or Connect
ChefTalk.com › ChefTalk Cooking Forums › Cooking Discussions › Pastries & Baking › wedding cake help -- baking AND shipping! advice, please!!
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

wedding cake help -- baking AND shipping! advice, please!!

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

It's crazy, but i'm helping out my grad student sister and baking her wedding cake. the rub: i'm in the d.c. area; she's in denver. my plan: baker her 3-tier carrot cake here; freeze, wrap and have shipped to denver; assemble and decorate there. plan b: if cake arrives unusable (or doesn't arrive!), i have 4 days to figure it out in high altitude (or find a baker and pay some ridiculous amount of money to get bailed out). so:

 

i've never done a cake so large. i'm concerned about adapting the baking time/temp here for a 3-inch cake (i'm using magic line 8-, 12- and 16-inch pans). unless advice is to go with 2 -inch deep for more consistency...? what would be a good starting point as far as adapting the time and temp? (i realize this could take a few trials, but knowing how to calculate for a starting point would help.) AND i know nothing about assembly. will i likely need dowels? would it make more sense to cheat on, say, the middle layer with styrofoam? where does one buy styrofoam and have it cut? or do i need to cut it myself??

 

and in shipping the cake: i am doing a practice run that includes freezing and thawing, but in the meantime, anything to take into account? and problems i'm not anticipating b/c it's a (really moist) carrot cake? i'm hoping that will actually help keep it from drying out. also, once cake is cooled, i will return cakes to pan and freeze in pans to help protect during shipping (and in case i have to re-bake out there). then wrap supertight with plastic wrap, then aluminum foil... then take to a packaging store and have them pack and ship with 2-day arrival (or should i cough up the bucks for overnight?).

 

oh, did i mention that my lovely fisher-paykel double wall over shorted out a week ago, preventing me from doing my full dry run until at least this weekend? leading up to a dec. 23 or 27 shipping date for a new year's eve wedding?

 

i am insane.

 

help help help.

 

--anne

post #2 of 7

Ok, the problem with carrot cake is it can be soft, and soft means that if you have a couple or three tiers, with filling and frosting, it weighs a ton and can squash the cake underneath.  So, you will need disks of cardboard they sell at baking supply places i guess.  You should insert drinking straws all around about half way from the center, maybe 6, cut off exactly at the edge of the cake.  These, inserted into the cake, hold up very well, as long as you put them in exactly vertical.  Architects and engineers know that a full cylinder is no stronger than a hollow one - and I beams are as strong as thick metal , because the shape resists crushing. 

 

When you've baked and cooled each layer, and are about to freeze it, put it on a disk of cardboard (or styrofoam- they make both kinds) - wrap and freeze well.  You might want to ship with dry ice to be sure it stays cold.  maybe someone with experience can tell you that.  Be very careful of packaging.  It has to resist the shippers throwing it around (I heard that shipping rooms will often have fun tossing packages marked "fragile" so engineer your packaging with that in mind.)

 

I'd be vewry wary of shipping a cake but, anyway...

 

When you unwrap and assemble put the straws into the lower cake, rest the next tier on top, put straws into that cake and rest another on top of that. 

 

Then do a crumb layer of frosting (the layer that will be covered with more frosting, where all the crumbs will attach, so they don;t ruin the good outside frosting.  I('d recommend white chocolate cream cheese frosting, which holds up well and is not too sweet (and tastes nothing like chocolate). 

 

You can put a rolled fondant on top opf that or another thicker layer of the same frosting, after the first has hardened a little in the freezer or fridge. 

 

I got all this advice from rose beranbaum's book the cake bible, and she also shows how to make large versions of other cakes, because the ingredients change.  E.g. if you make a very wide round cake, like 12 inches, you have to put LESS not more baking powder, or it will rise too much and the structure will not hold it up - like making a building with a dome that is too big for it. 

 

I recommend you buy the book and also go on her blog online - she is generous with advice and i made a 6 layer, 3 tier chocolate wedding cake in 40 degree heat and it came perfectly.  (no air conditioning.)

 

good luck. 

oh, she also has a story of carrying a wedding cake to her brother's wedding across the country and her plane being snowbound and missing the wedding. 

 

"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
Reply
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
Reply
post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 

thanks so much, siduri. i've got the cardboard and straws for securing the layers. my sis does NOT want fondant, so it'll be two "layers" of cream cheese frosting. i like the white chocolate idea. i will mention to her and have her make some and test for flavor.

 

as for shipping.... i could certainly have the cake travel with me and have considered that. but i was just as nervous about it being on the plane(in d.c., they can be extra crazy about what you carry on these days -- if i had to unpack it and have them poke thru it, i'd die). and couldn't figure out if it was safer to carry on (and it will weigh a ton, as you point out) or put on as "luggage" and worry about it traveling thru the airport, getting lost, etc. i thought it would be "safest" to put it in the hands of a professional shipping co. and keep my fingers crossed.

 

i have the cake bible! and am running to it right now.

post #4 of 7

Look at the last section of cake bible for carrot cake. and do ask Rose on her website for advice which she will give.  I don;t remember if she has a carrot cake recipe for wedding cakes, but she just might.  and the white chocolate cream cheese frosting is in that book, in quantities for wedding cake too, i believe.  It holds up better than the regular cream cheese frosting, because the chocolate turns hard at room temp, while cream cheese stays soft. 

good luck

"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
Reply
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
Reply
post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 

ack! i am still having problems. my version of the cake bible is inherited from my mom and probably fairly outdated/without more recent info. but here's my issue: i have a carrot cake (very dense and lots of moisture) PLUS it's in 3-inch deep tiers, very different from rose's two 2-inch tier instructions. i've decreased baking powder, eggs, some other liquid (crushed pineapple is used, and now i drain it well), etc., and have used 2 flower nails. still, my last 12-inch-square tier took forever to bake (and i will know when i get home from work tonite -- yes, working christmas eve! -- but i believe my outer portion is a bit overdone and the very center might still be underdone). i'm not having much more success with the 9-inch-square 3-inch-deep tier, either. here are the ingredients for the regular recipe which i'm trying to convert:

2 c flour/1 tsp each baking soda and powder/ 1/4 tsp salt/ 2 tsp cinnamon
3 eggs/ 2 tsp vanilla/ 1.5 c sugar/ 1/2 c brown sugar/ 1/4 c milk, then 1 c oil
2.5 c carrots/ 2 c shredded coconut/ 1 c crushed pineapple/ 1 c yellow raisins/ 1.5 c chopped pecans

 

i've tried, and i know it's my inexperience, but i'm just not successfully taking into account what needs to be adjusted. it IS possible to bake a 12-inch-square, 3-inch-deep cake evenly, right?? or was i ignorant for trying?

i have three days left to bake! and then i have to freeze the cake and take it to denver!

any more advice out there?

thank you....

post #6 of 7

Sorry i didn't see this, and maybe now it's too late.  as i suggested, i would consult rose beranbaum's blog site, she gives useful answers.  I think pineapple would make a cake way too dense to hold up in tiers, but i'm not experienced in pineapple carrot cake

"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
Reply
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
Reply
post #7 of 7

I think, you can decrease your ingredient by removing the pineapple. As what Siduri said and as I susupected, it may be too dense for the cake having the pineapple. :)

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Pastries & Baking
ChefTalk.com › ChefTalk Cooking Forums › Cooking Discussions › Pastries & Baking › wedding cake help -- baking AND shipping! advice, please!!