Photo Cakes The art of Cakes with Amanda

Celebrate someone or embarrass someone. We have that power. With our photo printing system we can add a special touch to anyone’s cake. I’ve added pictures of adorable babies and toothless elementary students from the 1950’s to cakes. Vintage wedding photos look amazing when bordered with roses on an anniversary cake. Have a picture of your best friend from the 80’s in their acid washed jeans and crimped hair? Let’s put it on their cake!

I’d like to give you some tips on the do and don’ts of getting one of these fun cakes.

First, how does work? Well, the most important thing you should know is we won’t be harming your photo. It’s all digital as far as resizing and making things edible. All your decorator needs is either a physical print of the photo you want or a digital copy. Our machines have CD drives, USB ports and slots for memory cards.

Things to know about choosing digital photo files for your cake. Our machine only recognizes jpg format. So, if you spend time making your own fun photo collage with borders and writing, please remember to save it as a jpg so our machine can read it. There are ways we could force it to work, but remember, not all of us decorators are technology wizards. We are frosting wizards! You can also make this process a little smoother by bringing in only the photo files you’d like us to use. My machine won’t keep the photos neatly organized into folders like you see on your computer. I’ll have to look through thumbnails of all 227 photo of your family vacation to find that one funny picture of your mom hulu dancing. If you can’t make it into the store or your picture is hanging out on your cellphone you can also ask your bakery for their email address and send the photo to them via email attachment. This is a great option for phone orders.

If you have a paper photo you would like used we have a scanner on our photo machines. Sometimes people bring me in items for scanning that have been folded in half, they have scratches or discoloration. I don’t have a photo program to fix these flaws. The scanner will pick these up and you will see them in the print. I can’t adjust color or do any touchups to old photos as much as I’d like to do minor adjustments. Also, I wouldn’t recommend printing off the photo at home on computer paper and bringing that in. These typically end up with small lines running through them, a quality issue on the cake. If the photo is on your computer it would be best to get us the digital copy to use, the final print on the cake will look much better. Remember, we are printing on edible paper with edible ink and then letting the image melt into the frosting. The better the starter image the better the final result. Long story short, when we scan your photo, the scan is as good as the image we start with.

Once we have your photo on our screen we can resize, crop the photo, add words, or frame it with a variety of digital options. After we’ve gotten the picture to our liking we just hit the print button. We can print on sheets of paper approximately the size of traditional computer paper. I also use sheets with 3 inch circles or 2 inch circle from time to time. These are great for decorating cookies or even cupcakes.

After the printer rolls out my edible image it’s time to get the scissors and trim it up. From here we apply the photo to fresh frosting. After a few hours the image will meld into the frosting becoming less paper like and more like a screen printed image that is part of the cake. From here we can decorate, decorate, decorate! If you see a design in your bakery, let’s say a graduation cake, that doesn’t have a picture, the decorator can usually rework the design to fit in your picture. So, if you have a picture you really want to use, bring it into the store. We can work it in to existing designs or even better, design a whole cake around your unique photo.

One last thing I should mention is the main limitation of our photo printing. While we love making your photos in to cake decorations or using one of our hundreds of photo cake character designs, we can’t go too nuts as far as making copies go. We aren’t allowed to scan your invites or paper plates with your favorite character on it, just like we can’t grab images from online or free hand draw or sculpt them. I know sometimes the little ones get their heart set on a very specific image for their birthday cake, but copy write laws just don’t allow for us to do some things. But our creative cake designers would love to talk about the many, many, other options we can provide for cake happiness.

Coborn’s Cake Decorator
Sartell, MN – Pine Cone Road

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Confectionery Calligraphy Cake Writing

Confectionery Calligraphy - Cake Writing The art of Cakes with Amanda

You’ve spent the last hour decorating your perfect cake. The theme is expertly reflected. Maybe it’s robot dinosaurs. Perhaps it’s a sophisticated retirement cake with a hand painted lake scene. Now for the inscription. What are you going to do? Use your normal cursive? Yeah. That’s alright. It’s nice and it’s readable. But what if you continued your theme into the words? What if you made your inscription part of the decorations versus something you snuck in at the end? Continue reading “Confectionery Calligraphy Cake Writing”

Top Trends & Ideas for 2016 Wedding Cakes

Top Trends & Ideas for 2016 Wedding Cakes The art of Cakes with Amanda

What’s that I hear? The ringing in the distance. It’s wedding bells! As spring emerges it’s the time of the year when decorators start thinking about weddings. While June is a classic month to say “I do” we will be kept busy all the way through October designing and building wedding cakes. Not surprising we see plenty of Pinterest pages at work, everything from wedding cakes to first birthday cakes. Continue reading “Top Trends & Ideas for 2016 Wedding Cakes”

How to Ice a Cake with Roll Fondant

How to Ice a Cake with Roll Fondant The art of Cakes with Amanda

Time to get fancy! Let’s talk fondant. Get out your rolling pin and nonstick mat and prepare those arm muscles for a little work out. I’ve included a little video to see the process but let’s also discuss the process from supplies to cake.

