How To Dress A Dummy (Cake, That Is)

Most people who start a cake business are faced with the fact that they don't have very many cake photos to show clients. Some people take the low road by cutting pictures out of magazines and saying that they can replicate them. Well, I doubt that, because if you knew that you could, you'd have a picture of the cake that you made to show that you could. Don't steal other people's pictures, just use dummy cakes to build your portfolio.

Dummy cakes are a great way to practice, but they can get expensive if all that you do is one design on each one. Theoretically, you can wash them off and reuse them, but the easiest thing to do is to start with a minimalist design then add to it. Every time you finish with one design, take pictures of it, then redo it and take more pictures.

Try to be more original than just changing the ribbon on it and adding different flowers. I can't tell you how many new websites I see pop up that have five cakes on them, all plain white fondant with a different colored ribbon and some silk flowers on the top. Booooring. Do something a little more interesting and you'll end up with better photos. Also remember that each cake has a front and a back, so you could do one design on the front and one on the back and photograph them both separately.

A reception site recently called me and asked if I had a cake that they could use the next day for an open house. The problem was that the color scheme they were working with was red and black, and the only cakes that I had available had orange and green as their main colors. I took one that had a white fondant base, then removed the orange and blue decorations from it and replaced them with black and red. It went great with the linens and flowers that they had in the room, and illustrates how you can "re-dress" a dummy.

 Kara Buntin owns A Cake To Remember LLC in Richmond VA, and cake supplies online at and