An elaborate wedding cake can make a memorable impression on your guests, but transporting it to the venue can be risky. If something happens to the cake on the way to the reception, there won’t be time to fix or replace it. In order to keep your cake safe, you’ll need to protect it from damage, both by using the right containers and by driving cautiously.

What You’ll Need

Before you start your car, assemble the needed supplies. Obtain a sturdy cardboard box or purchase cake boxes. Measure the cake and the box to ensure that the box is just slightly larger than the cake, with no room for the cake to slide around inside it. If you separate your cake’s tiers, have boxes in sizes to accommodate each tier. Ensure that the tier fits neatly inside without touching the sides or having too much room to move. The baseboard should fit snugly against the sides of the box. Include a nonslip mat such as a sheet of foam or rubber to prevent the cake box from sliding around in the rear of your car. Take along a small set of supplies including tape, scissors and extra icing.

Packing the Cake

The precise method for boxing your wedding cake depends on the style of cake. For example, on a stacked cake, each tier rests directly on the tier below. Transport a stacked cake in one piece. Rest the cake on a plywood or fiberboard base as thinner, cardboard baseboards may not be able to support the weight of the cake. Connect the tiers with wooden or plastic dowel rods to keep the cake together, if necessary. Push the wooden or plastic rods into the top of the lower tiers, and then secure the upper tiers by pressing them downward onto the dowels. For added security, push a single, long dowel rod through the center of all tiers. This central support will help keep the cake together and upright.

When transporting a stacked cake, it may be easier to assemble your box, cut it open on one side, slide the cake inside and seal the side again, using heavy duty tape. If your cake’s tiers are separated by pillars, pack each tier separately to ensure the cake does not fall apart during transport. Store the pillars, toppers and other ornaments in a separate container.

Getting to the Venue

Place the cake on the nonslip mat on a flat surface in your vehicle. Car seats aren’t quite flat, but you can place your mat on a folded-down seat or in an empty floor space. If you can’t find a perfectly flat surface, use the flattest one you have, such as a trunk, provided it is not an overly warm day. Folded down rear seats in an SUV also work well.

Drive carefully to the venue, avoiding sudden starts and stops.

Once You’ve Arrived

At the venue, request a wheeled cart or dolly for the cake, if possible. If a cart isn’t available, carry the cake or boxes carefully into the table. If the cake is particularly large, ensure to have another person help you carry it. When the cake is on the table, carefully remove it from the box and assemble it, if necessary. Cut open the side of the box and slide the cake out rather than reaching downward into the box. Do any touch-up work with the extra icing as even the gentlest journey can give your cake a scrape or two.

If your cake has a center dowel rod, leave it in for now; you can remove it when it’s time to cut the cake. Once you remove the top tier, enough of the center dowel should be visible for you to grasp it and draw it upward in a single, smooth motion.