Tips When Traveling with a Cake in Hot Weather
Tips When Traveling with a Cake in Hot Weather

Transporting cakes from one location to another is tricky enough but in hot weather, this task can be a downright nightmare to do.

Don’t worry we got 20 easy tips to prevent your beautiful cake creation from becoming a soggy puddle.

Tips to Preventing your Cake from Melting in the Heat

  1. Weather Proof your frosting by increasing its stability or by using a frosting with more heat resistance. (Some frostings tend to hold their shape better than some in hot weather e.g buttercream and fondant) Keep reading to learn how to weatherproof your frosting.
  2. Use Colors that are neutral and won’t bleed easily e.g white and ivory (this is important for summer weddings)
  3. Use wafer paper to make flowers instead of frosting sheets: Wafer Paper is more resistant to heat whereas high temperatures tend to melt frosting sheets.
  4. Allow your frosted cake to be refrigerated properly before transporting your cake.
  5. Removing the cake from the refrigerator at the very last moment before transporting it to the venue.
  6. Have a second person with you when transporting the cake in a vehicle
  7. Make a portable refrigerator
  8. Fill a separate box with Ice packets and place the cake box into the second box to keep the cake’s temperature cool.
  9. Use dry ice to keep the cake frosting from melting.
  10. Startup your vehicle’s AC unit for 10 minutes and allow it to circulate properly before putting the cake into the vehicle.
  11. Plan the pathway to walk while carrying the cake. Look for areas that have extra shade and are free of any obstacles.
  12. Get a car window shade for un-tinted vehicle windows.
  13. Carry a cake repair kit.
  14. Carry extra flowers, cake toppers to disguise any bumps or replace any droopy cake decorations.
  15. For larger cakes store each tier separately and assemble at the venue site. Also, even smaller cakes with fragile cake toppers can be placed on the cake at the venue.
  16. Avoid direct sunlight on the cake.
  17. Use a cake carrier to maintain moisture in the cake.
  18. Drive carefully. Leave on time so you won’t be tempted to rush on the way to the event.
  19. This tip is for when the cake reaches the destination. The cake should be kept in the refrigerator until the moment it needs to be on display.
  20. While on display, if you are going to an indoor venue the temperature of the venue should be 72 degrees Fahrenheit. If the venue is outdoors a canopy of some sort should be over the cake protecting the cake from direct sunlight.

Below I have a detailed and in-depth guide on the Tips and tricks listed above.

1. How to Make Your Frosting Weatherproof

Here are some tips and tricks to help the frosting of your choice to maintain its shape and design even in the hottest of days.

1- Now if you decide to go with Whipped Cream as a frosting or topping you should use unflavored gelatin to stabilize it .

The gelatin adds firmness to your whipped cream frosting. Citation

You see when you are whipping your frosting you are essentially just adding air into the frosting now you can strengthen it by adding the gelatin which would give the whipped cream a thicker consistency which makes it harder to melt. Citation.

2- Use frostings that hold their shape better in hot weather

Example Fondant has a lower fat content and it’s often stabilized by gelatin, so it tends to hold up the best in the heat.

Butter Cream frosting is another great option too and its ingredients can be tweaked to become more heat resistant as well.

How to Make Buttercream Frosting More Heat Resistant.

Below are some ways of making buttercream more heat resistant and increase its stability. You can do so by:

  • substituting part of the butter with vegetable shortening, which doesn’t melt as quickly as butter and holds its shape better. Butter, the most common frosting ingredient, melts at 90°F to 95°F. Vegetable shortening stays solid all the way up to 115°F.
  • Another tip is to add cornstarch to the buttercream before using it to decorate the cake. Cornstarch, (about two tablespoons per three cups of icing) this makes the icing more stable so it will hold up better in the heat.
  • You can also use Powdered milk or melted marshmallows or meringue and mix it well into the buttercream frosting. This adds more body to the frosting as well as an extra flavor enhancer.
  • Another solution is to add royal icing sugar to the buttercream frosting. It will give your frosting additional stiffness. (Royal icing sugar is a mixture of meringue powder and confectioner’s sugar.)

What Frostings to Avoid on a Hot Day

Avoid cream cheese frosting and whipped cream frosting.

These types of frosting are made with products that require refrigeration because it can spoil quickly, the frosting then requires refrigeration. If you are transporting cakes for a long-distance don’t risk it.

Don’t use custard or Bavarian cream as a filling for your cakes.

These types of filling are quick to spoil, and in hot weather the process may speed up. So don’t take the risk especially for an outdoor event.

