newbe86 Posted 2 Jul 2013 , 3:09pm
post #1 of

I have a co-worker whose daughter is turning two in August and she has asked me to make an Elmo cake. She needs to serve approximately 60 people. I found the full body Elmo cake pan and discussed that that pan would not feed 60 people. I am going to make a sheet cake on the side for her to serve the rest of the guests. Both cakes are going to look “furry” like Elmo, layered with strawberry buttercream icing. The Elmo cake pan is not much bigger than a 9x13 pan. Any suggestions on how large the sheet cake should be? Do I need to use dowels or will it stay put if it is level?

 

**I am not charging for the Elmo cake, just the sheet cake**

64 replies
Rosie93095 Posted 2 Jul 2013 , 3:38pm
post #2 of

You can get an 11x15 pan from Wilton at Michaels or Joanns. I would put at least 2 dowels in to hold the Elmo from sliding while you transport. With the 2 tiers, this should feed 60 easily.

ellavanilla Posted 2 Jul 2013 , 5:32pm
post #3 of

i would skip the special Elmo pan. It doesnt give you anything that a printed image won't. I would make two 9x13 cakes and put them together (trim so that the ends match up), crumb coat and outline your image with a toothpick , then decorate with the same technique. If you can't eyeball the inner lines, just cut the image apart or poke thru the paper with your pick. 

 

this is how i did all my son's birthday cakes. before I turned pro. 

Lynne3 Posted 2 Jul 2013 , 6:46pm
post #4 of

I would use an 11 x 15 sheet cake and place the elmo cake on it (like a tier)  I think it would give a cohesive look.

newbe86 Posted 2 Jul 2013 , 6:51pm
post #5 of
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lynne3 

I would use an 11 x 15 sheet cake and place the elmo cake on it (like a tier)  I think it would give a cohesive look.

That is really cute!! Thank you for the idea. My biggest concern is making sure I have enough to serve 60 people and the cake doesn't fall apart on my way there. I will not be cutting the cake for her, should I give her a paper with how big each piece should be? I'm kind of in shock how quickly this all came about.... Can you tell?! icon_surprised.gif

Lynne3 Posted 2 Jul 2013 , 7:05pm
post #6 of

If you place the elmo cake on the sheet cake, stack it like you would any tiered cake.  

Dowels in bottom sheet, and elmo on a cake board that rests on the bottom dowels.  

Make sure to put icing on the underside of the Elmo cake to help adhere it to the board.

 

Refrigerate well and transport very cold.

You can get a sheet cake box that holds in the coolness.

jason_kraft Posted 2 Jul 2013 , 7:42pm
post #7 of

ADon't forget to get written permission from Sesame Workshop to use Elmo's likeness for commercial purposes, otherwise you'll have to stick to licensed toppers.

newbe86 Posted 2 Jul 2013 , 8:28pm
post #8 of
Quote:
Originally Posted by jason_kraft 

Don't forget to get written permission from Sesame Workshop to use Elmo's likeness for commercial purposes, otherwise you'll have to stick to licensed toppers.

This was another concern. Which is why I was going to do the two cakes seperately. Give her the Elmo cake and only charge for the sheet cake. I also don't have a formal business, I am not leaving my name or any business name with the cake. Does that make a difference?

jason_kraft Posted 2 Jul 2013 , 9:05pm
post #9 of

A

Original message sent by newbe86

This was another concern. Which is why I was going to do the two cakes seperately. Give her the Elmo cake and only charge for the sheet cake. I also don't have a formal business, I am not leaving my name or any business name with the cake. Does that make a difference?

To avoid copyright infringement you still need permission to reproduce a copyrighted character, regardless of whether or not you charge for it. The fact that you are aware of this issue and are trying to circumvent it by giving the Elmo cake for "free" (would the Elmo cake still be free if the customer decided they didn't need the sheet cake?) is actually worse because it demonstrates malicious intent instead of just ignorance of the law.

Dayti Posted 2 Jul 2013 , 9:24pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by jason_kraft 


To avoid copyright infringement you still need permission to reproduce a copyrighted character, regardless of whether or not you charge for it. 

