A complete guide to delivering cakes safely

A Complete Guide to Delivering Cakes Safely

After months of planning, designing and creating this gorgeous cake, it is now time to deliver it safely to its venue. Delivering a cake can be stressful and nerve wracking. Careful planning and awareness can help ease out the process and save last minute unexpected situations that might arise. Follow our comprehensive guide to delivering cakes safely AND remember to stop, breathe and remind yourself – You love what you do!

1. Planning ahead, Pre – delivery checklist

Delivering cakes is a process, and it needs to be streamlined. So don’t stop planning at baking and decorating stages, see them through delivery. How will your cake reach the venue and steps involved in doing so safely? Plan, Plan, Plan and be clear on what to do and when, get your pre-delivery checklist sorted.

  • Venue address and directions.
  • Parking availability and restrictions.
  • Venue contact number and contact name and number for the person who will meet you when you arrive.
  • Distance, you will need to transport the cake from your vehicle to the display table. Always do a walk of the venue, so you have the route in mind.
  • How many people will you need to carry the cake? Do you need a trolley?
  • An agreed time to deliver the cake, ideally few hours before the event.
  • Contact details of the florist (if using one), agreed time of delivery of flowers at the venue.
  • Any other props needed to complete your display.

2. Packing and securing the cake

Whether you are transporting a multi-tiered cake or a cake with pillars, the transporting ‘rules’ are the same.

  • Always transport the cake as single tiers and construct the cake on arrival.
  • If you feel comfortable travelling with an already stacked cake, make sure it is not very tall and has no more than 3-4 tiers. In that case always make sure the cake is dowelled properly good 8 hours before transportation. A centre dowel going through all tiers will help keep the cake more stable when transporting a stacked cake.
  • Never transport a cake unboxed, choose strong cake boxes to store the cakes. (Bring these boxes back with you, as they can be re-used)
  • Use good quality thick cake boards of the exact size of the cake box, this will stop the cake moving in the box during transportation.
  • Remove any toppers, sugar flowers, etc. and place them in a separate box for transportation.

3. Getting the cake into the delivery vehicle

The cake is boxed and ready to go, and let’s get it in the delivery vehicle.

  • Firstly make sure the car is clean.
  • Unless you have a van that will be pretty much a flat surface in the back; the best place to put the cakes is the boot of the car. Never put the cake boxes on a seat. No matter how flat you think your car seats are, they are not. Use boot space and floor space.
  • To avoid the boxes slipping around use a non-slip mat in the boot. Yoga mats, exercise mats, etc. are usually excellent for this. Lay this across the boot of your car and then place the boxes on top.
  • Another trick is once the boxes are in if you have any space where you think the box could potentially move, pack these in with an empty box, folded up towel. Anything that you think will just safely fill that gap.
  • Last but not the least, remember to carry a decorating and repair kit with you. Keep any extra cake decorations, everything you need to assemble the cake, prepared icing and equipment for finishing touches and any repairs that may need doing and most importantly your camera.

4. The Drive

The cake is in the car, and you are ready to go:

  • Remember to put a Cake on Board Sign outside of the vehicle so the drivers around you know that you are carrying precious cargo in your boot.
  • Make sure you have your directions and know where you are going and the safest route to take.
  • And finally drive carefully, avoid sudden breaks and hard corners, if possible avoid any steep roads.

5. Arrival at the venue

Once you reach the site, contact the right person and inform of your arrival.

  • Go inside and check the table setup where the cake will go, make sure the table is level. It’s always a good idea to carry a spirit level with you.
  • Check for the clear way – watch out for narrow doorways, stairs, etc.
  • Arrange for extra people to help you carry the cake and a delivery trolley if needed.
  • Move the cakes out of the vehicle carefully and move them to the setup table.

6. Assembling the cake

The final and most important stage – You are almost there!

  • Check, double check for a levelled table. You don’t want your creation to be set up on a wonky table.
  • Carefully remove the cakes from the boxes. The best way to do this is to unfold the cake box and slide the cakes out; rather than trying to lift them out.
  • Use your decorating and repair kit and get to work. Assemble the cake, arrange flowers and toppers, secure decorations as per your design.
  • Once the cake is perfect setup and you are happy with it make sure you take a photo for the portfolio. It’s also a good idea to have a proof of how you left the cake at the venue. The last thing you want after all that effort is someone else going in and knocking the table and you being held responsible for not delivering the perfect cake.
  • Remember to get a cake delivery form signed by the contact person on the venue.
  • Finally, drive home, relax and have a cup of tea after a job well done.

Always ensure you have a business insurance, you might never use it, but it’s good to be safe. Most importantly always calculate your delivery and setup time and costs and charge appropriately for it.

Do you have any other useful cake delivery tips – Share them below, we’ll love to hear them.

Happy Cake Delivering!

 

  • Marie Mol

    is it ok to transport the 3 tier cake on my lap? on a wooden surface of course

    • Laura Cowan

      Nooooooo never on your lap! Always on the floor of your car or your boot/trunk as this helpful article states… If on lap and your car breaks suddenly the cake will go flying forward off your board and your lap and most likely into crumbs around you, if in boot/trunk with non slip mat under the boxes they are a lot less likely to incur damage if sudden sharp breaking occurs x

      • BakingIt

        Agreed Laura!
        Marie as Laura suggested, it’s always best to keep the cake safely boxed in the boot or floor of the car on a non-slip mat. Depending on the size of the cake and type of decorations, travelling with individually boxed tiers is highly recommended, if assembling on-site is an option.

    • shona

      i disagree with the others. i deliver all my cakes on my lap. i live in Jamaica. the road system is very different from the ones i see in the US. when the cakes are on my lap i am able to keep it level by raising the back of the board when going uphill and the front of the board when going down hill. i am also able to adjust for sharp conrners and the traffic lights that i am able to anticipate because they are in view.

  • Stephen Swartzendruber

    One thing I like to do with cakes before I deliver them is keep them refrigerated prior to loading them up. refrigerated buttercream is stiffer than soft room temperature buttercream and if the cake slides around during transportation, it won’t cause as much damage

    • BakingIt

      Great tip Stephen. Thanks for sharing!

  • Colleen Charles

    I always put non slip mats (rolls from the Dollar Store) under my cake boards and on the bottom of the cake delivery box. Cut the roll so the length of the mat goes a few inches outside of the box because that way when you put the cake on the mat, fold the excess under, close the box and tape it. When you get to the venue, undo the box (I use boxes from Office Max and slice the front open), unroll the mat and pull the cake forward out of the box. That way it’s easier to lift it out.

  • Susan A Hanley

    Thank you for the signs and for all the tips. There is lots of really useful advice here and I have been trying to find signs like these for a long time so double thank you.

    • BakingIt

      You are most welcome Susan. Glad you found the guide and the signs useful 🙂

  • Sandra L. Garth

    Delivering a wedding cake is very nerve wracking and it’s nothing like the feeling of leaving the venue knowing that all is well. I don’t think anyone is as nervous as the decorator, well except for the bride/person paying for it. Great tips!

    • BakingIt

      Thanks Sandra.

  • Irene Mason

    i am doing my first wedding cake order and nearly did not accept to doing this. I agree its nerve racking and you dont want to ruin it for the couple on their special day. I have done birtthday/baby shower cakes but not a wedding so Im already stressing as the time comes near on the delivery and hope everything goes well. Great advice too on this forum thank you