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Using Other Cake Photos for Inspiration

Posted on March 1, 2014 at 9:20 AM

I have been asked why I request photos from clients when discussing their cake design.  A few weeks ago, a client submitted a photo and I thought I would take the opportunity to show you how we tweaked the design rather than just copying it to custom fit the honoree.

The party was to have a Duck Dynasty theme. They liked the cake with the black fondant background, but they don't care for the texture of fondant, and the design was too masculine.  We decided to go with buttercream as the base icing instead of fondant, and in a pretty shade of pink. The birds were in varying shades of sagey green, white, lavendar, and darker pinks to give the original design a more girly twist. The pink cake was also larger than the inpiration cake.  The cattails and the number 7 were made of yummy modeling chocolate.

So there you have it! A modified design to fit the needs of the client and party theme without violating the TV show's copyrights.

Lola, I hope your birthday was happy happy happy!

Note: Out of respect, we usually acknowledge the designers of the inspiration cakes. I have done searches for the original designer, and have only come across an etsy site that was selling the printables shown in the background. If anyone knows who made the original cake with the black fondant, please let me know so I can give them due credit. 

Can You Make This Cake?

Posted on June 29, 2012 at 2:00 PM

Sometimes I get a picture from a customer with the request, "Can you make this cake?" Now, don't get me wrong - I LOVE to use photgraphs when discussing cake design. I am a visual person, and photographs are the best way for me to understand what kind of effect or color or shape a customer want

But will I make THAT cake? The short answer is, "No. We can do something similar, but I don't duplicate cakes."

 Wow! That answer sounds really rude! Let's go on to the long answer so I can explain.

 First, cake, icing, and fondant are silly creatures. Being mainly sugar, they are easily affected by the weather. Humidity and temperature change how quickly things set up or melt down. Even with designs I've done before, the final product has never come out the same way twice. It may not be obvious to the casual observer, and it's not necessarily a bad thing, but believe me, it is different. Each time is a new adventure. That's just the nature of the beast and what keeps life interesting.

 Second, you're contacting me for a CUSTOM cake! Let's customize a cake for YOU! You're not a cookie-cutter version of someone else, so why would you want a cookie-cutter version of someone else's cake? You like how that bow sits on the side of one cake or love how the flowers drape down the sides of another? You love a particular icing border or piping design or the way the cakes are stacked? Great! We can take elements from different cakes and apply to it to your design, but let's not be copy cats and try to re-do the whole cake someone else had designed for them. You wouldn't like it if someone came later on and asked for an exact copy of the cake that was designed for you, now would you?

 Third, that cake was made by someone else with their own technique. My technique might be similiar, and I may have even taken a course on that artist's technique, but that doesn't mean the end result will be the same. The original artist may also have over 20 years experience, or have a degree in art, or was just born with an awesome God-given knack for a particular type of work. I'm learning and progressing, but let's face it: I will never ever be a Debbie Goard or Ron Ben-Israel or Ann Heap . You know what? No one else will ever be them, either. If you fall in love with a photo of a cake and you want yours to come out just like that, the only way that will happen is if you order a cake from the original designer. However, don't be surprised when you find out that it will cost $300-$700 for many high-end designers to just turn on their ovens for your cake. You know the saying: you only get what you pay for!

 What if you can't afford to spend $700 on a cake? Give up and order a sheetcake? No way! You just need to carefully shop around, being realistic about your expectations and your budget. Again, keep in mind - you get what you pay for.  You can still get a nice cake to fit into your budget. It may not be the cake in your original photograph that you thought you HAD to have, but it can have elements that you liked about it, and it will end up being a better reflection of you and your personality. No duplications, please! Let's make a cake as unique as you!

Now, If you send a photo of a cake to a cake decorator asking them to duplicate someone else's work (or even worse, asking "Can you do it cheaper?") and they agree to do it, be VERY careful. Red flags should be waving in your mind if someone tells you they can exactly duplicate a cake. The flags should be on fire if they are quoting you a bargain basement price. Look at their portfolio of previous work. Is their degree of detail or skill level shown acceptable to you and does it look like the decorator is capable of the work you've asked of them?  Does the photography look like it was done with the same camera or background each time, or does it vary severely? Does the caliber of work look about the same on each cake? Are there watermarks on the photos? Is it the same name as the decorator you may hire? Unfortunately, photo stealing and claiming as one's own work is not uncommon, especially among cake decorators that are trying to break into the market. They'll say that they are using the photos as examples of what "they COULD" do for clients. Could they, though? Make sure you are looking at photos of work they really did do.

Too many times people have fallen into the trap of promises of a duplicated cake only to be disappointed . How bad can it be, you ask? Cake Wrecks has a collection of examples so you can see for yourself!  

Wedding Whoopsies  and Bridal Tears

Links Page Up!

Posted on June 24, 2012 at 2:15 PM

Finally! The page of helpful links is up and running!


Some information is available to get quick answers to questions such as, "Do the kids get out of school early that Friday?" or "Crud! The party is next week & I don't have any decorations! Where can I order some supplies?"

Other links, well, make sure the kids are occupied, grab a cup of coffee, and get ready to surf! I enjoy following the blogs of party stylists, but can easily lose an hour while ooh-ing and ah-ing over their photos. Don't say I didn't warn you.


Click on the Helpful Links tab above or click here to get to the links page.

I'm sorta, kinda, almost a Cake Wrecks Celebrity! OK, I'm not, but a friend of mine is!