First thing you’ll need, a few special supplies. A cake, lightly iced. When you put the fondant on top it can get a bit too squishy and create a mess if your frosting is too thick. I’m going to be covering an 8” round, double layered, cake. I used 1 lb. of fondant to cover my cake but you could use a little more to give yourself a little wiggle room when covering. You should also have a fondant smoothing tool, a paddle like looking device, and a nonstick silpat mat for rolling on. Most important you need a rolling pin. I like a big heavy rolling pin for the job. You’ll also need to sprinkle powdered sugar, I like to use a shaker for this, but you could do it by hand too. I also like to use a pizza cutter for trimming my cake. It will roll smoothly around the cake. I don’t use a knife, those I keep far away from the silpat mat. Any knicks or cuts you leave behind when using a blade will show up forever after when you roll out fondant.

Ok, now to get rolling. If you want to color your fondant go ahead and do that first, then cover it up to keep it from getting crusty. Next I base ice my cake and then keep it close as I go back to start on the fondant again.

Knead your fondant, a lot. Keep kneading until it feels silky and smooth. Your hands should warm it up and make it pliable. The more you knead it the better your fondant covering experience will go. If your fondant feels dry and stiff, keep kneading. There should be a little stretch. Once it’s warmed up you can start rolling it out.

SuppliesDust your mat with powdered sugar and place your flattened ball of fondant in the center of the mat. I usually squish it out a little into the shape I want, a circle or a square. Dust the top a little with powdered sugar then start rolling. Keep rolling and rolling. Work the fondant into the shape you want. Rotate your pin, rotate the fondant. If it gets too oval or rectangular don’t be afraid to stretch back into the shape you want with your hands. Covering your cake will be easier if you can keep your fondant in a shape relatively similar to your cake. Keep checking the thickness. Give a little more muscle to the parts that are thicker. It can be tempting to use a thick a slab of fondant on your cake in the excitement of covering your cake, but be patient. A thick slab isn’t going to taste good and can squish your cake down creating slouching and puckering after an hour or so. Go thin. Shoot for about ¼” or less for a typical cake, but a little on the thicker side of that for a shaped cake to allow for stretching.

Now that you are at your desired thickness and size you are ready to cover. How big should it be? The height of your cake x 2, plus the width of the top. Then add a couple inches to allow for fidgeting and fussing.

You want to do the next steps in one, uninterrupted step. Don’t answer the phone, don’t stop for a snack. The fondant is already drying and getting a skin and if you walk away it will wrinkle and tear when you try to do anything with it, then you get to start all over.

Move your iced cake over next to your fondant slab. There are many way and tricks to picking up fondant. I don’t use them. I just pick it up like a pizzeria guy. Do it quick, yet gentle, and keep the fondant moving and you shouldn’t get any tears. If you stand around thinking with it draped over your fingers, yes, it will get deformed, but why are you just standing there? Place your fondant over the cake. There should be a little moisture left in the frosting to make it stick. If you think you are going to take more than 15 minutes to roll out your fondant covering your cake wouldn’t be a bad idea.

Lay your fondant across the top, let the sides drape down. Use your hand to smooth out the fondant from the middle to the outside. Then use your smoothing tool to briskly rub the surface. Apply pressure, just enough to work out any air bubbles. Try to work from the middle to the outside to move out any bubbles. Work quickly; your sides are starting to firm up.

Now for the tricky part, the sides. You need to start smoothing the fondant to the frosting. Work in small areas, going in a circle around your cake. You Using Fondant Icingdon’t need to stick it all at once. Imagine there are horizontal lines on your cake, about an 1 or so apart, just work from the top imaginary ring down to the next. By the time you get to the bottom half you’ll need to gently tug and stretch at the fondant to avoid the folds and pleats. Keep moving, keep working at it, and keep being patient. Smooth as you go to avoid air bubbles.

Once you have your cake covered you can trim the excess off from around the bottom with your pizza cutter. Now pick up your smoother again and start rubbing all over. At this point you are trying to polish the fondant up. Rub out any ripples, move any air bubbles down and out. If you have any stubborn bubbles you can poke a small hole with a thin pin and let the air out. This will leave a hole, but sometimes it’s worth the trade off on stubborn bubbles.

Congratulations! You did it! You have a smooth fondant cake. Have fun dressing it up from this point. You can paint it, stick fondant to it, and quilt it. And don’t forget the important part, you can eat it.

Coborn’s Cake Decorator
Sartell, MN – Pine Cone Road

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Piñata Cake

Piñata Cake The art of Cakes with Amanda


Like a Piñata this cake is colorful and likes to make appearances at special occasions. Unlike a Piñata you don’t have to resort to getting out the sweet treats inside with sticks and a blindfold. The best part? Instead of a pile of paper and cardboard you get cake to eat along with your candy!

This cake is great for any candy lover or to reveal a special message. You could fill it with pink or blue candies to make an announcement at a baby shower. Maybe put a big candy ring inside to pop the question! Fill it with colorful candies and watch the kids at the party ooo and ahh when, “Surprise!”, their cake spills a rainbow of fun.
Any small candies will work to use, it works best to choose items with a  candy shell to prevent them from sticking to each other inside the cake. You could also do sprinkles, chocolate chips, maybe cookies pieces or even roly poly fruit like blueberries.
Check out this video for step by step instructions on creating your own Piñata Cake at home.

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