Most of my days are spent worrying about cake. Will it look okay? Will it taste okay? Is it too hot for buttercream? Too cold for buttercream? Do I have enough buttercream? Why is buttercream so darned difficult to wash up? Why does buttercream taste so good? In fact, I've probably aged about ten years in the last eighteen months with all the worry. I'm hoping the stress-related ageing process is counteracted somewhat by the euphoria when a cake is delivered safely and the customer sends me a lovely message to say thank you.
One of the most angsty moments is definitely transportation. I now mostly deliver cakes. That way, I'm the one who drives it like Miss Daisy from my house to its destination. Sucking in my breath at every pothole or speed bump I navigate. Staring down other drivers who can't understand why I'm driving under the speed limit and increase my stopping distance to that of a wet road, on a perfectly clear and sunny day. Making sure I wear sensible shoes. No flip-flops or vertiginous heels allowed during cake delivery. Panicking when I realise that having gotten to the destination safely that I now have to negotiate a spiral staircase with a Henry Hoover cable trailing across it whilst the owner's dog gambols spiritedly around my feet, hoping to be rewarded for tripping me up.
Every so often though, I have to delegate responsibility to either my lovely fiance and Mini Me - or put the cake into the care of the customer. And with that delegation comes an important message. "Put the cake in the boot. That's right, the boot". It really is the best place. In fact, I would highly recommend in the left hand corner of the boot, up against the rear of your back seat. I'm quite superstitious about that. I'll never put the cake on the right hand side in my
car. Because the boot is the most level surface you have in your car and will minimise any bumping about you may have on your journey. It's obviously not a failsafe location so I will often 'fence' my cakes in with a non slip mat underneath and then strategically placed items to form a barrier around the box to prevent as much movement as possible. Everything else from the boot should then be piled elsewhere - on the backseat, in the passenger footwell, on your roof rack. But never, ever, ever put your cake in any of these locations. Or if you do, you risk it ending up like the picture opposite.
I have read countless stories on cake groups where a horrifed caker has watched a customer drive away with the cake perched on the passengers knee - only to be sent a photo minutes later of their beautiful creation in tatters. Sure it tastes good, but all that time and skill and love that goes into it, deserves to be treated with some care (well until you have done the ceremonial bit before sticking a knife in it to serve it properly). The pictures was kindly provided by a fellow caker Milly of Mmm-MillysCakes whose customer unfortunately experienced a slightly traumatic journey.
Sure you can never prevent against having to slam on the brakes because a hazard is thrown into your path, but your cake is more likely to survive in the confines of the boot than on a tilted car seat (even if it's seatbelted in itself). And whilst a passenger clutching the box may seem like a great idea, one lapse in their concentration and your lovely cake may be a lovely mess. Thankfully, Milly was able to repair the cake for the customer in this case but often we don't have the time and resources to come to the rescue in the aftermath of delivery.
So please, do heed advice given to you by your caker. Yes I may sound like a fusspot and do recognise, it's just a cake and not my firstborn (and no, I don't make her travel in the left hand side of my boot when I'm not transporting a cake). But if you're driving around with a cake in your car, drive like you're Driving Miss Daisy!