When I had the wedding cake completed, I packaged it carefully and put it in the freezer, where it would stay for a month while I went on vacation. No worries.
Maybe I shouldn’t have taken its safety for granted.
While my kids and my first two granddaughters were growing up, I decorated cakes for the public in my little cake shop out behind our house. My friend’s two daughters sometimes came over to play with the granddaughters, and I often allowed them to decorate cupcakes just for fun.
I had burned completely out on cake decorating and closed the business by the time my granddaughters married, but I still had the privilege of baking and decorating their wedding cakes.
When my friend’s older daughter was planning her wedding, she asked if I would consider making her groom’s cake, as she had fond memories of decorating cupcakes at our house. I volunteered to do her wedding cake as well, as the family was having some financial difficulties at the time and this would save them a lot of money.
It turned out to be all the nightmares I had ever had while in the business, wrapped into one deceptive package.
I worked for over a week on the cake and was very pleased with the results. It was a three-tiered cake done in my finest basketweave, topped off with loads of wysteria.
The groom’s cake was also satisfying to the eye–a drum for the musician husband-to-be, luscious chocolate cake, concealed beneath a white chocolate drum head.
So now each tier was carefully boxed and wrapped airtight, and placed in a freezer prepared especially to hold the cakes at my friend’s house, while my husband and I traveled to Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. I wasn’t concerned about the cakes at all.
We returned a month later, discussing on the way home what a relief it was to know the cakes were decorated and I didn’t have to deal with that job in the heat of summer. I would, however, go to my friend’s house on Friday before the wedding on Saturday to unbox and thaw the cakes, and make any needed repairs. No worry. Done it a thousand times before.
So I unpacked our luggage, did the laundry, washed the car, rested a while, then got up Friday morning and went to my friend’s house. We went to her basement garage and she raised the lid on the chest-type freezer. At once I saw the look of shock and disbelief on her face. I ran my hand down inside the freezer to feel the side wall, and it was not cold. Not at all. In fact, it was quite warm. There was no frost on the inside of the freezer. Not a bit. The freezer was not running, and it was apparent it had been off for a while. But for how long?
I quickly took one of the boxes upstairs and opened it, to find that the icing had melted and slid off the cake. I could only assume the rest of the tiers and the groom’s cake were in the same condition. Soon I noticed my friend was not around. I asked one of her daughters where she had gone and she said, “Probably somewhere to cry.”
I raked some crumbs from the top of the tier and tasted them. They tasted fine. So I asked the girls for their opinion and they agreed.
So at my request, my friend’s husband helped me carry the boxes to my vehicle, and I started home, assuring them that I would return the cakes in time for the wedding and they would be at least presentable.
I stopped at the store to pick up supplies for a new batch of icing, hurried home and went to work. I worked most of the night, and by morning the cakes all looked as good as new. Thankfully I had not had to rebake the tiers, or there would never have been enough time.
The reception was to be held outside at my friend’s house. In August heat. In Oklahoma. Not a good thing even for a cake that had not suffered a previous breakdown. So I waited till the last minute to rush the cakes to the reception and put them in place.
Everything went off without a hitch and I received many compliments on the cakes.
And I was reminded why I was no longer in the business of making wedding cakes. It’s just too hard on the nervous system.