2. What Color to use for Cakes in Hot weather

Have you ever seen those cakes with their beautiful colors all smudged and smeared? It is a heartbreaking sight knowing how much time and energy was put into making a cake just to have the colors melt and blend together..

Now to avoid the colors of your cakes from becoming smudged and smeared I recommend using neutral colors especially for summer weddings. Citation.

Why:

  • Dark Colored decorations will be the first to run on a cake in warm weather.
  • Use neutral colors such as white ivory and cream. These colors even if they get runny won’t be as distinct as red or black. Beware of red and black these colors are quick to become runny.

3. Best Type of edible paper to use in hot weather

Edible paper is extremely fragile especially when it comes to heat and humidity.

Wafer Paper maintains its shape better than frosting sheets which melt when exposed to heat. Use Wafer paper to mold edible objects on your cakes such as flowers, butterflies, etc. This type of paper is best to use on a hot day where the cake may be exposed to excess heat

To find out more about edible paper read my article on the subject A comprehensive must-read guide to edible paper

4. Have your cake cooled, stored and refrigerated well before you start traveling it.

Cakes are best served at room temperature but on a hot day where temperatures are soaring most delivered cakes are refrigerated for as long as possible before making the trip.

This definitely reduces the stress and worry of buttercream and decorations sliding down the edges of your cake. If the preference is to serve the cake at room temperature deliver earlier and give the cake time to come to temperature.

Certain cakes require mandatory refrigeration such as cakes with fresh fruits, mascarpone, cream cheese filling, pastry cream, and lemon curd. These spoil easy and the heat will increase the chance of this happening.

Cakes that have been hand-painted or airbrushed should not be refrigerated because taking them out of the fridge will cause the cake to sweat. Keep these cakes in a cool dry area before transporting them

Some parts of your cake should not be refrigerated for long periods of time e.g chocolate, fondant, and gum-paste.  They draw moisture in the cool conditions of the refrigerator, causing condensation when you pull them out of the refrigeration.

5. Only remove the cake from the refrigerator at the very last moment before transporting it to the venue.

The statement above may seem simple but it is essential that you leave the cake in the refrigerator until you absolutely need to transfer it to its home.

6. Have a second person with you when transporting the cake in a vehicle

Having someone with you while you are transporting the cake is important because:

  • They can help you lift it if it’s heavy and would prevent the cake from moving around too much.
  • The cake also needs to be monitored carefully while driving and you cannot drive carefully plus monitor a cake.
  • Also, someone needs to remain in the vehicle with the AC on at all times to keep the car cool if you need a bathroom break that extra person will have to remain in the car with the cake and the AC switched on.

7. Buy or Make a Portable Refrigerator

I found a really good video to guide see below.

How to make a portable fridge for transporting cakes on hot days

Now can also buy a Car Fridge too which would be more effective at keeping your cakes in good order. Now if you sell cakes for a living I would definitely recommend buying one since you can consider it as an investment.

I recommend the Alpicool Portable Fridge, it’s very effective yet super affordable compared to other brands, you can click here to see the current price for it on Amazon.

8. Fill a separate box with Ice packets and place the cake box into the second box.

You can follow the method used for cutting the box in the video at no.7. This method listed below works best for smaller cakes.

  • For this method your cake will have to be in a cake box.
  • Get a box a little larger than your cake box and cut it like the video shown above.
  • However you will have to cut the lid about 20 cm instead of 10 cm as shown in the video.
  • You are cutting it wider than the video because in this method we will be using the lid to place the ice packs under the cake box. Using the lid will be better for insertion as well as the removal of the cake.
  • Next, add ice-packs into the shorter part of the box, Add some that are lying flat on the base of the box’s lid and some around the box lid.
  • You can fill up zip-lock bags with water and freeze them laying flat, instead of buying ice packs (just make sure they are properly sealed so the water won’t seep out.) This saves a bit of money if you’re on a tight budget.
  • Insulate the ice-packs by wrapping them with thick towels so they won’t have direct contact with the cake box or the bigger box. If the ice-packs begin to melt the water will weaken the structure of both boxes. So be careful and monitor the cake carefully.
  • After placing the insulted ice-packs in the box, place the cake box inside the lid of the larger box, essentially stacking the cake box on top of the box with the ice then covering it with the top of the bigger box.
  • Carefully place the cake on top of the flat ice-packs and cover it with the longer top of the box.
  • This Traps all the coldness inside the box.
  • Carefully move the box to the vehicle.
  • Place a non-skid mat under the box in the car to avoid it from moving around.

9. Use Dry Ice to Keep your Cakes Cool

A Styrofoam cooler or box filled with dry ice can also be used to keep a cake cool on hot days.

