Updated: Jun 12
Take it from me, there is nothing more stressful in the world of wedding cakes than delivery day. Even professionals like myself still experience delivery day anxiety. To help with safe transportation I have put together this handy guide to ease the nerves, and be prepared for any situation.
1. Pre-Transport Preparations
Before we even think about delivering a wedding cake, it’s important to consider how you will be transporting it. There are two options here – transport cake tiers individually or stacked. Unless the cake has a central dowel, I would never transport more than 2 tiers stacked.
Central dowels are a great option for taller or larger cakes, or when a wedding cake design doesn’t allow for individual stacking at the venue. Central dowelling involves using a long pine dowel secured into a MDF board. The individual cake cards have holes drilled to allow the pine dowel to pass through and are stacked on top of each other to prevent any movement during delivery.
If you go down the central dowel route, the biggest problems would be with the weight and height of the cake. Can you physically lift the cake in its box? I struggle to carry an 8” & 10” stacked, so I know there’s no way I could carry a 6”, 8” & 10” for more than a few paces. It’s also important to consider the set up situation at your venue. Can you pull up directly outside or will you be walking for a bit whilst holding the cake? If I know the set up situation isn’t the easiest, it’s always advisable to transport the tiers individually and stack at the venue.
2. Packing the Cake for Transport
With all wedding cakes, you must ensure the individual cake tiers have been dowelled correctly and the box is fit for purpose. Choose a sturdy and secure cake box, that is tall enough and lined with a non-slip mat. You can also use bubble wrap to prevent movement if you don’t have non slip mats. For deliveries I will usually use a box larger than the wedding cake to allow for extra room for sugar flowers, therefore the non-slip mat is essential inside the box. Make sure your cake box lid is attached securely as the weather can be very unpredictable. The last thing you need is a gust of wind blowing the lid off and the rain damaging your perfect wedding cake.
3. Emergency Kit
Preparing an emergency kit is essential. You never know what might happen on the road. If you have to slam on the brakes for whatever reason, your cake may have suffered. My emergency kit always includes:- smoothers, spare dowels, florist tape, cocktail sticks, spare ribbon, pritt stick, royal icing, straws/posy picks, wire cutters, scissors, spatula, pliers, wipes, gloves, vodka, spare fondant and decorations.
You will be grateful for this kit should the worst situation happen.
4. Contact venue
It’s never a good idea to turn up to a new venue without first contacting the events team. Some venues have some tricky set ups, nowhere to park, or are difficult to find. Some venues only let suppliers in for certain time slots or have specific set up instructions. Getting in touch a couple of weeks before delivery lets the venue staff know your anticipating set up time, meaning the cake table can be prepped and ready for your arrival. Any important set up instructions can be discussed at this point.
5. Transporting the Cake
Cakes should always be placed on a flat and level surface, e.g. the boot or footwell and not on the car seat. I like to line the boot with more of that non slip matting. Buttercream cakes in summer can be a particular nightmare, so I would suggest refrigerating for a few hours prior to delivery. If you have the option, it's a good idea to pre-cool your car before loading. Crank up that AC to the max! The chances of a ganached cake melting in summer is very slim, but I still get the car as cool as possible.
You always want to allow extra time for deliveries. Under no circumstances do you want to be rushing or driving too fast, as this is when accidents happen. Aim to have your cake set up at least 2 hours before the ceremony time. You will most likely be “granny” driving for the duration of the journey. You will feel every bump and pothole in the road but don’t panic, you got this! Some bakers opt to have the "Cake on Board" signs to warn other drivers they have precious cargo!
6. Arriving at the Venue
Once you arrive at the venue, check the cake for any movement or damage. In the unlikely event the cake has been damaged, use your emergency kit to fix any issues. Once your cake is set up, you can breathe a sigh of relief. It’s important to make sure that you get proof of safe delivery and set up. You could be wrongly blamed for damage to the cake by venue staff or other suppliers, so take photos and video or get the event coordinator to sign off on delivery of the cake.
All wedding cakes should come with a hand off sheet, which includes flavours, allergens, non-edible items, and any other information the venue should be aware of. I leave one copy with the venue and I keep one copy for my records should any issues arise.
And that’s it, you’re done! All your preparation and careful planning has paid off. You now have full permission to start happy dancing and enjoy that drive home like Lewis Hamilton!
If you're still in need of a cake designer for your wedding, please get in touch, I would love to hear from you.