I agree with previous posters - take more breaks, take something before starting, check consistency of icing, etc. Most importantly, please see a doctor. He may be able to offer some relief with drugs, brace, or physical therapy.
Because I work full-time, I bake and freeze the weekend before. Once the cake layers are cool, I wrap in plastic wrap and then in foil. Then I freeze. For a Saturday cake, I like to level, fill, and crumbcoat on Thursday nights so my Mom takes the cakes out of the freezer for me on Thursday morning and they sit wrapped on the counter until I get home and get ready for them.Hope this helps.
I think it would be fine to travel with it already stacked. Just remember to dowel it well and to put a center dowel all the way through.However, just remember that a cakes that size is very heavy and be sure that you can carry it by yourself or have someone helping you that can.Personally, if it were me, I would travel in separate layers but only because I wouldn't be able to carry it in already stacked.
I too work full time and my response to last minute (and this qualifies) is: I'm sorry but since I work full-time and have family obligations (parents in my case), [i]I will need at least two weeks notice. Thank you for thinking of me though.
Cakepro- I hadn't thought of it being the cake board. For the base, I always glue two 1/2" foamcore boards together but then for the rest, I usually use a couple of cake circles glued together. I will try the 1/2" foamcore next time. I don't usually have this problem with my 6" or 8" cakes so I was thinking it was the icing. Thank you again!
It seems that everytime I do a large cake, I have problems with the icing developing hairline cracks in it. It wasn't so bad last time but I still saw a few. Here's what I do for a Saturday cake:One week before: bake and freeze (works best with work schedule) at parent's house (I don't have a freezer nor room for one)Thursday a.m. : My mother removes cakesThursday p.m.: Level, fill, and crumbcoatFriday: Ice and decorateSaturday: DeliverI try to keep the house cool. ...
If you make the full size sheet cakes for the side, he might want to make sure the kitchen area at the reception has an area big enough. I made one once and the "kitchen" wasn't much bigger than a postage stamp.
I agree with everyone else that it takes as much time to decorate a dummy as it does a real cake. Dummies do cost a lot and you have usually have to pay more shipping since it is oversized. That cost would need to be factored in as well, especially if you are not getting them back. The way I see it, it's way much more work because the dummy has to be decorated and the sheet cakes have to be baked/iced (not to mention the kitchen space a couple of full-size sheet cakes...