Month: July 2015

Why should you learn how to make sugar cookies?

Why should you learn how to make sugar cookies?

I made some really pretty sugar cookies the other day. They were for the 69th birthday of my client’s mom. She loves gold, pink, and teal.   I really love making sugar cookies. It was one of the first things I learned when I was starting […]

Up, up, and away: fondant hot air balloon cake topper demo

Up, up, and away: fondant hot air balloon cake topper demo

I love hot air balloons! They make me feel happy and positive about life.   I am so fascinated by them. Maybe it’s the sense of serenity, freedom, and success that they evoke.   I was browsing through a local cake decorating supplier’s Facebook page […]

Wayback Wednesday: Mermaid cake

Wayback Wednesday: Mermaid cake

“Study the past if you would define the future.”
Confucius

One thing I learned since I started cake decorating is that you have to continuously improve yourself. You can’t afford to stagnate. In order to stay relevant in this business, you have to innovate and continuously surprise people. In order to do this, you have to be able to criticize your methods and your products and find ways of making things better.

This is my first ever post for the “Wayback Wednesday” category. I plan to look back on cakes I’ve done in my earlier days as a cake decorator and compare them with the ones that I have done recently. It will personally help me gauge my progress and improvement as a cake artist. At the same time, it will inspire me to further make myself better. It will make me acknowledge my humble beginnings even more. We all started somewhere, and it’s so much fun to look back.

July has been mermaid month for me. I’ve made two mermaid-themed cakes and an “under the sea” themed cookie set. Plus, I’ve been having lots of inquiries from potential customers about more mermaid cakes and sweets. I think that it would be fitting to take a look at my mermaid cakes. Let’s start with my most recent one.

 

Little Mermaid cake
Baby Little Mermaid with Flounder

 

mermaid and flounder collage
Mermaid and flounder cake details

 

 

I really enjoyed making this 8×4-inch round buttercream frosted cake with fondant details. I personally love the sea grass. I’ve managed to give them some movement. I also love how my Sebastian the lobster figure turned out. Now, let’s take a look at a mermaid cake I made sometime in 2012.

image_1350717019126716

 

I really don’t have a decent picture of this cake. There’s a lot of things wrong with it. First of all, the picture itself could have been taken at a better angle. The cake could’ve been smoother. Then, there’s the mermaid’s face and the details that have not been properly arranged. I can go on and on with what I should’ve done differently on this one, so I think my most recent mermaid cake was a huge improvement. But then again, even that one has its flaws too.

Anyhow, here are the other mermaid/under the sea goodies I’ve made this month. Enjoy!

mermaid cakeunder the sea sugar cookies

 

 

 

 

 

Tutorial Tuesday: Sponge Bob cupcake toppers

Tutorial Tuesday: Sponge Bob cupcake toppers

You know one of the things that you need to do if you are into cake decorating? You have to know what kids like! Mostly, you have to be familiar with lots of cartoon and computer game characters. Unfortunately for me, I am no longer […]

My own humble beginnings in cake decorating

My own humble beginnings in cake decorating

I spend hours stalking my cake idols on Facebook and on Instagram. Today, I happened to stumble upon Philippine buttercream floral queen Jing Fernandez’s page on Facebook. She posted some of her buttercream daisies from way back in November 2013, and I really could say that […]

Protecting my cake photos

Protecting my cake photos

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

I must agree. Doesn’t it give you that warm fuzzy feeling when you see another baker attempt to replicate your cake, regardless if he did it well or not? Personally, it makes me think that I must have done something right because somebody was inspired to make a similar cake, or a client loved it so much that he wants to have one done for him. It makes me feel proud and confident of my skills and talents. But to have another cake decorator or baker grab your photo and claim it as his own? Now that’s a different story.

I’ve seen a lot of posts on Instagram and on Facebook of angry cake decorators both here in the Philippines and in other countries demanding that photos of their work be taken off certain sites who claimed their masterpieces. I still haven’t experienced this personally, but I think I know how it feels. If it happened to me, I would be furious that somebody would take credit for my cake, when it was me who spent hours, days, weeks, and perhaps many sleepless nights planning, baking, and decorating it.

Maybe like me, you still haven’t experienced this yet, but why wait for that time to come? There will always be some lazy but enterprising soul who’ll grab pictures over the Internet to build his cake portfolio and present it to his clients as his own. So what should we do to protect our cake pictures?

The easiest solution would be to place watermarks. I am not sure what software to use when you take photos using a DSLR camera, but if you’re an iPhone user like me, photo editing apps will provide you a quick solution. (Using a professional camera would yield better pictures, but a DSLR camera takes time to set up and I am no photography pro. When you’re in a rush to take photos between finishing your cake and making a delivery, the iPhone, or any camera phone, is the best option.) I use Moldiv to edit my photos and to place a watermark, usually at the bottom corner. I use the font “Jenna Sue” for my watermark, and I play around with the font colors and shading to ensure that the watermark pops out from the picture. (I just realized that I still haven’t changed my watermark from “www.facebook.com/pinkplate” to “www.pinkplatemealsandcakes.com”. I will be doing that moving forward.)

customized buttercream cake
Watermark on the lower right hand color of the picture
nutella choco chip butterscotch cookies
You can change the colors and shadows of the font to make the watermark pop out from the rest of the picture.
 

However, there are Photoshop geniuses out there who can remove watermarks and replace them with something else. So what’s another thing you can do? Here’s a suggestion: why not put your logo in the background?

dumaguete cakeshop logo
My logo and the pink polka dots pattern on one of the walls in my store
cakeshop wall art
Progress pictures of my store’s wall and me taking a selfie when it was finally done. All pictures are from my other Instagram account.
 

Then, take a picture of your cakes in front of it.

customize duck cake in dumaguete
Duck family cake

fondant lalaloopsy cake
Lalaloopsy cake
customized owl cake
Pink and teal owl cake

I originally did not intend for this wall to be the backdrop of my cakes. I had wanted it simply as a wall decor. However, I realized that placing the store logo behind the cake would make photos more difficult to edit. 

You might think that my backdrop takes the focus away from the cake. Yes, I must agree especially if the cake has shades of pink similar to the color that I used on my wall, but I try to remedy that by adjusting the focus on the cake and making it sharper than the background. I think that my method serves the purpose of ensuring that nobody steals photos of my cake.  Imagine all the work one has to do to remove my logo from my photos. You have to be very thorough to cut out the cake from the picture, making sure that all the pink polka dots lurking behind the cake are removed as well. Plus, those distinctive pink polka dots immediately give my photographs their basic identity: that whatever is in the photo was made by Pink Plate Meals and Cakes. I’ve been taking photos of my cakes this way for more than two years now.

minnie mouse cake
This cake uses shades of pink almost similar to that on my wall, but the cake still manages to pop out from the page.

If you can’t have an entire wall painted with your logo on, start with a simple backdrop. This is how this idea started.

minnie mouse cake
This was taken in 2013, way before I had the logo painted on my wall. The store was still a few days old then. I also still hadn’t thought about watermarking my photos at the time.

This may not work for everyone, but it is something that works well for me. 👍 Let me know what you think! 😀

luggage wedding cake

The importance of having a cake contract

The importance of having a cake contract

If I were a customer, I would see a detailed cake contract as indication that I am dealing with a professional and serious cake decorator who will make sure that he creates high-quality cakes and expects to be paid for it.