Any Tips On Transporting And Assembling A Buttercream Coated 3 Tier Cake?

Decorating By Ronavoralia Updated 20 Jun 2015 , 8:03am by leah_s

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Ronavoralia Posted 19 Jun 2015 , 11:21am
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Hello all, 

just wondering if anyone has any experience/tips for a buttercream frosted wedding cake please?

i've only worked with fondant covered cakes previously which were pretty straightforward to decorate in advance and then assemble at the venue.  I'm having sleepless nights about this 3 tier buttercream frosted cake and would appreciate any advice! I just can't get my head round how far in advance to cover it, how to transport it and whether to assemble before travelling or at the venue. 

I'd be really grateful for any help,  thanks in advance 


8 replies
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ropalma Posted 19 Jun 2015 , 3:39pm
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Do you have a pic of the cake. 

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mrsmac888 Posted 19 Jun 2015 , 3:41pm
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There are a lot of people on CC that have great advice on baking in advance, frosting with buttercream, stacking and transporting.  Search around and you'll find all the tips and tricks you'll need.  If not, come back to this post and ask.  You'll get lots of advice.

From what I've learned, you want to spread your time over the course of at least 3 days.  Bake one day Wednesday, make your buttercream Thursday and frost and decorate on Friday.   

When I did my first wedding cake, I was a wreck!  I cried, I lost sleep and I said I'd NEVER do it again!  But when all was said and done, it was so exciting to see what I had accomplished!  It's nerve wracking, but take your time and breathe!!!!  You'll do great.  


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remnant3333 Posted 19 Jun 2015 , 4:00pm
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mrsmac888, did you stack tiers before you took cake to venue or did you carry cakes separately then stack and finish decorating  at venue? Do you use Sps system for stacking if you took cake already stacked in vehicle?  I only do as a hobby. For all of you who do wedding cakes, my hat goes off to you. I am not sure if I could handle a wedding cake!! I only do birthday cakes for fun. Most of you are so wonderfully artistic in your cakes. 

Ronavoralia, I am sure you will do just fine with your cake!! Just take your time and hang in there!!

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kakeladi Posted 19 Jun 2015 , 5:30pm
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Almost all of my wedding cakes are b'cream creations.  You can stack or take each separately as you wish.  If you have time to put the tiers together I suggest the latter just for your sanity :)  You don't tell us anything about this cake - size; all stacked; etc.  That can make a difference.  The more info you give us the better we can help you.

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mrsmac888 Posted 19 Jun 2015 , 5:32pm
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I, too, am only a hobby baker.  I've only done 3 wedding cakes.  And just simple ones at that.  Trust me, it gets easier! You learn as you go.

I did purchase the SPS for my first wedding cake and planned on transporting it stacked.  I live in the country and have to travel with my cakes on a gravel road, a very bumpy gravel road with hills.  I chickened out and transported my first wedding cake (unboxed) and not stacked with the SPS in place, then assembled it at the venue.  It worked out just fine, but boy was I nervous!!!

I don't think I am in a situation where I will ever be able to stack a cake and travel with it.  Unless I win the lottery and can pave my road!!!  Since my first cake, my husband has built me a platform that fits on the back seat of my car so that I can box my cakes at home and travel with them very securely without them sliding and moving.


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Jeff_Arnett Posted 20 Jun 2015 , 1:55am
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I pretty much work exclusively in buttercream; while I use fondant for accents and effects, all my cakes are iced in buttercream


When I build a tiered cake, I start with the framework.  I use ½ thick foam core base board ( I purchase mine from but you can cut your own) which I order with a pre-drilled ½ inch center hole.  I actually create the base for my tiered cakes with two of these….one 3-4 inches wider than the base tier size, with a second one the same size as the tier glued to the bottom, holes aligned.  This serves three purposes….the total one inch thickness is super strong even for the biggest cakes, the smaller board under gives room to get fingers easily under the base for moving the cake, and the total 1 inch deep center hole gives plenty room to glue in my center ½ inch dowel rod. 


I glue the two boards together so the holes are aligned with Gorilla Glue.  Once dry, I calculate the total height of my cake (since I use a leveler, I am pretty consistent with tier heights) and cut my center dowel 1 inch shorter than the total height.  I glue the dowel into the center hole, making sure it is perfectly straight, with Gorilla Glue and let dry a couple days.  This make the overall height of my center dowel about 2 inches shorter than the total cake height.


I ice my cakes on same sized foamcore boards (3/8 thick) which I either order pre-drilled or else cut myself from foamboard and use a FoamWerks drill to cut a center hole in the board.


When I am ready to assemble, my cakes have already been well chilled so that the buttercream is solid.


I pipe 4-5 big dollops of buttercream on the base board about 2 inches from the center dowel, then carefully slide the first tier (dowelled already of course!) down over the center dowel.  With this method you don’t have to worry about centering the tiers…they are automatically centered!


Pipe a few dollops of icing on top of the bottom tier, slide the next one down into place, then repeat with the remaining tiers.


Sometimes I stack early if I have enough room in the cooler…otherwise I just stack when I’m ready to box for delivery….which I do in large cardboard shipping boxed.  In the back of the delivery vehicle with the AC on, the buttercream stays very firm for even a couple hour’s drive.  The center dowel means the cake can’t shift or move.


This is my method….I’m sure there’s a 1000 more out there!!

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costumeczar Posted 20 Jun 2015 , 2:25am
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I bake two days ahead of time, decorate the next day then refrigerate the stacked cake overnight. I transport three-tiered buttercream cakes all the time and as long as they're cold and in the fridge up until you put them in the box to deliver them it will be fine. It's when you deliver things at room temp that you get sliding and shifting.

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leah_s Posted 20 Jun 2015 , 8:03am
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Like everyone says, we a leach have ways of doing things that work for us.  In 12 years I never refrigerated a cake prior to delivery.  No space in the fridge.  With SPS I don't have to worry about the cake moving during delivery. 

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