Transporting a Wedding Cake?

May 28, 2017
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If I bake my wedding cake at home and transport it (staying overnight the night before, so at least 48 hours in transit), does this exclude me using buttercream as icing (or likewise, a naked cake with minimal icing)? Do I have to use the more sturdy (and freshness sealing) royal icing?


Sep 7, 2015
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It doesn't matter what frosting or iciing or coating you use on a cake.........being in transport that long could damage everything, including making the layers slide away from each other.

If you are making a stacked cake, then I would suggest baking your layers, wrapping them in plastic wrap, freezing them, and transporting them in a portable freezer or cooler and then putting the cake together and decorating where the wedding will be, hours before the wedding.

If you have a hard cooler or freezer truck available, then you can transport a fully decorated cake in that, but you still run the risk of cracks in the frosting or icing from the vibrations of being transported so long.

You can also make your base cake ready to be frosted and decorated.........transport the base cake with a thin coating of frosting or icing to seal the cake layers to keep them from drying out while in transport, and then frost or ice the cake as usual and decorate once at the destination. Again, it would be best to transport in a hard cooler or freezer.

If you don't have access to a hard cooler or freezer truck for transporting, then I would find out if there is a fridge or freezer you could use at your destination. Transport your cake layers wrapped in plastic and transported in cooler boxes if possible, and then place the cake layers in the fridge or freezer once at the destination. Then the day you need the cake, you can put the cake together there, frost/ice it and decorate it there.

Be sure and take extra frosting or icing with you, besides the amount you think you will need. Be sure and take all of the supplies you think you might need as well. It is better to take too much than to forget something.

Hope that helps you.


Jun 23, 2017
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ChesterV advise is good. The rule of thumb for a naked cake is 4 hours maximum of display time. So traveling with a naked cake assembled and display ready is an insurmountable challenge. If you follow ChesterV's advice of packing frozen and toting in coolers your cake should survive.

I find freezing a cake actually makes it moister. I haven't been able to find any science to back that up so it's really anecdotal. But there's a lot of bakers who swear by short-term freezing. Since plastic wrap is no longer air tight, double wrap in plastic, then wrap it in foil. That will keep the cake from absorbing any strange odors from the freezer even if it's only frozen for a short time.

There's a couple of other things you can do to mitigate against a dry cake and/or spoilage.

Buttercream: once chilled, it has to be re-whipped

Swiss meringue and Italian meringue buttercream will only last a couple of days without refrigeration. Once chilled, they need to be re-whipped. So unless you bring a mixer along you're not going to be able to use this type of meringue buttercreams.

There is a variation on the meringue buttercream made with pasteurized eggs. This original recipe was developed by Lauren Kitchen of Fancy Cakes.

Avalon Cake School produced a blog post with Lauren Kitchen's recipe; at the bottom is a note from Lauren Kitchen stating this buttercream can be stored at room temperature for two weeks. While Lauren Kitchen is a nationally known cake baker, and without a doubt is very knowledgeable, I would not leave this buttercream out for two weeks. But I think you can safely leave it out for a few days. There's a few versions of it.

The beauty about this buttercream is you can add just about anything you want into it to flavor it without damaging the texture. So you can mix it with a jar preserve or curd, really whatever you like, to improve the flavor. At the end of Kara's video she mixes in a full jar of curd.

Original Versions posted on sites by Sift by Kara and Avalon Cake School:

Published on Oct 19, 2014

Lauren Kitchens Swiss Merengue Butter Cream

(Slightly adapted) by Sift by Kara

Beat until smooth, starting on low, then gradually increasing speed until on highest speed
  • ½ cup pasteurized egg whites

Add and medium speed for 5 minutes:
  • 1 lb powered sugar

Add and beat for 10 minutes till fluffy
  • 2 lbs unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 tbs vanilla
  • 6 pinches of Kosher Salt

Avalon Cake School's original version:

Avalon Cake School version 2: better for piping

Modified Artisan Cake Company version

Cake: extending shelf-life

Select a cake with a longer shelf life. Your average sponge cake and butter cake will only last 2-3 days at most without refrigeration. But a pound cake will hold up well for 4 days without refrigeration. Madeira easily holds for 7 days. Madeira is a traditional British sponge cake that is similar to a pound cake.

If you add glycerine to the batter it will help keep your cake moist. Glycerine is normally used in royal icing to prevent a hard set. It's readily available in the big box arts and crafts stores like Michael's and JoAnn's. Glycerine does NOT extend shelf life, it simply slows the rate of moisture loss. It can effect the taste if you use too much, so use sparingly.

Another approach is to use of a natural emulsifier like lecithin. As an emulsifier it improves the quality of your cake crumb. But lecithin has the added benefit of extending shelf life of baked good. It is a readily available product. Health food and vitamin stores have shelves full of it because people use it as a supplement. For baking you only need a small amount.

King Arthur Flour instructs 1-2 tablespoons per 3 cups flour. But that's pretty vague. I would suggest using 20% - 25% by weight per cup of flour.

Cake flour: 1 cup = 114 gram, so 22 to 28 grams of lecithin

All purpose flour 1 cup = 120 grams, so 24 to 30 grams of lecithin

You can read an explanation of lecithin on bakerpedia.
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