I would like to share one other cake debacle. Ironically it was at the same barn venue where the first “cake-tastrohpe” took place. I'm beginning to think that there may be some sort of a cake curse going on there!
This time the couple had booked a professional wedding cake baker. As I always do in preparation for the wedding day, I called the bakery earlier in the week to confirm delivery time and to also make sure that they had directions to the venue. The bakery was about 45 minutes from the venue and it can be a little tricky navigating through that neck of the woods - especially since cell phone and GPS service are often spotty. The last thing I wanted was for the delivery driver to get lost and not be able to call for help. The woman that I spoke with at the bakery assured me that the delivery driver had been to the venue before and would have no issues delivering the cake. Yay!
On the day of the wedding as I was a busy little bee making sure that everything was going according to plan, I noticed that it was about a half hour after the cake was due to arrive and there was no cake in sight. (Can you see where this is headed?)
I called the bakery to see what had happened. Low and behold the driver who “knew exactly where he was going” was apparently lost. He had just been able to get in contact with the bakery right before I called. He did not call them sooner because (of course) he did not have cell phone reception. The bakery let me know that he was still about a half hour away and even though the delivery was going to be at least an hour behind schedule, I still felt comfortable because the reception was not scheduled to begin for another few hours. We had plenty of time before the cake would be seen by the bride and groom or the guests.
When the driver finally arrived at the venue, he came flying up the gravel hill like a bat out of hell. Instead of apologizing for his lateness he scoffed at me, “How do people find this place anyway? That drive was terrible!” I politely informed him that I had called his employer earlier that week to confirm that he had proper directions and that they told me - in no uncertain terms - “You knew exactly where you were going because you had been here before.” The conversation came to a screeching halt.
I proceeded to show him to the marble topped table which was all ready to receive the cake. He thanked me, I continued about my business and he headed back to his delivery van to get the goods.
A few minutes later I noticed him walking very deliberately toward me. He looked uneasy. “We have a problem,” he said. “The cake shifted.”
“It…shifted?” I asked slowly. Thoughts began racing through my mind. What exactly about the cake shifted? Was it the top? The bottom? Did the cake shift off the stand? I had made touch-ups to wedding cakes in the past so I was hopeful that this was something that I would be able to fix.
When I arrived at the trunk of the delivery vehicle I looked in horror upon the “shifted” cake. “Shifted” does not begin to describe what had happened to this wedding cake. The bottom two tiers of the cake were demolished. Thinking back on that moment in time, I always have a good laugh, but then and there - it was anything but funny.
I don't know if the driver took a turn too fast or if flying up the bumpy gravel drive was just a little too much for the poor wedding cake. However, no matter how it happened, the cake did not survive the journey, and now we had no cake.
Unlike the first cake debacle, I did not have twenty four hours to find another cake. I had four hours - that’s two hundred and twenty four minutes - and I had to make every one count. I immediately called the bakery. I did not waste time expressing my frustration with whomever I spoke with on the phone earlier in the week when I was assured that the driver had directions to the venue and had been there before. I jumped right to, “How the heck are we going to fix this situation?”
Still staring at the “shifted” cake, I told the owner that I thought that I could salvage the top tier and make it look presentable so that the couple could still save it as their anniversary cake. Assuming that there was not going to be time to bake more cakes, I asked her if she had any styrofoam “dummy” cakes that she could decorate. She would just need to cut a piece out on the bottom tier where the couple would be cutting the cake and put real cake in that space. I had seen this done before and knew that it was a method used for “rental cakes.” Luckily the woman knew exactly what I was talking about and with that we had a plan.
She asked me to send her driver back to the shop and informed me that by the time he got back she would be almost done decorating the dummy cakes as well as icing the sheet cakes that she would purchase from the local wholesale store. He would be able to load up, turn around and return to the venue almost immediately. I asked her to please call me when he was leaving the shop again, thanked her immensely, crossed my fingers and took a deep breath.
Now for the even bigger challenge - keep the bride and groom out of the barn and/or explain to them where the cake is. I have to say I can't quite remember how I accomplished that…but I did. Normally I try my best not to let the couple know if there is an issue unless it is something that I cannot fix. In this case I was pretty confident that we had a solution, however, in the event that we had to move to Plan C, I did not want this to come as a shock to anyone. I did the next best thing - I went to the Maid of Honor, divulged everything and swore her to secrecy unless she was 1000% sure that we should tell the bride and groom. She agreed that we should keep it hush-hush and that if things didn't turn out for the best, we would both go down in flames together. Even though theoretically it was neither one of our faults, we were both guilty by association.
An hour and a half later my phone rang. It was the bakery….gulp! The driver was finally leaving the shop - for the second time. The woman on the other end jokingly told me that it would take him a little bit longer to return because he would be driving slowly and carefully. I chuckled and while I was not really amused I had to try to find humor in this situation. Eventually the driver returned with instructions on where the actual “cake” was located on the dummy for the couple to cut. I carefully assembled the three tier cake and patted myself on the back because I thought it looked pretty darn good.
When the time came for the couple to cut the cake, they were a bit perplexed as to why I was telling them literally, exactly where to cut and how “small” of a piece they needed. They probably chocked it up to my extreme attention to detail and rolled with it.
The following morning, I received this message… “Our wedding cake was sweet but you are much sweeter. Thanks for making everything easy as pie - you are a God sent.” In that moment, I know that the Maid of Honor had caved - just like the bottom of the cake!