Beginners Cake Etiquette
We have all been one. A BEGINNER. We don't get to skip this stage, we all started as one, and some of us still are. When I first started out, everything was exciting, I wanted to create every awesome cake I came across, I started 'the file'. Yep, that computer folder which contains images of cakes you just like to look at, from around the internet. Mine is still going strong today!
But what I didn't know at the time is that I was probably annoying a lot of my peers because of UNWRITTEN RULES, common sense, etiquette, courtesy, whatever you want to call it, that I didn't know about. It was only when I joined cake groups, and cake forums that I realised a lot of my peers had bug-bears about certain things, and I quickly took it all on board and acted on it. But if you're a beginner and aren't in cake groups or forums how on earth would you know what the 'etiquette' is in the cake world? Are you annoying or alienating the rest of them? Let's see..
The biggest and most common bug-bear is probably the copied designs. We all do it right? We are all inspired by something, whether it's an invite, a card, wrapping paper, wallpaper...or...another cake, and it's NOT wrong to be. Some decorators don't mind being copied, but some hate it. Personally I have no problem with my designs being copied, but it really does come down to the way you do it! If you really want to create a copy of someone else's cake you can contact the original designer and ask for permission. Most of the time you will be granted permission and the jobs a good 'un. Top marks for this approach!
Personally I don't mind NOT being asked, but this will vary from person to person. Sure it will get you brownie points! But if someone copies my designs and leaves me credit underneath their image without messaging, I'm totally happy with that too :D
Can't find the original designer? Maybe try a Google images search; this has helped me out on a few occasions where watermarks have been cropped off! Just head to Google, click on the IMAGES tab and you are given the option to upload the cake image, or post a link of the cake image and it will search the internet for you. It may lead you to an endless sea of Pinterest images, but maybe it will also lead you to the original designer's web page. So what happens if you STILL can't find them? Easy, make sure that your followers know you were inspired by a cake maker who you can't track down. Chances are if it's popular on Pinterest SOMEONE will know who created it first and will let you know so you can credit correctly. I have on numerous occasions had to write 'Inspired by all the Toy Story cakes on Google' just because there's so many of them! So where does it all go wrong? Why does it become a bug-bear? It goes wrong when you copy a design and claim that it was you who designed it, or you fail to give credit. Ok, I know, two people can have the same idea from across the globe and not be aware of each other, but it's all about a little common sense - forget burger cakes, burgers look like burgers, trainers look like trainers... We are talking here about a STRAIGHT copy of an exact cake, down to the colours, placements and specific detail. An undeniable copy.
By Sam's pantry (CREDIT GIVEN) Thank-you!
NEVER EVER underestimate the eye of a cake decorator! If you have copied a design and claim it as your own chances are other cake decorators will have spotted it a mile away, and they are either going to put you right, or alert the designer. If you do your very best to give credit, you can't really go wrong! *high five*
Ooooo this one's a doozy!! So you're new, you don't have much of a portfolio but you have all these exciting cakes you want to create and copy, you grab a bunch of cake images online you really want to make and post them in your portfolio. STOP. Seriously. What you're really saying to your potential customers is 'I made all these cakes', they are going to order expecting an exact replica, but you've never made it before, how do you know you can pull it off to that standard? Will they be disappointed? Possibly. It's false advertising really. Even if the customer is happy, I can tell you the owner of the picture will not be..
Images from Cake Wrecks
What they asked for vs what they got
Mostly it's done completely innocently, you don't have a big portfolio but you want to make those Mother's Day cupcakes. You see it ALL. THE. TIME on local selling sites, a bunch of images of cupcakes straight from Google (Sometimes still complete with watermarks!) Yes you might not realise what you are doing is wrong, you're just showing people what YOU WANT TO MAKE, but what they are seeing and thinking, is that you have made these and they are going to get EXACT replicas. Please.....the easiest way to not get into trouble is not to steal other people's images, MAKE THE CAKES, take a photo of it, and use that instead. Build up a portfolio of your work to be proud of.
Again, it will be noticed and someone will get alerted to it. Nine times out of ten people have done it innocently and corrected themselves respectfully, but there's always that one....the delusional one who swears blind they have created the cake in the picture just because they were able to crop off the watermark. Don't ever be that one...LOL
ohhh, the comments section of the world wide web, how we adore it :D But seriously, majority of comments are utterly lovely to read. People have taken the time out of their day to let you know they like your stuff and it's awesome. But there are a few that are slightly irritating.
When someone posts their latest creation out on the internet - yes it's bound to be copied, that's just what happens, but what's not cool is: *tags a friend* I am going to copy this one for your birthday next week! Let's just get this straight, we have already covered the 'copying' part and we have established that most bakers don't mind at all. We are all inspired by each other! But if you are going to rip-off a brand new design that's only been uploaded for all of three minutes please don't tell the designer that you are, underneath their image...LOL.
Then there's that other corker of a comment: *tags friend* 'you could make it better!'
Manners. Some people have em, and some people don't. I am rather over-kill in that department. I will literally say thank you three to four times to a cashier when they take my money, give me my change, and again when they hand me the bag. I just like to use them, but not everyone is like that. However, it can go a long way you know?
'What cutter?' 'Recipe?'
How many times have you come across this self entitlement? We as a cake community do love to help and share! But maybe peers are more likely to help with JUST a little more nice-ness.
Maybe message a cake decorator and say 'I love the ruffle cake you created! Could you please tell me what cutter you used? it would be perfect for a cake I have planned! Thanks' Now isn't that just a little unicorns rainbow fart of a question! I'd much rather wake up to a message like that :D
Yep, all points seem like complete common sense don't they? Applied to EVERYWHERE and not just cakes.
If you used something non-edible on a cake and try to say that you handmade it, and it's edible, you are going to get called out in about a thousand cake groups and questioned like you're in front of a judge. Why even lie about it?
Yes some people can make HELLA realistic stuff (*cough* Debbie Goard) but she can prove it's edible - have you SEEEEEN the sugar salads that girl can make!? You can't just dump a whole plastic doll on a cake and say it's made from sugarpaste, you get me? These next three cakes are mine... the leaves are plastic (Plant), and the globe is glass (Labyrinth) and the lace is LACE (Simba). Can you imagine if I was adamant that they were made from sugarpaste or gelatin, or I had somehow managed to get hold of a super rare lace mat that no-one else could ever find? What would I achieve?
Check out my perfectly sphere giant gelatin bubble with no air bubbles, hand blown by the mouths of a thousand naked angels. Nah, just kidding, it's a glass ball from garden centre.
I really don't have to say much more here do I! Keep away from drama, keep drama off your page and don't get pulled in. It always ends badly.
So yeah, it may seem like a HUGE long post, but really there are only three points of etiquette - credit, photo theft and comments. And you know what? Maybe you already know about this and choose not to follow it? That's fine, it isn't the law, you aren't going to jail for not doing it you little rule-breaker-you! But it's just nice to. Doing these three simple things will just make cake making online a whole lot easier and stress-free for yourself. There are of course more small little cake rules, but I think these are the main ones.
I hope beginners find it helpful, how do you know you are doing something wrong if you aren't even aware of it?