Robotic cupcakes 2

March 27, 2008 at 10:26 AM | Posted in cupcakes, technology | 7 Comments

Ever since enrolling in the Wilton Cake Decorating class at my local Michaels 4 months ago, I have a more profound respect for cake decorators. There is so much creativity and skill that is involved. I am far from a professional level but I understand the intricacy of each piping movement to create any edible artwork. Not everyone can do it, it takes alot of time, practice and more skill than you might think.


Click image to play video

I know its not enough to hold my hand at the right angle and apply the correct amount of pressure to the piping bag. There is a steady fluid motion that you have to learn or what you pipe comes out looking more blog than bling. Any first time decorator will probably agree with me! Am I right? Heck even assembling the piping bag and filling with frosting isn’t as easy as it looks! I think the first time I did it I got more on my apron, my hair and the table than in the bag…

But those that can’t do it or don’t have time to learn, must pay for it. And thats where the technology can shoulder the cost burden in that respect.

I am all for technology so I am slightly torn on the matter. Its probably the science girl in me. I think its fascinating that humans are able to invent things that make our lives easier. Just think of all your kitchen gadgets – things that make steps easier so you can concentrate on the creative aspect. Come on… If you are like me…you have alot of them. (If you are like Nikki, you have EVERYTHING imaginable.)

When you make something faster, more efficient and therefore easily mass produced, it cuts the cost. I get that. I don’t have the money to buy a $3 cupcake or a $500 wedding cake everyday BUT I do understand why cake decorators charge that much and I don’t question it as wrong (even though I do think some “names” may be a little greedy in their mark up) because I know its not just the cake… its the time, imagination and love that they bring to each sugary detail on your custom cake. You won’t get that from a robot.

If you want a robotic cupcake, by all means, buy it. (I admit I’ve bought a six pack in a moment of cupcake weakness.) But if you want a custom cupcake for the robotic price… don’t make me laugh. You can’t compare.

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7 Comments

  1. Ok, first, I don’t have every kitchen gadget, I don’t even have a garlic press TYVM

    Now, onto the cuppys … I agree and disagree. My wedding cake for example. If it wasn’t free/included they would have charged me about $700 for it. It was three layers of butter cream with just little dots and some flowers. Something even I … who is always too lazy to pull out my cake decorating supplies could do. That my friends is a RIP OFF. Not good cake + very basic decorations = not worth a lot. Now if your cake has crazy gum paste flowers and lots of detail then you should have to pay up the bum.

    Here’s my thing with cupcakeries … most of them don’t spend the time your talking about. Wasn’t it a video from Magnolia that showed how they frosted their cuppies and we both agreed they looked like shit. And really, they’re just done in assembly line fashion. Machine done or made by hand anything done in assembly line fashion does not deserve $5 for two bites of cupcake.

    Unless your getting something custom there really isn’t much care or thought put into frosting your cuppy whether it be done by machine or hand.

  2. Jeez that machine does better frosting than I do. I am taking a cake deco class too but not a Wilton one. I already can see I have a ton to learn.

    I agree with Nikki re: cupcakeries and costs. This local place that makes yummy stuff, charges $24 per dozen MINI cupcakes. So for 24 mini cuppies it’s $48. I know how much it costs to make mini cuppies and I know how quickly I can churn out 24 and pop some frosting on them. Now the more intricate ones, def worth more…but $2 per mini seems so pricey. And there are a ton of companies like this out here in SF Bay.

    This is partially why I have been making my own. Also then I know what’s going into them. I had no idea that shortening was used in a ton of cakeries still. Yak.

  3. This is a really interesting discussion. My hubby is in the process of getting an aeronautical engineering degree, so I’ve gained a certain appreciation for the complexity of machines. Building those things is a precise art form in itself. However, I’ve never personally bought a machine decorated cake or cupcake.
    As an artist and craftster, I really appreciate the hand decorated goodies. I know from experience that you put a little bit of yourself into every piped cupcake, so it feels really special to eat one someone else has personally made. Cake decorating isn’t for everyone though, so I have no problem with mass produced robot cakes being distributed and purchased. They’re certainly not hurting the local bakery business! It seems there are more and more small local bakeries popping up. And, as everyone has noted, some are charging outrageous prices for their goods! Personally, I’ll stick to baking and decorating my own :)

  4. I have to say, I don’t have extensive experience with cupcakeries (we only have one where I live, in lil’ ol’ New Zealand) but overall the goodies I’ve bought from professional places just never taste as good. Now, I’m certainly not one to neglect the presentation aspect, even if I’m no pro, but if it doesn’t taste good what’s the point?

    When it comes to price, if the decoration is done by hand (and is actually creative and appealing) and the cake part is made with ‘real’ ingredients, I reckon cupcakes are worth every penny… But it does rankle how some places give the impression it’s all home baking when it’s a production line.

    Gosh, CB, you’ve got us all riled up! ;-)

  5. I’m not sure why but I really enjoyed watching the video. Maybe it was the endless dispensing of frosting? In the end I would never buy pre-packaged cupcakes. They are just not good, taste or ingredient wise. I like to make my own and frost my own, even if it turns out a little uneven. :)

  6. I’m with Nikki. I hate it when places charge a “flat fee” for a wedding cake, rather than adjusting the fee based on the amount of time the deco might take. That is why I never quote a price until I’ve met with the person to see what they want.

    As far as I’m concerned, cupcakes are a bigger pain than a regular cake. Overall, I’m just not a commercial bakery fan. I think that comes from working at one. We didn’t have a frosting machine, but there definitely wasn’t any personal interest put into the decorating process (I didn’t do decorating there, but watched & assisted). I think as soon as you move on to the point that you are making product for an annoymous person, whom you’ve never met, you get a little robotic with the process even doing it by hand.

    That’s why I like doing cakes out of my house. My referrals are word of mouth and I know most of the people I do cakes for. Even if I don’t know them a lot, I at least get to meet with them and talk to them about what they want. Taking their idea and then making it even better is what makes it fun. (Think Ace of Cakes, but not quite so crazy.)

  7. ^ Thank you Dawn for confirming that I am right … I like to be right :P


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