“You arranged your own birthday cake?” the taxi driver said to me without trying to hide his incredulity.
I didn’t want to tell him inside the cake box was a D&D monster vomiting a rainbow in a Snap style face filter.
Having separated during the lockdown, I was determined that life would go on and birthdays celebrated. But I didn’t want to tell him that.
I joked about the stress of trying to clamber into the taxi without dropping the cake while the baker watched. The taxi driver was on board for that joke. Cake splats, I’m sure, spoke to him as loudly as they did to me on the horror scale.
In truth, Licks Cake Design had even helped me into the taxi. It’s not as if the talented monster-creator stood there and watched. That’s indicative of the helpful experience I had with them.
The monster cake
I have another blog, and its greatest ever waste of money was a design idea I had and then commissioned. I thought the image of a Mind Flayer taking a selfie would be a great t-shirt.
Then it was a Snapchat face message, not a selfie.
Then I had different Mind Flayer faces drawn, like the rainbow vomit, puppy ears, heart eyes and others.
Mind Flayers are famous now because of Stranger Things, but mine is more like a monster D&D players are familiar with.
It turns out that only I think this was a great idea. I spent money hiring an artist and then (and still) no one else bought the design.
So, to celebrate this birthday, I turned it into a cake and ate it. I ate it all!
The flavour? Coffee and caramel. It was a lovely combination, and I can claim no credit for it. I used a spreadsheet of ideas and randomly generated the mix.
Yes, to recap;
I emailed Licks Cake Design to ask for a Mind Flayer looking cute, ala a Snap face and vomiting rainbow. And I told the baker I had used a spreadsheet to randomise the flavours.
Licks, bless them, made the cake! No questions asked.
In fact, perhaps suspecting I was a geek, we even talked about the latest The Batman movie.
It helped that I could provide original designs/clear images for the cake to be based on. I didn’t have to use my demonstrably poor word skills to describe the bizarre creation.
Commissioning a birthday cake
I had never commissioned a cake before, and it was much easier than I had feared, but it was a steep learning curve.
Licks don’t give you a list of options. Instead, come to the baker with an idea of what you want;
- When do you need the cake?
- How many people does it need to feed?
- Then it’s into type, design and flavour.
Once that’s done, you’ll be told how much it’ll cost.
Obviously, gram-for-gram, it’s more expensive than buying a cake from a box in a supermarket. But I think it was worth it, and I will do it again.
My main tip; give the baker and cake designer as much time as possible. I ordered months in advance, and I think, in many cases, weeks is cutting it too fine.
I imagine more giant cakes, wedding cakes, require even more notice.
Was the cake any good?
Yes, it was delicious. To my tasty shame, I ate it in days. I can’t tell you how long it stayed fresh because I had two huge slices a day, and then it was gone.
The sponge was soft and fresh, and the icing delicious. If you can’t see the photographs peppered through this review, then let me tell you the cake looked exactly like the supplied design.
I ate rainbow vomit.
The process was easy. I put the order in, had a brief chat to find out how much it would cost, all over email, gave a date I wanted it for and then waited.
As my birthday approached, we got back in touch, agreed on a pick-up time, and the cake was finished that morning.
Yes, I’ve already reviewed Licks Cake Design before. I did so with these cupcakes at the heart of the piece.
I got those from this Groupon deal and felt guilty taking advantage of such a steal. I hope the birthday commission eases karma.
I guess it’s also one of those sales pitches Groupon might share; use them to find customers who come back later with more money. Does that happen often, I wonder?
I made a fantasy cake generator for the other blog. You don’t need my coffee and caramel generating spreadsheet; I’ve coded it all for you!
A straightforward to a decadent and delicious cake. If you can afford it, it’s worth it. The only wriggle was the need to pick up the cake in person, and that wasn’t much of a wriggle as it was my birthday and had it off as a holiday!
Licks Birthday Cake Design
Dangerously easy. I think a custom birthday cake is a great way to celebrate the day, but it requires you to book well in advance and be happy to pay for the time and skill involved. Licks Cake Design is my one and only experience of the process, but it’s one that’s convinced me to do it again.