You’ve put your heart and soul into creating a cake for a special celebration. Maybe your masterpiece has tiers or maybe it’s crowned with meringue. Perhaps you’ve focused your creativity on some fancy frosting. Or maybe you have spent an inordinate amount of time sculpting fondant as smooth as a mirror. Now it’s finally finished you can put it in the car…
If the very idea of transporting your cake fills you with terror (…terror which escalates with every turn and bump in the road…) then you need to read on to find out how you can transport your cakes from A to B without doing any damage.
Preparing a cake for transport
Putting your masterpiece onto an uneven car seat and strapping it in with the seat belt just isn’t going to work. You need to prepare your cake for transport. Start by planning ahead. If your cake needs to be refrigerated at your destination, let your host or client know to make sure they have the space! Also take a look at the weather forecast. You might want to avoid cream cheese frosting if there is a heat wave for example.
Chill the cake
To make the cake easier to handle when transporting, put the cake straight into the fridge or freezer after you’ve finished decorating it. The cold will harden the icing or buttercream so that it’s less likely to smudge in transit. Remember: chilled cake = chilled you!
Prepare a cake board
Make sure that you place your cake on a cake board which is a little bigger than your cake, ideally, an inch or two bigger. For example, if you’re transporting an 8 inch cake, use a 10 inch cake board. A cake board which is too small can mean that your cake is vulnerable to damage, but a cake board which is too big can mean the cake may wobble, as it’s not supportive enough. Secure the bottom of the cake to the cake board with a swipe of buttercream. If you’re transporting a heavy cake, layer the cake boards on top of each other for extra strength.
Loading and travelling
Before you think about transporting your cake, you’ll need to survey your car for level surface areas. A sloping surface could see your cake sliding off the cake board…argh! The car boot usually has a flat surface. Use a rubber non-slip mat on the bottom of the boot to stop the cake from moving as you drive around a roundabout. You’ll also need to consider the temperature of the car. If the weather is hot, the air con might not help lower the temperature in the car boot. So, in that case, you might want to secure the cake in a footwell with the seats moved back. If the car is too cold on the inside, the icing can start to freeze and then moisten as it moves back inside a warm building. Finally, you need to plan the route ahead, avoiding any traffic (too much stop, start!) And you’ll have to drive extra carefully; staying focused and keeping the speed down.
How to transport a cake
A cake box helps to protect your cake, preventing any damage and keeping dust away. Like the cake board, you need to select the right size. The length and width of the box need to fit your cake board snugly. And the height needs to be slightly taller than your cake; choose a box which is around 2ins higher than the top of the cake. If your cake box is a little too large, use a non-slip mat inside the box (you can buy rolls of rubber non-slip matting which you can cut down to size). Rather than putting it together and then dropping the cake and cake board in, assemble the box around the cake. Place the cake on the cake board and then on the flat bottom of the box. Then gently pull up the sides and lid.
If you’re someone who often transports cakes, or you need added support and stability for a special cake, you can use a heavy-duty plastic cake carrier. Cake carriers have sturdy handles and locking latches. If you have a tiered cake you can put the tiers into individual cake carriers and then put the cake together at your destination. However, cake carriers tend to only fit smaller cakes. If your cake is big, bespoke or a complicated shape, they are hard to find in a larger size.
If you don’t have a cake box or a cake carrier, you can transport the cake using a cake stand. The trouble is that many cake stands tend to be awkward in shape or have heavy bases, while other cake stands are delicate and could easily be damaged. Some cake stands come with a cover which helps to protect the cake in transit or simply keep it fresh until it is ready to be served. The handy thing about transporting a cake using the cake stand is that it is ready for the table as soon as you arrive at your destination.
If you aren’t a professional baker and are simply transporting some cakes to a school fair or to cheer up a friend then you might risk transporting the cake on a plate. You can place some grippy anti-slip rubber matting underneath the plate in the car. However, covering your plated cake in cling film or foil risks jeopardising any icing which can stick to the cling film or foil (much to your dismay when you pull it off!) The trick is to stick toothpicks in the cake, sticking out across the surface of the cake. This way the foil or cling film cover won’t actually touch the cake (only the toothpicks) but the wrap will still protect the cake — genius!
We hope that we have found some solutions to your cake transporting worries so that you can happily put your all into creating a masterpiece. It’s worth careful planning to prevent your handiwork from becoming damaged (and a white-knuckle ride!)