a center dowel if I stack them once I'm at the venue? For a fondant 2-tier cake I just use royal icing to glue them, obviously that won't work here...

Does anyone have any general advice for placing the flowers so they and the buttercream don't get ruined, and so they are really secure. I am planning on inserting them into straws.

The cake will be similar to this one in general style...

Thanks so much! 

9 replies
SandraAlicante Posted 2 Jun 2016 , 3:20pm
post #2 of 10

I'd be inclined to do your filling and at least the crumb coat asap and chill.  For a cake like that, I would box the flowers and put them on at the last minute. To stack or not to stack, that depends on how bad you think the journey could be but you could always skewer it to keep the layers together.

Box your coated cake before chilling and it will keep condensation to a minimum.

Transport in the box in an air conned car and you should be ok. (You don't want the sun on it, no matter if it is cool).  You can put non slip mats in the boxes and in the back of the car for the boxes to go on.

BTW, not all buttercreams are crusting.

Leave in plenty of time so you are not stressing about traffic hold ups etc!

carolinecakes Posted 2 Jun 2016 , 4:30pm
post #3 of 10

I think the butttercream you use is critical especially when you are dealing with heat and humidity. IMHO 

I have use these with great results.

 Box and assemble your flowers on site. What I found helpful was to use a large tweezer  ( exclusively used for caking) to grip the stem of the  flower, close to the base of the flower, then insert into the cake. This way your hands never touch the buttercream,kwim. I use flower picks but straws and coffee stirrers are good also. If the flowers are loose in the straws, use Royal Icing or fondant inserted into the straw to secure the flower.

As to transport, I use SPS, no need for center dowel, my cakes are stacked and arrive intact. Keep cakes cool and boxed and placed on a non-slip mat on the floor/level surface of car.  AC blasting and you're good to go. 

Oh I have a travel kit that I take with me when I deliver cakes.. ( extra buttercream, tweezer, hat pin, hand sanitizing wipes, apron, gloves, q-tips, small offset spatula....) . Anything you think will be helpful in case of a cake emergency. I also make extra flowers as a back up.HTH

Dancing Posted 2 Jun 2016 , 4:43pm
post #4 of 10

When I transport cakes long distance, I do a box inside a box.  You box up the cake in one box, leaving the top open ( or covered with plastic wrap.).  This box goes into a second larger box.  Place ice between the two boxes.  Either ziplock bag the ice or freeze water in sealable containers ( like milk jugs or 1/2 gallon juice bottles).  Whatever is needed to keep the melted ice from leaking.

basically what this is is an old fashioned ice box.  I transported a cake 6 hours this way.

you can take it even further too.  You can line the outside box with insulation foam board and use a small fan inside to help circulate the air.  They make small fans that plug into cig lighters.

AnnieBeeVee Posted 2 Jun 2016 , 10:57pm
post #5 of 10

Thank you so much, that is all really helpful advice. I should have thought about refrigerating the layers in boxes, but didn't, so that will help a lot with the sweating!

Any tips on getting the flowers on the cake without smushing the buttercream. I just did a practice run arranging my flowers on a dummy, and realised I was hanging onto the cake half the time! I was using my pliers, and also broke a bunch of my sweet peas and hydrangeas getting them in. Hopefully real cake is easier than styrofoam! I was using straws though... Urgh. I will be glas when this one is done!

carolinecakes Posted 2 Jun 2016 , 11:16pm
post #6 of 10

The straws will sink into the real cake easier than the styrofoam.  Even if you do mess up the buttercream a little when you insert the flowers, since it's a rustic look it should be an easy fix. Just remember to take with you extra buttercream and offset spatula or spoon or whatever you used to smear the buttercream. 

AnnieBeeVee Posted 3 Jun 2016 , 12:24am
post #7 of 10

OK, thanks for the tips and reassurance! I'm not sure why I'm so stressed about this cake! I'll be so glad when it's set up... Now I have to decide what to wear for the wedding and hopefully fit in a haircut tomorrow morning!

Here's a sneak peek (bad phone pic) of the flowers. Some of them aren't actually in straws, as I was tired and worried I'd break more... I do have spares, but didn't want to risk it :) 


carolinecakes Posted 3 Jun 2016 , 12:42am
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kakeladi Posted 3 Jun 2016 , 1:12am
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As long as you used ABC (american b'cream) there should be no problem placing the flowers nor any discoloration from the b'cream touching the flowers.  The b'cream will not dry/set up with the cake c overed w/plastic.  I suggest you leave it uncovered overnight then  box the cake just before leaving for your 2+ hr trip.  I have taken 100s of such cakes (not all of them for such a long ride) and never had a problem w/the icing.  Yes, there were some that were damaged but usually it was because of not being put together right early on before I learned what to do.   Crank up that AC unit :)  Wear a sweater/jacket (&maybe gloves!) to keep comfortable,   Your flowers are very nice.

AnnieBeeVee Posted 3 Jun 2016 , 1:24am
post #10 of 10

Thanks Kakeladi! 

The frosting is ABC, I am sure it will crust fine.

Thanks for the tips and encouragement that all will be well with the transportation! I'm not sure why I am so freaked out about this. I would be fine if it were buttercream on cupcakes, LOL! I'm just used to fondant on my cakes.

Now I'm most concerned about getting the flowers on the cake without smushing it, but I'm sure it will turn out fine!

The picture is just of my dummies - I was just practicing placing the flowers :) The dummies are a bit old so the saran wrap was just so the flowers wouldn't be touching a potentially dusty surface. :)

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