I don't know whether its coincidence that I got this email today or not but I thought it would definitely make an appropriate post for today, being as its veterans day…plus I need a little advice from some of the more experienced bakers on this site.
I got an email this morning from a gal who's wedding cake I made last November. The couple's 1st anniversary is coming up and she would really like to celebrate with a copy of their wedding cake. The only issue - they are both currently deployed to Afghanistan. She sent me a link to making a cake in a jar: http://www.examiner.com/article/a-soldiers-birthday-cake-a-jar-here-is-a-way-to-send-them-a-cake
At first look this sounds like a fantastic idea and most of the comments say that soldiers have received the cakes in great condition, still moist and great tasting. I would love to try it and can't really imagine a better way to show someone that I appreciate their service. However, I am really worried about the potential for food borne bacteria: http://nchfp.uga.edu/publications/uga/uga_can_breads.pdf
The cake she wants is a grapefruit flavor cake, so it fits that fruit cake category in the white paper posted above.
In her email she also says that she's noticed that currently shipping times are about 5-7 days and she's willing to pay for rush shipping to potentially cut it down further.
Do you think its risky to do this? I don't want to get anyone sick (or God forbid, kill them with botulism!!!) and I also don't want to endanger my fledgling business (and family) if they did get sick and I got sued. On the other hand, I'm sure that that cake would last just fine sitting out on my counter for a week. Could I just send it in a jar to prevent it from being destroyed in shipping and not do the sealing part or punch holes in the lid to let it breathe (lowering the risk for botulism)? Or is there a way to send it refrigerated or frozen? Anyone have any experience with this? I'd appreciate any advice!