I thought you would only get into trouble if you charge for it/benefit from it another way? If she buys the Elmo pan, bakes the cake, and gives the cake away, she'll still be infringing? Why do they even make character pans then if you then have to write and ask if you can use it?

jason_kraft Posted 2 Jul 2013 , 9:32pm

A

Original message sent by Dayti

I thought you would only get into trouble if you charge for it/benefit from it another way? If she buys the Elmo pan, bakes the cake, and gives the cake away, she'll still be infringing? Why do they even make character pans then if you then have to write and ask if you can use it?

Character cake pans are typically for personal use only, which means you can bake a cake for yourself or your family, bring it to a friend's party, etc. You cannot sell the cake.

If OP was bringing the cake to the co-worker's party as a friend and not charging her for the sheet cake it might be more defensible, but this is obviously a commercial transaction despite the OP's attempt to hide that fact.

hbquikcomjamesl Posted 2 Jul 2013 , 9:33pm

But it could be argued that giving away the Elmo cake, while charging for the sheet cake on the same order, amounts to splitting hairs, and that if one didn't "give away" the Elmo cake, one would not be able to charge as much for a sheet cake on the same order.

jason_kraft Posted 2 Jul 2013 , 9:38pm

A

Original message sent by hbquikcomjamesl

But it could be argued that giving away the Elmo cake, while charging for the sheet cake on the same order, amounts to splitting hairs, and that if one didn't "give away" the Elmo cake, one would not be able to charge as much for a sheet cake on the same order.

Bingo. Unlike in Hollywood, using a clever scheme when breaking the law tends to make things worse. It's like trying to get around health dept laws that regulate the commercial sale of food by selling a simple cake stand for $500 that happens to include a free 4-tier wedding cake.

hbquikcomjamesl Posted 2 Jul 2013 , 9:57pm

Playing at being above the law is an expensive game. Unless you're a multi-national corporation that has either the money to hire armies of lawyers, or the power to bring national governments to their knees, you can't afford it.

newbe86 Posted 2 Jul 2013 , 10:39pm

AOk, I'm not intending to break any laws, so after your advice Jason, I told my co-worker I will be doing both cakes free of charge. She is very tight on money anyway and this certainly helps her. I am also not attaching my name or any business name to either cake. I need the practice with both design and the volume of baking/decorating. I did not realize how strict the laws are and seeing as I actually work for a court, I don't need to break any. So rather than this being my first business order, I am simply baking cakes for my co-worker.

AZCouture Posted 2 Jul 2013 , 10:52pm

For future reference though, clients that are very tight on money should be referred to a grocery store or somewhere else. There's no reason for a hard working custom decorator to cater to extremely low budgets.

DeliciousDesserts Posted 2 Jul 2013 , 11:14pm

AStill feels good to get the first willing order!

hbquikcomjamesl Posted 2 Jul 2013 , 11:52pm

Uh, "AZCouture," my understanding is that "newbe86" is, at least for the moment, no more a professional cake decorator than I am: I'm a programmer who bakes and decorates a few cakes a year for friends and family (the closest I've gotten to being professional with baked goods was accepting reimbursement, and in one case an unsolicited tip, for the fruits of the wood type cookie project), and "newbe86" "actually work[s] for a court" (and presumably makes a decent living doing so), and is preparing to go semiprofessional with cake decorating.

 

Nothing wrong with doing a freebie for a friend. If my best friend (a videographer specializing in figure skating) is in genuine and severe financial trouble, or if I feel I haven't performed up to the standards I set for myself, or have somehow eroded his reputation for quality, I will steadfastly refuse all compensation, no matter how much I may have worked my butt off. And likewise, I spend most of my Saturdays docenting at the International Printing Museum, frequently working my butt off and donating materials, with no compensation other than fellowship with other graphic arts geeks, and unfettered access (so long as it's not on a for-profit basis) to printing equipment.

AZCouture Posted 3 Jul 2013 , 12:05am

AUh, hb, I'm giving her good advice, and I think it's perfectly clear as written 'for future reference'. To me, the words real order mean someone wants to get serious. I stand by my advice.

bct806 Posted 3 Jul 2013 , 2:47am
Quote:
Originally Posted by AZCouture 

Uh, hb, I'm giving her good advice, and I think it's perfectly clear as written 'for future reference'. To me, the words real order mean someone wants to get serious. I stand by my advice.

