Brilliant Idea

Let them ship cake

Most bakeries make you come to them. But a flexible and accommodating few understand that sometimes you absolutely must have a four-tier floral extravaganza—yesterday. These six confectioners ship their cakes anywhere in the country (some around the globe), sparing no amount of dry ice, reinforced cardboard, and airplane cargo handlers in the process.

LADY M CONFECTIONS Redefining the layer cake, Lady M's Mille Crêpes is a wonder of custard slathered between 20 paper-thin crêpes. This elegant Manhattan bakery also ships its pastries and tarts. Cake, $65; handling, $20; shipping varies; 212-861-9094;

MRS. BEASLEY'S This Hollywood cult classic sold its first cake to Charles Bronson in 1975. Since then the Miss Grace Lemon Cake has been this Los Angeles bakery's top draw. It also ships gift baskets, cookies, and candies. Cake, $29; shipping, $8; 800-800-2253;

WILDFLOWERS It's hard to believe that the flowers and fruit adorning the cakes of this New Jersey bakery aren't real. Each pear, petal, and leaf is a work of art. Cake shown, $1,500. Flower cakes, from $10 a serving; shipping varies; 856-459-3515;

SYLVIA WEINSTOCK This New York baker has dispatched her tiered buttercream masterpieces to points as far as Saudi Arabia. She ships via Continental Airlines' counter service. Cakes, from $15 a serving; shipping varies; 212-925-6698;

HOTEL SACHER Vienna's famous Sacher Torte is a fudgey chocolate cake with chocolate frosting spread over a layer of apricot jam. The wooden box it arrives in can be personalized with an engraved brass plate. Cake, $40; shipping, $50; 43-1/514-560;

POLLY'S CAKES Oregon-based Polly Schoonmaker overnights her Whimsy Cakes in a cooler that comes with detailed assembly instructions. Cake shown, $1,200; shipping, $325. Whimsy Cakes, from $12 a serving; shipping, $275-$375; 888-386-1221.