Now it must be noted that dry ice is frozen carbon dioxide and care must be taking when using dry ice because it can become dangerous in certain circumstances.

Now I would recommend reading this article before buying dry ice How to use dry ice in a cooler and How to store dry ice.

Wear gloves when you handle the dry ice.

Place a couple of pounds of dry ice in the bottom of your cooler, top with several layers of towels, then the cake.

When transporting the Styrofoam cooler filled with dry ice and the cake open the windows, or make sure you set the air conditioner to bring in the fresh air.

In addition, place it away from you when you’re driving, so the carbon dioxide can get to disperse into the surrounding air and not accumulate in the car which is dangerous.

10. Max out Your AC Unit

You should always start up your vehicle’s AC unit for 10 minutes to allow the cold air to circulate before putting the cake into the vehicle

This is fairly straight forward. You don’t want your cake to be placed in a hot car. The icing will start to melt as soon as it is placed there. Get your AC to pick up and circulate before placing the cake in the car.

11. Plan Your Pathway

You should always have a plan or a good understanding of where your are going to walk while traveling with your cake.

This is common sense but many cakes have been ruined by tripping people and if you’re someone like me who is not great with keeping things balanced I would advise you to stalk out your area before you make the move.

Get someone to help you especially if the cake is very heavy and look for areas that have extra shade and are free of any obstacles to walk with the cake.

12. Get a car window shade for un-tinted vehicle windows

This is self-explanatory. You don’t want the sun’s glare or heat on your cake so buy a window shade for the car windows, that are untinted. So that the sun’s glare won’t peek through and shine directly on your cake.

I found some really budget-friendly car window shades on Amazon, you can click here to see the current price.

13. Carry a cake repair kit

Accidents are bound to happen. On a hot day, the chances increase when it comes to cake transportation. It is always a must for a cake decorator to have a cake repair kit. Most cake repair kits may vary depending on the design of the cake and the frosting used. But most cake repair kits must contain these stables:

  • Royal icing
  • spare ribbon
  • extra flowers
  • scissors
  • craft knife
  • palette knife
  • tweezers
  • cocktail sticks
  • edible glue and paintbrush
  • tissues
  • two Big Angled Spatulas
  • Fondant Roller
  • Buttercream to Match Cake

14. Carry extra flowers and cake toppers

This is to disguise any bumps or replace any droopy cake decorations caused by the heat.

I like to make additional pieces that can blend in well and hide any imperfections. Just in case you find yourself in a situation with a damaged topper or melted flowers it’s always a good idea to have a backup.

15. For larger cakes store each tier separately and assemble at the venue site

It is difficult to travel with a large cake. On a hot day it is especially hard to keep an assemble large cake cool. You should store each tier in a separate box and try to keep them cool separately while transporting it.

Travel early so you can assemble it at the event without rushing.

Another tip is that if the cake has fragile cake toppers, these toppers can be placed on the cake at the venue instead of traveling with it on the cake. Just be careful to store it carefully in the vehicle too.

16. Avoid direct sunlight on the cake.

Direct sunlight on an already hot day causes your cake’s frosting to melt and toppers to lose their shape. It can also cause the colors on the cake to run and mix together especially bold colors.

Even neutral colors are affected by the sun because it causes the colors to fade. Avoid DIRECT SUNLIGHT and HEAT at all costs.

17. Use a cake carrier to maintain moisture in the cake.

Cake carriers are cheap and reusable plus they help a cake to retain its moisture on hot days. They are best used for transporting small cakes in short distances.

You can click here to see the price for an 10 inch cake carrier on Amazon.

18. Drive carefully.

Leave on time so you won’t be tempted to rush. Drive slowly and avoid all bumps. Trust me you don’t want to slam on the brakes. Chances are the icing will just slide off the cake on to the cake box or carrier. 

Place your cake on a flat level surface in the vehicle and use a non-skid mat under the cake to stop it from moving around.

19. The Cake should be refrigerated when it reaches the event.

The cake should not be left sitting out. It should be refrigerated after the finished decorations are placed on the cake at the event. The cake should be kept in the refrigerator until the very last moment it needs to be on display.

20. What’s The Best Temperature for Cakes when being Displayed

The cake may be on display for hours, depending on the event. You don’t want the cake to get ruined while its on display.

If you are going to an indoor venue arrange for the temperature of the venue to be 72 degrees Fahrenheit.

This is the best temperature for cakes. If the venue is outdoors like a summer wedding, a canopy of some sort should be protecting the cake from direct sunlight and the cake served as soon as possible and leftovers refrigerated.

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