Celebrity cakes are making headlines as much as the celebrities themselves. There was the cake allegedly worth over a crore *gasp* at Akash Ambani and Shloka Mehta's engagement announcement party. The royal wedding cake of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, worth an estimated Rs 45 lakh, perhaps pales in comparison but made news—well, for being royal. Recently, chocolatiers in Moscow, during the ongoing FIFA World Cup 2018, marked Lionel Messi's 31st birthday with a life-sized chocolate sculpture of the Argentine footballer. Meanwhile, the personalised cake toppers on Sonam Kapoor's wedding cake and Shilpa Shetty's 43rd birthday cake were showstoppers in their own right. Both cakes—whipped up by Bollywood's favourite pastry chef, Pooja Dhingra—were adorned with cake toppers made by MakeWhale, a two-and-a-half-year-old Mumbai-based 3D printing design studio.
While we'd gobble up even a basic sponge cake (what? It's cake!)—personalising it with colourful icing and sprinkles makes it fun only till the cake lasts. So, when the cake is for a special occasion, why not have a souvenir that one can keep long after the guests have devoured the last of the crumbs. The generic cake toppers available in the market with typical messages just won't do, of course. Enter 3D printed cake toppers!
"3D printing has opened up a whole new avenue of personalisation," says Siddharth Sah, Founder, MakeWhale. "We can now make designs that we couldn't previously manufacture or make by hand. With 3D printing, we can experiment with different shapes and sizes, and it allows far more detailing," he explains. "Plastic is the most commonly used material but it doesn't work for complex structures," says Sah. Some of the other materials most commonly used for 3D printing in India are nylon, metal, resin, ceramics. "Gypsum is a multicolour material allowing you to take any colour that you want. You just have to input the RGB value," he explains.
However, edible materials are nowhere on the anvil as yet. You will have to wait a bit longer until your dream of printing food you can eat becomes a reality. "Currently, there are no edible materials as such. Internationally people are experimenting but it is pretty much similar to the piping used on cakes," says Sah. But he does point out that whenever 3D printing with edible materials does become commonplace, it'll be very beneficial for the baking industry. "The only people using 3D printing in food right now are the really high-end, Michelin-star restaurants who want to try something unique but they are charging that much as well so it's not something that's a feasible, mass thing," says Sah.
Talking about the celebrity cake toppers that brought the company a wave of enquiries, Sah says, "We got a lot more publicity after Sonam Kapoor and Shilpa Shetty's cakes. It led to a big surge in the interest for personalised cake toppers. We have about five to six orders for interesting toppers lined up."
It typically takes about 10 days for the figurines to be ready and the price depends on the size, design and materials used.
Images of cakes: Le 15 Patisserie/Instagram; Images of cake toppers courtesy: MakeWhale
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