Monday, March 5, 2012

Customize a cake

Have I mentioned before that these months are the slow months for me? It's nice to get a break but at the same time, I love baking and trying out new flavors, and staying busy. I haven't had much in the way of orders the past few weeks. Or at least orders that are for recipes I haven't already shared with you.

I was however, asked to babysit for a family (that I love) so the mom and dad could celebrate her birthday. I was already trying to figure out a design for a birthday cake for her so this worked out great. In my mind I had picked out a beautiful design with modeled flowers spilling out over the cake. But once I learned that I would have their 3 boys my design took on a completely different design.
I had been planning on making one of the most adorable cakes for my husband for either his birthday in a few weeks or for Father's Day. It all depended on if I found another manly cake that I wanted to make for him and which occasion it would fit better. The idea was to have my kids collaborate together and draw a picture for him. My kids are quite the artists (if I may brag a little) so I knew that the picture would be full of detail and wouldn't need much design from me. And then I would use my edible image printer to copy that picture onto icing.

This was the same "design" we used for this birthday cake. Only, I had planned on the boys being eager to draw pictures. They weren't. And I should have known better. I keep forgetting how young they are because they are quite the mature little boys. Instead, we picked out some coloring pictures online and I let them color those to transfer to the cake. Well, picking out a picture wasn't as easy as I thought it would be. They knew they wanted a princess for their mom but they (the older two) couldn't agree on any one picture. So I let them each have their own and then I would just put three pictures on the cake. Except, one boy colored his picture so good (in one solid color) that you couldn't tell what the picture actually was. And the youngest boy had absolutely no desire to color. He was more interested in watching my fish tank. So I backtracked again and let the middle son pick out the picture he wanted, I let the older son color it, and then I let the youngest one help me ice the cake. And when I say "ice" I mean he kept taste-testing it to make sure it tasted good.

What's great about this is that you don't have to be a cake decorator to do it. You can take a picture your child drew to any cake shop offering edible images and they should be able to scan it in. My local cake lady charges $8 for a printed edible image. Though it does get a little tricky if you want to do a licensed character as most cake shops won't want to risk copyright infringement charges. That being said, all it takes to obtain copyright permission is a phone call. I know someone who insists on calling every parent company of any image/character she wants to re-create. 100% of the time they laugh at her and say that she did not have to get permission. (Because cake is a consumable product and won't last more than 1-2 days). But it never hurts to be safe!
On a side note...I know that $8 doesn't really seem very expensive but if this is something that you would do more than a few times (and it's such a great way to personalize the cake for a parent/grandparent so why wouldn't you do it more than once!?) it might be worth it to look into investing in your own edible image printer hard/software. Especially if your friends or family want to do the same thing, because they may be willing to contribute to the cost. There are some systems that cost upwards of $500 or more. But, the printer pictured above is the exact printer that I use and purchased brand new for $49. The can use a brand new Canon or Epson printer as long as someone makes an edible ink cartridge that is compatible with it.
Kopykake sells the edible ink that is needed for the printers and offers a list of all compatible printers. My total investment for my edible image printing set up (printer, ink, frosting sheets) was $150. I have some great projects and ideas for my EIP and I can't wait to start showing them off!

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