Thursday, November 25, 2010

The week of cupcakes, using someone elses cake designs and sick kids in a busy week of cakes, urrrgghhh!

Running Planet Cake is always filled with excitement, people and beautiful cakes which I thrive on, but at times it can also be a challenge just getting everything done. I had one of those weeks this week with my daughter Estelle (see above)sick with tonsillitis, my partner in the middle of his exams and Planet Cake just being Planet Cake. I must admit the closest the family has come to a home cooked meal this week is a BBQ chicken for dinner! I often allow myself to have a pity party at least once in a week like this (I am not a saint) and think about a parents lot, when you have to make a decisions like should I shave my legs or read a bedtime story? I only have time for one or the other!

This week it is with great sadness that I said goodbye to Juncheng our Student Liaison Officer. It will be very hard to fill Juncheng’s shoes but until we find a replacement I am happy to answer your queries!

(this post has been expanded and edited due to some great feedback from a reader)

This week we have been running our Intermeadiate Intensive week long workshop at Planet Cake and I have been asked by a number of students the same question so I thought I would answer it here for anyone else that is wondering.

Can we copy Planet Cake's designs?
The short answer is YES you can, for me there is no issue with copying our designs regardless of the source as long as Planet Cake is credited either with being the inspiration or the source of your design. You might be aware that I actually credited fellow cake decorator Hello Naomi for inspiring one of the designs in the book. I also asked her permission which she was happy to give. I think at the end of the day its about manners!

What if a decorator uses my cake design or photos and claims it as their own?


Rihanna’s cake below was designed by Antony Bullimore at Planet Cake, the team at Planet Cake made it and Rihanna cut it. But Adam has made a copy (it happens to be our copy), all that is changed is the name on the side of the cake.

Can we defend our rights to the cake design? No, because legally the cake design is not registered as a design. We don’t own the rights to the zebra print, the exploding stars is a common cake design, and as for the bling this will change with every cake anyway.

So what do we do with our feelings?
Despite all the facts and people saying "its a compliment" you do feel morally and ethically outraged!! Come up with your own ideas!! Despite how childish this is I think most designers feel upset, designs are very personal.

How do I respond? I Let it go……. If you try and defend yourself you will sound like a raving lunatic (I have been there). The only satisfying act that I do enjoy is if the opportunity arises (for example if a client brings a copy of your cake) show or email the original cake against the copy. The difference is almost always obvious, and at the end of the day everyone respects an innovator not an imitator.

I would never recommend making the issue public. Please remember to take the higher ground, maaking posts on your blogs and facebook about design theft guess what? Makes you look like a raving lunatic. its not fair, but at the end of the day our reputation and character is more important than a cake design, think of how April Reed must feel? I think half the cake decorators in the world have magpied her designs.

The only exception to this rule for me is when a competitor starts to imitate or replicate business identity (logo website etc) or intellectual property such as pricing etc. I had a very good friend come to me in the industry and this is currently happening to her after spending 5 years building a strong brand in the market. This form of theft in my opinion is serious and is obviously a threat to someones livelihood; I do recommend registering your logo and other important identity related designs with IP Australia.

I was delighted to host a morning tea today for a wonderful group of women, the idea being to throw around some ideas and talk about cake decorating and running cake decorating businesses. The same old topics got a good thrashing but we never tire of pricing, clients and the dreaded council. Thank you ladies for coming and sharing your stories.

This week has been chocker and I have been excited catching up with our wonderful teachers and facilitators. The results have been spectacular, the teachers and students have all had a fantastic time.

MELBOURNE - Adam Cremona – Novelty 101, Basics 101, Basics 103
SYDNEY - Linda Harden – Intermediate Intensive. Basics 104 (three tier round)
SYDNEY - Anna Maria – Intermediate Intensive. Basics 106 (springtime)

Photos: Anna Maria, Linda, Betty, Adam

I am not sure if many of you have met Betty, but she is my right hand woman, not only that she can decorate a cake although she swears she cannot, for evidence of lying see the Lipstick, but she is a great organizer. This week Betty has been assessing the applications for our Opera House Cake project (it is not to late to apply), winning applicants will be announced on the 1.12.10.

It was very exciting for students to have Margie Carter come and judge their cupcakes at the end of a Masterchef style cupcake competition. Margie was the biggest contributor to Planet Cake Cupcakes book and provided all of the illustrations. Margie had a ball as the students had made their cupcakes even more gruesome than we ever intended. Working with someone like Margie is an honor as her talent is unsurpassed. It was a unique opportunity for students to meet her.

Have a beautiful and Zen week of cake decorating and remember to be playful don’t ever loose your sense of humour; there is no point arguing with your cake!


  1. Thanks for the motivational speech! Love you guys.
    One comment though: if someone would copy one of my designs, I would be proud having designed a cake that is so beautiful that others want to make it too.
    I copy cakes (and it is very hard!), but I always mention my source of inspiration if I can.
    However, it is a different matter if someone just take the original photo and passes it off as their own work. That is plain stealing and there is a lot of that going on around the internet as well.


  2. Very true and I should have mentioned it goes without saying that most of planet cakes designs are copied and it never phases me if we are acknowledged which most people do. I particularly like it when people improve the cake! So yes I should have mentioned accrediting. Good feedback!