Monday, September 26, 2011

Delivery Fun- Protecting The Cake

See the table they're using for their drinks? That's the cake table.
Most bakers have a clause in their contracts that say that when we set the cake up and leave, we're no longer responsible for damage that happens to the cake. (If you don't have such a clause, go write one now.)

Now truth be told, no, we're not responsible. But if we think that something might happen to the cake, most bakers I know would kind of stick around to assess the danger and try to avert disaster. I've hung around longer than I needed to in the past to protect my cakes from things like crazy florists, wobbly tables, and marauding children. It's just the responsible thing to do, and if delivery time allows, we will protect our creations from ruin.

(I once told a little kid who was getting too close to the cake table that if she touched the cake the bride would be really mad, and they'd have to call the police to test everyone's fingerprints to see who did it. She scuttered away pretty fast, so I think that was effective.)

Always check with the bride to see if there's anything weird about the reception setup that you should know for the delivery. I recently took a cake to a winery that's open to the public, and the bride told me that it wouldn't be closing until 6:00. The ceremony started at 6:15, so that was cutting it close. She told me to deliver the cake at 5:45 or 6 to make sure that people wouldn't mess with the cake.

I planned my deliveries that day so that I could be there last and would have time to hang around to protect the cake if need be. It's a good thing that I did, because I got there and the winery staff told me that the cake table was the cafe table that was right in front of the bar. It was in the main room and people were all over the place. There was no way that I could set up a wedding cake in the middle of all that, so I sat down to wait until it cleared out a little. It just got busier, though, because as the winery visitors left, the wedding guests started to arrive.

I waited until the last minute and finally set it up at 6:00, but if I'd needed to get in and out in a 5 minute period I would have been in trouble. Or the cake would have. I would have been not responsible for damage that the cake sustained after I left, according to the contract. At the same time, I feel like I have a responsibility to make sure that the cake survives.

What's the strangest thing that you've ever had to do to monitor the "health" of a cake? Would you ever just drop a cake off and leave if you weren't 100% sure that things were okay?

 Kara Buntin owns A Cake To Remember LLC in Richmond VA, and cake supplies online at and


Jamie said...

I definitely make sure the cake is as safe as possible before I leave it. If I have to hang out a few minutes and track someone down, and/or get tough with someone, I will. A couple of unplanned extra minutes of my time is completely worth it to not have to worry for the rest of the weekend.

Lena's Cakes said...

Love your blog post. I always learn something new from you, eventhough I don't always put my comments. As someone who just starting wedding cake business, all of your articles are very useful for me. Thank you so much!

And yes, I stated that "once cake is delivered, it becomes client's responsibility" in my terms and conditions. It is important.

Jennifer said...

I've hung out for hours waiting for annoying florists to arrive. I even had one confess that she waited to deliver because she felt she should do the flowers.

The health of the cake and my reputation are more important than a contract clause.
(I DO have one though!)

I figure that when I deliver a cake, it should be able to withstand "normal" wedding day scenarios, including jostling and bumping the table, slight temp fluctuations when doors are opened and closed, and slight humidity changes. As the professional I am responsible for being proactive.

I never like the "once its there, its yours" mentality. I say "until you cut it, that baby is MINE." Which means everyone else, hands-off, and also that I have constructed it in such a way that it will look good until you cut into it...

HOWEVER, if Uncle Bob decides to get rip roaring drunk and do the limbo under the cake table..... well then all bets are off. :)

Kristi said...

I would say, it's the vendor rubbing their possibly dirty hands all over my fondant after being told the leaky air conditioner was too close to the cake. He thought I was crazy. I try not to hover or linger, but sometimes it's really frustrating the situations we're put in just to deliver a cake (a cake someone else has paid a lot of money for).

Kara said...

Kristi, that guy sounds like a jerk!