How to Protect the Cake at An Outdoor Wedding

Seagulls, sunlight, pests — wedding cakes sure have to battle the elements during outdoor weddings. Here’s how to defend your dessert

Editor’s note: We’re starting 2015 on the right foot — and it’s leading us straight into the wedding cake tasting room! This entire month, we’re devoting our Wedding Guru posts to all things cake. Bon appétit!

Outdoor weddings can be really beautiful in the Hudson Valley, but they do present unique problems for your wedding cake.

Dear Wedding Guru:
“I’m planning to hold my wedding outdoors, both the ceremony and the reception, but I’m concerned about how my cake will fare in warm weather. Do you have any suggestions?” — I Wanted My Heart to Melt, Not the Icing

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Dear I Wanted My Heart to Melt:
You’ll need to make accommodations for your cake so that it survives the heat. Definitely start by asking your baker for his or her advice. Buttercream frosting may “sweat” in the heat, but there are several recipes that get around this problem. Unless your baker insists that he or she has such a recipe, avoid buttercream. And under no circumstances should your baker deliver your cake frozen! Here are some more tips:

  • Never put your buttercream-frosted cake in direct sunlight. Instead, keep it in the shade, even in cooler weather. If there is no shade available, then opt for a fondant-covered cake. (More about the differences between buttercream and fondant here.)
  • Watch out for creepy-crawlies! Keep the ants away by keeping the tablecloth off the ground. A neat trick: set the table legs in water-filled cups, so that the ants can’t climb up on the table and subsequently onto the cake.
  • If your outdoor wedding is near the ocean or river, you may have to deal with hungry seagulls. Have a friend or caterer’s assistant on seagull patrol to prevent the birds from making a feast of your cake.

Have a wedding question? Write to me at

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