A cake dilemma

I need any advice I can get!
Friends are celebrating their wedding at their ranch in Northern California. Rather than having a wedding cake, they have asked several of us to bring cakes—so while they won’t be traditional wedding cakes, it would be best if they weren’t completely casual either. Here’s the problem though: guests, including us, are arriving a day early and camping out on the property, where temperatures range from pretty cool in the night to very hot in the afternoon. My best solution, I think, is to make a cake in its entirety, freeze it, and let it thaw gradually in a cooler over the day or so. Any additional, final decorations would have to be pretty minor. Help! Rose Levy Beranbaum’s The Cake Bible doesn’t cover situations like this one!



Greenstuff August 28, 2016
Thank you, all. Everything went fine. I made a white Genoise, an orange buttercream, and rolled fondant, essentially Rose Levey Beranbaum's White lily cake in The Cake Bible, without her level of skill. I let the cake sit overnight after applying the fondant, then froze it for a day before wrapping it in two layers of plastic and one of heavy duty aluminum foil. It thawed in my cooler for a couple of days with absolutely no condensation problems. After ther ceremony, I pilfered some flowers that had come from the bride's garden and been used at the ceremony site, tied them in a ribbon, and attached them to the cake. I'm looking forward to experimenting more with rolled fondant, an more important, my friends are happily married.
Nancy August 28, 2016
Wonderful to hear what you did and that it all worked out, even without refrigeration. Congratulatons to all ! :)
Shuna L. August 6, 2016
Cakes don't love camping trips. Frosted cakes will keep you up all night with they're sweating, melting and kvetching. Also, cakes invite every bug you never knew existed into the tent, or bears and raccoons if you leave it outside of the tent.

Go to a kitchen supply store. rent a "cold box." Buy some dry ice. Ask a caterer for advice.

I agree about making a cake that does not need to be frosted. Or buy an "ice cream ball," (LL BEAN used to sell them...) and serve your cake a la mode a la minute. Or make a fruit caramel with butter, not cream, and that could be a lovely garnish.

Or make a dutch oven cake the night before the wedding, at your campfire. Tricky! Impressive! but careful - don't upstage the bride with your inventiveness...
Greenstuff August 6, 2016
Thank you, thank you! You have captured my worries. But do not worry, a trip down the Grand Canyon cured me of ever again baking a cake in a Dutch oven. So at least I won't upstage the bride.
Annie S. August 5, 2016
I made my own wedding cake and froze it and thawed it the day of the wedding. This was in 1976. My cake was an applesauce spice type with some of the sweetener being honey. The honey kept it moist and it was perfect when served. The frosting was cream cheese which freezes well and was fairly uncommon at that time.
Good luck and cheers to the happy couple!
Annie S. August 5, 2016
I made my own wedding cake and froze it and thawed it the day of the wedding. This was in 1976. My cake was an applesauce spice type with some of the sweetener being honey. The honey kept it moist and it was perfect when served. The frosting was cream cheese which freezes well and was fairly uncommon at that time.
Good luck and cheers to the happy couple!
creamtea August 5, 2016
I'm totally behind Dinner at Ten's suggestion for Bundt cake, and Phil's suggestion for a dense flourless cake.
I've brought chocolate truffle tarts or alternatively dense, rich brownies to picnics. I pack up an Isi cream whipper (along the lines of Phil's suggestion to bring Reddi Whip). People get a real kick when I break it out and attach the cartridge and they get to "decorate" their own portion with whipped cream. If there's going to be refrigeration this could work!
Greenstuff August 5, 2016
Thank you all! Such diverse and interesting advice. I'd been thinking about edible flowers myself, so right away, I felt maybe I was on the right track. Then, the advice to consider bundt cakes or a flourless chocolate cake threw me off--because I make a lot of both of those and had never once considered them for this occasion. Had to wonder why not. And fondant?? I'd been sort of envisioning that smooth surface freezing well, but no!, I am not only not comfortable there, I've never worked with fondant at all. But, since I have a few weeks to experiment, I watched a few YouTubes and just bought a little package of fondant to play with.

I'm still considering all your advice, I'll welcome more, and I will definitely report back in.
BerryBaby August 5, 2016
Ina has a great recipe called Birthday Sheet Cake. It's a dense cake that would definitely keep without refrigeration. You could frost it before going to the wedding with marshmallow fluff and sprinkle the top with shredded coconut. Both the fluff and coconut wouldn't need refrigeration or use (can't believe I'm saying this) canned frosting instead of the fluff.
PHIL August 5, 2016
desperate times, desperate measures.
PHIL August 5, 2016
What about a flourless chocolate cake? You can dress it up with powdered sugar, or edible metallic sugar. or add berries to the top. Maybe even bring some reddi-whip cans in a cooler and add at the last minute. Also, have some raspberry syrup and drizzles on it
amysarah August 4, 2016
Lovely idea to have friend-made cakes instead of a traditional formal wedding cake. But as I'd assume it was your friends' idea, and they know the limitations while camping, it seems kind of odd that no provision was made for storage/refrigeration. Have you spoken to them about it? Maybe something is being planned and you just don’t have the details yet? (Or will be once you mention it, if it's simply been overlooked amidst all the wedding details.)
hardlikearmour August 4, 2016
This might be a little crazy, but that's how I operate: Are you comfortable with rolled fondant? You could cover the cake with that, let it set up overnight at room temperature, then wrap in 2 layers of plastic wrap and freeze. Allow it to gradually thaw in the cooler, still wrapped in the plastic, then for at least a couple of hours at room temperature before you pull the plastic. Any condensation should happen on the plastic. As a safety measure I'd bring a "paint" made of luster dust (http://www.lusterdust.com/fdaapstludub.html) and lemon extract and a paintbrush, and brush the paint on the cake. Wrap a pretty ribbon around the bottom and call it good :-). If you wanted to be extra fancy you could bring some gumpaste flowers to decorate -- keep them in a container with some desiccant and they don't care how hot it gets.
dinner A. August 4, 2016
Bundt cakes look festive without frosting, and if you don't have one or might buy a new one, some of the more unusually-shaped bundt pans (like this swirling one: http://www.surlatable.com/product/PRO-1050764/) look quite elegant. You could garnish your bundt with a few edible flowers at the base and/or dust a little powdered sugar after you thaw it.
Amitha's E. August 4, 2016
Look into cakes and icings that won't need to be refrigerated. Personally when I have time I prefer to make homemade marshmallow as a frosting for a chocolate cake.
Nancy August 4, 2016
Don't know the size of the ranch or of the wedding, but if there is capacity in a cold cellar or refrigerator (permanent or brought in for the festivities), perhaps the cake bakers can rent some space overnight, then assemble & decorate the day of.
I don't have more ideas beyond what you suggested for the cake in the (variable) weather.
Maybe write to experts - the great RLB herself, Wilton, King Arthur, Mary Berry in the UK - for advice.
Nancy August 4, 2016
Rent some space. meant tongue in cheek.
PS are there caterers for this wedding...maybe they have some chiller capacity. Also, is anyone coming in an RV with electricity...etc etc
C S. August 4, 2016
It sounds like they will expect things to be pretty casual. Your idea of freezing the cake before transporting it is a good one. Will you or can you have edible flowers available to use for decoration. Keep it simple. Send pictures it sounds like fun.
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