It started when I sent Ben, one of my very good workers, over to the Bryant Museum, in my car, to pick up the cake stands from their birthday celebration for Coach Paul W. "Bear" Bryant.
"The car sputtered and died" reported Ben over the phone about ten minutes later.
OK, well the car has been acting weird lately, but not being very car-savvy, I guess I didn't realize the severity of its little hiccups, thinking they could be cured with gas additive. (That approach HAS worked in the past.)
It's 4pm on Friday before the first home football game and Ben is holding up traffic. And, as just another guy with a car problem, nobody is stopping to help him move the darn thing off the road. Did I mention it was raining? Emily went over to help him out. Not one, not two, but three guys immediately stopped to see if she needed any help with the car.
Fast forward...I called AAA, got the car towed back to the shop and rented a minivan. A small fortune, but this is Tuscaloosa, which has no commercial airport, which means no big rental car agencies. Just Enterprise. Which happened to have just one car left. I took it.
By Saturday morning I am almost over the car fiasco. Sam's Club didn't have everything I needed, but I called ahead to the bakery and Emily agreed to run to the local store to pick up the rest of the stuff we needed before I got in. I was expecting an uneventful day, with everything done well before the 6pm kick-off.
I am greeted with the news that a four tier birthday cake, which was just picked-up, was missing an important architectural support piece. The hows and whys are a very long story, but the cake was now a disaster waiting to happen. The bigger problem was that nobody was answering the phone number we had for the customer. Luckily her husband is a doctor, and the answering service was able to contact him. We iced a completely NEW four tier cake, decorated just like the original, but with all the proper supports, and delivered it to the customer's house about 15 minutes before the party started.
I figured that was it for the day, but I was wrong. One of our wedding deliveries was in Reform, about 30 miles west of Northport. A car stopped abruptly in front of me on the highway. I stepped on the brakes and the cake stand slid in the back of my rental minivan. I heard that soft "plop" that no baker making a delivery EVER wants to hear. Emily, who was riding shotgun, glanced over shoulder and uttered "oh shit." I pulled over and opened the back to see cake pieces and icing all over the floor of the van.
Thank God for cell phones. And the fact that there were enough people working in the bakery today so that one could make the other wedding delivery. One could speed over to Reform with more icing, spatulas, and other supplies. Yes, we do bring an "emergency" bucket with tools and icing, but this cake was way past that and needed a major operation.
With three of us now working, we got the cake scraped and re-iced, stacked and decorated before the bridal party arrived. It looks pretty good, doesn't it? And that is caramel icing, not chocolate (except for the small dark ganache border).
Now I really need a drink.
And yes, that photo at the top of this post is the back of my rental van, after we removed the damaged cake.