I see what he was saying. If it is for a friend, exceptions and deals are made. The friend was willing to pay. No need to send her to the grocery store, especially when this girl is just starting and just wants the experience.

SweetRyanBaker Posted 4 Jul 2013 , 12:52am

ADon't let people scare you :) you didn't know but no you do. I never use the shaped cake pans. I feel like its cheating. I do everything homemade even my icing. You can recreate Elmo very easily with a Wilton grass tip for fur. I did a furry red monster cupcake cake for my cousin last weekend. Elmo has simple shape and lines. Whatever you do, do your best. And don't take the easy way out :)[IMG]http://cakecentral.com/content/type/61/id/3048109/width/200/height/400[/IMG]

SweetRyanBaker Posted 4 Jul 2013 , 12:54am

AOh and also I found out through experience that when you first start out, it's a good idea to do some free things. It gives you experience and it gets your name out there :)

hbquikcomjamesl Posted 4 Jul 2013 , 2:08am

Just like it's cheating to use edible printing to put something on a cake that's way beyond your skills with a piping bag? Or use somebody else's mass-produced royal/gumpaste/fondant flowers, or a DecoPac kit?


To be honest, when I went out and photographed the roses in the back yard, GIMP'd them, and had a sheet of edible printing made, it was cheating, just as it was cheating for me to hand-pipe a picture of a rose onto a previous cake for my mother, but I honestly don't have the time or the energy to learn how to pipe roses, and the dense, hand-mixed, non-whipped BC I use has a tendency to slump anyway. But I'll do anything, within the bounds of what's food-safe, and what's within my budget, to get as close to the cake I have in my head as possible.

SweetRyanBaker Posted 4 Jul 2013 , 3:20am

AYes I do believe it is. I do not use any of them things. I feel like if someone is getting me to make them a homemade cake that I should give them a homemade cake. If they wanted massed produced cakes they can go to Walmart. I'm not knocking the people do but it is my opinion that if you don't know how to do something that you need to do whatever you can to learn how to do it. You can not call yourself a "baker" or a "cake decorator" if you take cheap shortcuts. If I don't know how to do something than I tell the person that I don't know how to do that yet but I can give you another option. That is better than going to Walmart and buying a pack of pre made fondant or using a boxed cake mix. You should always give people your best.

jason_kraft Posted 4 Jul 2013 , 3:29am

A

Original message sent by SweetRyanBaker

Yes I do believe it is. I do not use any of them things. I feel like if someone is getting me to make them a homemade cake that I should give them a homemade cake. If they wanted massed produced cakes they can go to Walmart.

How is using a shaped cake pan or edible image as a shortcut for individual custom orders equivalent to mass-produced Walmart cakes?

As long as you meet the customer's requirements, the production methods involved in creating the product are irrelevant.

SweetRyanBaker Posted 4 Jul 2013 , 3:33am

AI'm not saying everyone else has to feel the same way I do. I'm saying that's the way I feel. It's my opinion. I pride myself in know that I do everything homemade.

SweetRyanBaker Posted 4 Jul 2013 , 3:35am

AThat's why I said "in my opinion" I believe that if you work hard enough you can have the skills to do all those things.

newbe86 Posted 4 Jul 2013 , 3:36am

A

Original message sent by SweetRyanBaker

Don't let people scare you :) you didn't know but no you do. I never use the shaped cake pans. I feel like its cheating. I do everything homemade even my icing. You can recreate Elmo very easily with a Wilton grass tip for fur. I did a furry red monster cupcake cake for my cousin last weekend. Elmo has simple shape and lines. Whatever you do, do your best. And don't take the easy way out :)[IMG]http://cakecentral.com/content/type/61/id/3048109/width/200/height/400[/IMG]

Thank you. I've got 6 weeks until the party. I'm sure I can make a pretty good Elmo, practice is certainly in order and I've watched tutorials using the 233 tip, it looks like something I can do. Thank you for your help and advice... Looks like a weekend with a bag, tip and homemade bc is in order.

SweetRyanBaker Posted 4 Jul 2013 , 3:42am

AJust make sure you get the large grass tip and not the small one or it will take you forever. And honestly this took me 30 minutes. The fur goes really fast. It's deff more fun than hard work :) another thing, use ameri color red food coloring its the best way to get red. Any Wilton reds will never be a true bright red. Good luck :)

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