Cake Decorating Community - Cakes We Bake

I have a question about cake ideas.... If you or a customer, searches the internet, and you find a cake that they or you like and you try to replicated the cake, sometimes exactly, sometimes with your own spin on it.....Is that stealing? or should you use it for a contest or a show?  Making money off of it?  Was just thinking about that....want ya'll thoughts on this one.

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I think that we are here to inspire eachother, and if someone were to someday think enough of me to replicate one of my creations, I'd be flattered. 


As far as contests or shows, I don't know that I would enter a cake design that wasn't mine, just off of principle, but if someone is determined to do just that - then there needs to be a way to credit the original artist, which could very well drive business to them.  :O)

I agree with Holly F.    We have all been inspired by photographs of others work but for a competition I think it should be original.
I think that there is no real basis as to which is already copying and what is not. Though I try to stay away from those designs that uses the image of the brand directly.  I have not gotten that big of a deal yet that let the client make use of the design of some brand.

As cake designers, I think they are here to inspire others designs.  For me at least, I would proud if one of my original designs would inspire other cake designs.
I've been to the fairs and ALWAYS see cakes that I see on the net and in magazines.  Is it illegal?  Not at all.  Morals don't have any bearing on legal.

Copying another artists work is called plagiarism.  You have to do what you feel comfortable with. I will take inspiration from cakes I've seen but i wont usually copy it; Most cases I can't because cake decorating is very subjective stylistically.


I also find it a little insulting when a customer asks me to do that, it's like they're saying my own ideas aren't good enough for them.

Well, I guess if you find something on the internet, it could be from someone in another country for all you know.  The cake I have up right now, some one sent me the picture and asked to make that cake.  I am proud of it not for the design, but for the technique, it was the first cake I completely covered in fondant and think I did a pretty good job of it.  Right now I have another cake that some one saw online and wants the basic design of the cake, but not all the elements on it. 


I guess there are pros and cons to this.... Some feel proud and some feel insulted.  I think I look at it as I can do that, more then I designed it.  I can make that bow, make a vulcano, or sculpt those animals.  I can make that, sure... But I certainly think having pictures and ideas help with things, and I can see where you would want to put your own touch on things.....

A couple of weeks ago I made a cake for a friend, we came up with how we wanted it to look, we didn't look at any pictures online. A few days ago I was looking at a local bakery website and saw almost the exact same design, she had made the cake 2 years ago!!! Sometimes we can "steal" designs and not even realize it! LOL!

I hope one day I am good enough that someone wants to copy my designs. If they give me credit, great, if not...not a big deal.

I agree with Holly.  Competitions are for showcasing your own talent and imagination, not for duplicating another's, unless, as Holly said, you give credit where due.  I think the judges are looking for creative, talent in expressions, imaginative cakes.



I too agree with Holly. But to add something, if someone brings in a design that another cake baker has drawn up for them in a consult., I won't use it at all. I start from scratch. You never know, they may like yours better anyway. Everyone has a different spin on ideas. But to use someone else's consult. design (cake shopping from locals), I won't do that. :)


must say, I like your better!

Denise said:

Gretchen, here is a good example. The cake on the left is what the customer gave me and said I want a cake like this only I want Light Pink and White, and no Zebra stripes.  The cake on the right is MY creation. Similar but different.


The two cakes to the right. The Blue is from Lucks design idea section. The Red one is MY design. Both are using Lucks Edible Image(R) Designer Prints(TM) but they are completely different cakes.

I see nothing wrong with borrowing someones idea. i think most would be flattered. i know i would be. i share and use ideas of other bakers in my community and they and I are more than happy to answer questions about different techniques each of us use. yes we are all competing for business but you need to have support also

I personally don't feel there is any such thing as an original idea.  In the case of the lingerie cakes - we should all be thanking the very first person who EVER made one.  Each and every one after that, including mine, including yours, is a variation of that one and not an original at all.  That's who we should be thanking.  I have never seen my exact black leather lingerie cake anywhere - but do I claim the idea?  Heck no!


Each and every example I've seen shown here, are all variations of cakes we've all seen before, not original ideas... including mine, including yours. 


As for the Vera Wang example - it's called David's Bridal and other such shops.  I paid $700 for my knock off $25,000 dress.  I went in with a picture of a $25,000 dress and walked away very happy.  100% copy?  no.  90% close.  Yes!  Perfectly legal.  Everyone who shops at David's Bridal and other shops like it should be ashamed?  Really?


Come on, people, let's get a grip.  Not one of us has an original idea.  We see things and spin it.  I've seen many cakes like the Luck's image and red rose example.  They are all over the place.  How many draped cakes have we all seen (I've done 6 alone)? 


The upside down icing method - as far as I know - we still know who created that.  In 50 years we won't and it will be considered a generic form of decorating.  If we do still know, it will only be because of the internet and documentation.  Not because we remember. 


Covering wedding cakes in edible clay - who knows what fondant was called back in the day- who invented that?  Who was the very first person to do that?  Who?  and we are all copying that person each and every time we do that.  Not my idea in the slightest.  Putting stripes on a cake, clay flowers, edible images, and every decorating technique after that came from someone else.  Not me or you.  So, should we not ice a cake in fondant because we didn't think of it?  Should we not put red roses on a cake in a cascade?  Or drapes?  Or white on white?


I come up with MY way of doing things - but not the idea to begin with: very few of us do.


And Vera Wang is also far from original!

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