Posted on April 2, 2012 at 9:30 AM

I have shared posts before from the funny web site, Cake Wrecks. It is not intended to poke fun not at the parents and grandparents who lovingly make  home made cakes for their family. It is composed of images sent in by fans who  paid good money for someone to make a cake for them and it came out horribly, hilariously wrong. It is a cake decorator's worst fear to be highlighted on this web site.

Except....on Sunday Sweets! On Sunday, Cake Wrecks turns into a page where decorators like myself sigh in awe and joy, and wish that they can someday have half the talent that these people have in just their little finger. The works submitted for  Sunday Sweets always amaze me, as there is such a fantastic attention to detail. or the internal support structure involved seems to disprove the laws of physics.

I can't give you the link yet, or else you will get sucked into reading Cake Wrecks for the next 2 hours & you won't read my convoluted claim to fame.

This week's edition will be the closest I will ever come to being highlighted in Sunday Sweets. It is a very far, unrealistic stretch, and you have to use your imagination and the 6 degrees of separation  theory, but I'm claiming it, darn it. While fighting to legalize selling home made baked goods in Texas, I have had the opportunity to meet other cake decorators from all across the state. It has mostly been through Facebook correspondence, but you know how that works - you sometimes get to know them better than the person who lives across the street from you. My friend and fellow Texas Bakers Bill supporter Lise of Cake Doctor (she has a Ph. D., in addition to doing beautiful sugar work) has been highlighted in Sunday Sweets!   She did the pop-up book from the Wizard of Oz.. This is not her one- time-best-piece of work; she does terrific cakes like this all of the time. Make sure you check out her web site and follow her on Facebook so you can enjoy frequent pieces of eye cake from her. Or better yet, if you live in the Central Texas area, you could order a cake from her for yourself. 

Congratulations, Lise! I'm glad that you are getting the recognition that you deserve!  Click here to see her fabulous Wizard of Oz cake.  


Posted on November 23, 2011 at 12:40 AM
 I have been wanting to do a special kind of Thanksgiving cake for a couple of years. Not only did I finally get to do one, I got to do it more than once!
No, you're not seeing double, and I don't know how to photoshop.  I had TWO cooked Thanksgiving turkey cakes this week. The platters were 18" across, so they each had their own shelf to sit upon while they waited their turns with the buttercream, or fondant, or airbrush, or turkey frills.  Yes, that's what those little white paper booties are called. Thank goodness for google search so I could ask  "what are the little white paper booties on the turkey called and how do I make them?" If you want to make some for your own turkey, you can follow the easy instructions in this article.

One cake was also serving as a birthday cake. Here is how it
 looked once all finished:

....and here is the regular family gathering cake:

 Everything except for the turkey frills are edible.OK, I guess everything for a Thanksgiving dinner is edible - let me try this again - everything is hand made from some sort of sugar.  You still can't see the cute little veggies very well on the other pics, so let me give you a closer view:

Thanks for looking, and thanks for your orders, Jan and Annette!  I hope you and your families have a wonderful Thanksgiving! 

2011 Completely Booked!

Posted on October 12, 2011 at 9:50 AM

I did some follow-up emails yesterday, and their retainer checks are in the mail. That means that all spots for 2011 are now full!  If there are any cancellations that open a spot, I will post them.

Plans are tenatively being made for a one-time cookie order in December. Start looking at your calendars now & find out the dates of your holiday parties. The cookies are great for class parties, too! When plans and details are finalized for the cookie order, it will also be published here on the website and on Facebook.

One Day Celebration Sale!

Posted on August 30, 2011 at 10:00 AM

To lauch the official start date of DH Cakes and familiarize customers with the ordering process, DH Cakes is holding a Celebration Sale for 10% off of orders placed on September 1, 2011!

Here are the stipulations:

  • The online order form must be filled out on September 1, 2011
  • The retainer fee must be received by September 8, 2011
  • Discount applies to the baked goods only. Delivery charges, extra packaging, and rental fees are excluded
  • Discount applies to 2011 dates only.
You do not have to know your party theme or color scheme at this time to lock in your date, we can iron out those details or change your flavor choice as you event date draws nearer. However, I will neeed to know what kind of treats you want and what price level you desire so that I can give you an accurate quote.

The following weeks are already booked and not available:
10/22, 11/26, 12/10, 12/24, 12/31
September 2011 is now completely booked!


2011 Bridal Expo and David Tutera

Posted on August 13, 2011 at 8:20 AM

The 2011 Bridal Expo is next weekend. It will be held from noon to 5 on Sunday, August 21, at the Victoria Community Center Dome.  Nationally known wedding planner David Tutera will be the guest speaker. For more information, here is the article from the Victoria Advocate.


Among others,  Kolar Photography will be there, and she is starting up her Future Trophy Wives Contest again. She reports on her FB page the rules to the contest, and it looks like wearing a F.T.W. t-shirt to the Bridal Expo could make you eligible to win a prize.  Look for her page on Facebook to get all of the rules and details, as a limited number of t-shirts were available for the contest. 


These expos are always fun and informative, even if you are not a bride. Several ideas can be applied to other types of parties, and this is an opportunity to find out what vendors and venues are available in our area. I remember spending time with my mom going to these things as a teenager. It was fun to dream and start planning, even though my march down the aisle was many, many, MANY years away! 

Check Your Calendars

Posted on August 1, 2011 at 8:45 AM

September 1 is almost here!

I have a plan brewing in my mind to celebrate the day.

Here's a hint:

Start looking at your calendars, and think about what events in your life are coming up in 2011.


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