Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Wedding Cakes- Experience Helps, part 2

Last week I delivered a wedding cake that had a very nice, flat top. When I took it out of the box the flap hit that nice flat top and took a big chunk out of the edge. No big deal, since I was prepared (because I have experience in delivering cakes) and because I knew how to fix the problem. Ten seconds after I saw the now not-flat edge, it was fixed.

A few years ago I was setting up a wedding cake and somebody delivered a groom's cake from a grocery store. He put it on the table and left. When we opened the box we saw that every chocolate rose on it was completely smashed flat from having the lid closed on it. The florist and I fixed it, but the delivery guy wouldn't have known where to start.

A couple of days ago I wrote about how delivering a cake successfully can be easy or difficult, depending on the situation. Having experience in planning for possible problems is important, but it's also important to know what to do if something does go wrong.

If the baker or delivery person has no experience in fixing problems, deliveries with problems will remain, well, a problem. Brides would probably be horrified at the number of questions that are asked online by people who are asking for advice on how to make and deliver a wedding cake (that they apparently thought would be fun to do until the time came, when they start to panic). What pans should I use? How do I put dowels in the cake? What should I bring to the delivery with me? How early should I get there? How do I keep the cake from sliding around in my car? Sometimes I fear for the people delivering the cakes, as well as the brides whose cakes MIGHT be delivered in one piece.

Let me be clear here...Everyone has to start somewhere. I know that, but the first cake that you make and/or sell shouldn't be a wedding cake. And the first wedding cake that you sell shouldn't be the first tiered cake that you made. Before you promise to deliver a wedding cake, you should be confident enough in your ability to know what to do and not have to go online to ask basic questions about how to do it. Know your limitations and don't overpromise!

Let's say that upon delivery, it looks like one of the tiers of the cake is sliding and is probably going to crumble. Someone with experience will be able to fix the cracking tier in the cake, or will know how to disassemble the cake to salvage what can be saved of the non-damaged section. Your friend who's taken a couple of cake decorating classes and who's making it for a favor for you probably won't. Who would you rather have in charge of your wedding cake?

Make sure that the professionals you hire, whether for your wedding cake or any other job, has the experience to handle curveballs. Nothing ever goes 100% right on a wedding day, but if you hire good professionals you'll never know what went wrong because it will be fixed before you notice.


 Kara Buntin owns A Cake To Remember LLC in Richmond VA, and cake supplies online at www.acaketoremember.com and www.acaketoremember.etsy.com

4 comments:

veron said...

Yep, I have a repair kit with extra flowers, spatula etc. :). I also have a saran wrap and paper towels to fix wobbly tables.

Anonymous said...

kara, very well said. my cake toolbox has everything in it but the kitchen sink "just in case". i too am amazed at the questions i see people asking like you mentioned and "it's for a 4 tier wedding cake due that weekend and it's there first-help!!!!!" why did they even accept the job!?!?!? i guess it keeps jen @ cakewrecks busy, lol.
cindy/cindy's cakery

The Cakerator said...

Very well said, bravo, you should post this twice! It bothers me that people think they can take a few cake classes and think they can now start their own business. And don't get me started with people that ask for your recipes and techniques!

Kara said...

@The Cakerator... I find the recipe requests amusing..I don't give them out, there's a reason that you write "trade secret" on them when you turn them in to the inspector! I don't understand what people are thinking with that, either.