Cake design is so specialized, it’s hard to know what kind of gift a cake artist might want. Last year was my first Great Gifts for Cake Designers post, and there are still plenty of things on that list that I recommend (and, ahem, want). This year I asked for input from the cake community on facebook, and got some fabulous responses. I tried to keep the list pretty general and stick to things almost any cake designer would want, but a few of my personal favorites might have snuck in (specifically #4, if you’re reading this Cory). Here is my 2013 list.
1. Amazon Prime Membership. The best $79 dollars I ever spent. A one year membership gets you free two-day shipping on anything Prime-eligible, plus lots of other great benefits. I order lots of supplies for the shop through Amazon, and also use it to send gifts to friends and family. If you’re lucky enough to live in L.A. or New York, you might not need it, but if you live outside a major metropolitan area, it’s an investment that will pay for itself many times over.
2. Marvelous Molds. I was introduced to Marvelous Molds by Cake Central when I was asked to participate in their Marvelous Molds contest. Somewhere between stencils, appliques, and 3-D molds, Marvelous Molds are “silicone onlays” that eliminate the need to hand cut many pattern designs and decrease a lot of the guesswork. The designs are great, they’re easy to use, and the prices are reasonable. We sure could have used their chevron cutter in the Summer 2012, and we made the square pattern on the cake below using their checkerboard onlay.
3. Gateaux Silk Screens. I’ve had Gateaux Inc. on my radar for a while. Their designs are unique, and their approach is innovative and fresh. I’m pretty particular about lace (you can read more about that here), and I love all their lace designs. I’m not exactly sure what the difference between a screen and a stencil is, but the process seems similar (I watched their YouTube video) and the results are spectacular. Check out some of their cakes, like the one below, and you’ll know why I want one.
4. Cricut Cake Cutter. I know some professionals who frown on Cricuts in favor of hand cut designs, but if using a machine yields a result that looks good (maybe, dare I say, better?) and is easier and faster, why not? I’m pretty sure these are the same people who think all cakes should be leveled using a serrated edge knife when a quality cake leveler does just as good a job and saves time. Anyway, I don’t have one but this has been on my list for years.
5. Pasta Attachment for the KitchenAid. Smooth and even fondant for ribbons or ruffles, perfectly thin gumpaste for petals or leaves, the attachment takes the hard work out of rolling and saves product (and therefore money) by rolling extra thin. A must-have for frills and a time saver for flowers. Oh, and it makes pasta too!
6. Aprons. My friend Erin of Wild Orchid Baking suggested these Ultimate Cross Strap Aprons, and I added them to my list immediately. If you bake or cook, you know that your new “good” apron quickly becomes your old stained one, and you always need more. According to Erin, the back is what makes these apron so awesome. She says: “It’s a cross strap back, which is great for me because I hate the apron strap around my neck. It’s SUPER comfortable. They’re cute and a nice weight. The other great thing about the apron is that you can adjust where the bib of the apron hits your chest. I like to where mine high for some reason, so with traditional aprons I would end up knotting the neck strap to bring up the bib.” Quite an endorsement, and at $29.95 they make a nice gift.
7. Photo backdrops. People always ask me if it breaks my heart to see my cakes get eaten, but creating edible art means that it is intended to be only temporary. What does kill me, however, is not having a good photo. A cute backdrop can make all the difference. Ink and Elm has my favorite backdrops, but they can be a little pricey. Bubblegum Backdrops has cute ones starting at $20, and they have gift cards too.
Thanks to all my facebook friends for their input! Hope you enjoyed this year’s list.