Sometimes customers will have the exact cake design in mind when they place an order right down to the ribbon on the board and the color of the of the inscription. Nothing is better than knowing what you want! (although I always have the caveat that I can't simply duplicate a design from a picture--every customer deserves to have a cake custom designed for them!)
More often though customers have a theme or an color palette they want to work with--and this is when designing gets fun! If it is available, one of the best articles to work from is the invitation to the party! The invitation gives me an idea of colors, theme, and the personality of the party.
This First Birthday cake was an amalgamation of a few different cake elements pulled together to create one frilly and festive cake for the birthday girl. The party theme was pulled together by the invitation with blue, rose, yellow and pink colors with polka dots and the requested frills of the rosettes. The striped "1" topper is echoed in the striped candle on the graphic.
This little boy had a high-flying first birthday with an entire airplane theme party! Custom graphic had the invitation as a boarding pass, so naturally I wanted to make sure the cake and cupcakes soared with style. The cake featured a sculpted, fondant-covered Rice Krispy Treat airplane topper on a buttercream cake with clouds on the sides. The coordinating cupcakes were also finished with a stand up cloud topper.
The great thing about working with a custom cake designer is that you aren't limited to choosing a cake out of a book. Each cake is designed especially for you: from the decadent cake flavors and style of buttercream right down to the pearls on the crown. And if you don't want to make ALL those decisions, just provide a little inspiration and let the designer work some sugar magic.