With all of the hot weather we’ve been having through Spring and Summer months in the past few years, there have been some horror stories around about melting wedding cakes. Cakes are made of some of the most simple ingredients, butter/sugar/eggs/flour, and are therefore quite vulnerable when it comes to extreme conditions, whether that be hot and humid or cold and dry! We have Lara at lovefromLila sharing her top tips for looking after your wedding cake on a hot Summer’s day…
• Think about the room where you’re planning to display your wedding cake. Is it outside or inside? Air-conditioned or a warm sunny spot? Marquees are an absolute no-go for cakes in hot weather. Where possible, you want to keep your cake in a cool spot, indoors where the temperature can at least be moderated, if not completely controlled. Ask your venue what they have done in the past for other couples.
• You should also speak to your cake maker to see if they have any suggestions about different designs or flavours that would survive better in the heat. There are some icings which can cope better in the heat, e.g. fondant icing, but if you have your heart set on a buttercream wedding cake, then an experienced cake maker will know how to do that well.
• However, even the best cake makers cannot avoid a small amount of bulging between the layers of a fondant cake in the heat of Summer. If you really want your wedding cake to look perfect, it might be worth asking your cake maker to create the display cake out of dummy cakes, and use cutting cakes in the back to actually feed your guests
• If your wedding cake is being made by a friend or family member that isn’t as experienced with wedding cakes, why not think about having more of a deconstructed cake like Meghan Markle? It avoids the complication of stacking cakes in hot weather and makes it easier to look after each tier e.g. getting them in and out of the fridge.
• When transporting a wedding cake in Summer, it’s even more important that you keep it cool as any bump or corner in the car could lead to the layers in-between sliding away from one another. For fondant cakes, you need to keep them somewhere cool before getting in the car and then make sure the air-conditioning keeps the car as cool as possible. Never refrigerate a fondant cake as it doesn’t need it, and will create more problems down the line. For buttercream cakes, I would recommend refrigerating the cake for at least 90 minutes before travelling, and then keeping the air-conditioning on in the car for the journey. As soon as you arrive at the venue, get the cake out of the car as without the air-conditioning on, the car quickly turns into a sauna.
• If you’re not planning to cut your wedding cake until later on in the evening (e.g. 9pm) then don’t put your cake on display until later on in the afternoon. The temperature tends to start dropping around 5pm, as does the sun, so keep your cake cool/refrigerated and bring it out once you’re happy that the weather is on your side!
• Most importantly, even if you’ve taken every other precaution on this list, make sure you have a backup plan. Ask a bridesmaid or family member to keep an eye on your wedding cake on the day, and if it looks as if it’s starting to sag or the icing is too wet (because it’s starting to melt), get it into the fridge or at the very least into a cool and shady spot or air-conditioned room.
Summer weather is not always the kindest to cakes, but with a little bit of extra thought, planning and care, your wedding cake will be absolutely fine, even on the hottest day. Keep up to date with the weather forecast and have a backup plan just in case. Good luck and happy planning!