Friday, 19 October 2012

I Caked It Myself: imitation is the sincerest form of flattery .....

..... or is it? That's the question posed by today's submission to I Caked It Myself, which comes from my friend Tam.

Tam writes: 

 Nine years ago I decided to decorate my birthday cake with buttercream flowers. I'd seen a picture in a magazine and when I saw a packet of icing tips (plastic!) at my local Coles I thought I'd give it a try. 

I had a few tubs of food colour paste at home (pinky-red, yellow and green) and my trusty WW buttercream recipe on hand, so I made up a big batch of icing and after a few practise rounds on baking paper I came up with this:

 (Made in 2003, uploaded onto Flickr in 2007)
I was fairly proud of it at the time (Ed: I am proud of it too. Your flowers are wonderful, especially for a first-timer! I actually thought they were real when I saw the picture for the first time. You will have to give me lessons. My flowers are rubbish.), but a few years later - after purchasing stainless steel decorating tips and a greater range of food paste colours - I decided to make another ranunculus flower cake for myself [not so much through lack of imagination, but because ranunculi flower profusely in my garden around the time of my birthday].
Keen to improve on my original design, I looked to Google for inspiration, and was shocked to find the following image:

The cheating copy

(spotted on the Amphora bakery website in 2009)

It's still there! Check out (page 4).
It was like looking at one of those puzzles in the newspaper where you try to find the difference between the two pictures. Oh sure, the serving dish was different, but those colours? the amateurish petals? This was a copy of MY CAKE! (Yes! It is practically a carbon copy of your cake!)
At first I was miffed that I wasn't given credit for the idea (even though by posting a photo of my original cake on Flickr I pretty much lost control over any copyright of the artwork etc).  

On the other hand, I'm flattered, as this was the first cake I'd ever decorated with a piping bag and tips. And someone thought it was worth copying. (I hear you, Tam, I hear you.) 

I also smugly know that I have moved on in my portrayal of ranunculi on my birthday cakes:

So therein lies the question .... is imitation the sincerest form of flattery? Perhaps, if it is imitation with a proper attribution to the author, the university student in me would say. 

I would have been absolutely gleeful to find that someone had copied a cake of mine. And then a bit ropable. After all, my entire project is about copying, so I could hardly get cranky with someone else for doing the same thing! 

But then, if I'd actually come up with the idea myself, like Tam did, then maybe I would think differently .....

What do you think?


1 comment:

  1. I say take it as a massive compliment but some people would ask are they making money out of your idea? :)


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