We just got our first try on using the newly delivered Cricut Cake!
The machine was mailed from the US, so we’re not sure if this device is readily available here in the Philippines. Anyway, it is a fascinating device because it is supposed to cut fondant icing as if it were a craft-cutting machine. My wife and I were not familiar with crafting devices but nonetheless we were excited to get our hands on it eventhough, we’ve heard a few discouraging feedback regarding its “usability” from some communities. Still, we figured it was always worth a shot!
The Cricut Cake is based on Cricut which was designed initially for paper crafting or what hobbyists call Scrap-booking. What’s interesting about this is that they converted the device to make it food-safe and work for rolled fondant icing. Icing is of course not a stable material compared to paper. So cutting shapes won’t be that straight forward because it can break very easily depending on the quality of the icing. But that is why this device is so interesting to use, because if we can perfect this, it can really improve the quality of our cakes in general.
Opening the Box
As we opened the box, the contents included a power cord, a cleaning kit (for the blade), a printing mat, a computer disk, a small blade, manuals, Cricut Cartridge and the Cricut Cake machine. Upon opening the manual, it was a little strange to see that the pack didn’t include a USB cable which it clearly needed. It’s a good thing that I had a spare one at home. Although I do understand that you can manipulate this manually without the computer, it felt very cumbersome if you had to put every shape one thing at a time instead to planning it out on the computer. Another thing I noticed is that a piece of paper inside the box mentioned that the software is actually outdated and that the appropriate software had to be downloaded from the cricut website. Because of this instruction, it rendered the disk useless.
Getting the Software to Run
I connected the Cricut Cake to my netbook computer and downloaded the software from Cricut. The software uses Adobe Air, which is fine overall, but it can be be a little sluggish on the netbook. It somehow installed new firmware drivers which I had to restart the Cricut Cake machine about 3 times to install them properly. Any firmware update can get me a little scared because if anything goes wrong while doing a firmware update, such as a power failure, can permanently damage the machine. Fortunately, nothing wrong happened.
The process was fairly simple to follow. Once the program started, I was surprised that you had to sign up and login first before you can use the software. I noticed that there were tons of designs to choose from, but don’t be deceived. Before you can use any of them you have to register your cartridge or else none of it will be usable. So, this is when I learned that the software does not only stand as the main program to cut a design but at the same time, it also entices you to buy more cartridges.
Registering the Cartridge
The only way to register your cartridge is to plug it on the device. Once it’s plugged in, the software will recognize it and it will permanently mark it on your account. Since I only had 1 cartridge, I can’t test the machine if it can handle multiple designs from different cartridges since it seems that the only purpose once it’s registered is the identification of the graphics available in the cartridge. But I do think that the main purpose of the cartridge is that you can make designs without using a computer, although with the computer, it just makes everything easier. Although, the software itself also has a few free designs and one set of font that you can use. So we have 2 types of font available at this time (the other one is based on the cartridge that was provided).
Loading the Fondant
You have to put the fondant on the printing mat, so that the icing won’t break up so easily. You do need to get to a certain thickness – or thinness if you will – to be able to use the Cricut Cake properly. If the fondant isn’t at the desired thickness, it will just mash up or re-knead the cut outs, rendering it useless.
Once you’ve put the icing on the mat, you put slide the mat into the front slot and click on load. Once it is loaded up, it is then ready. You start making a design and cut.
Making a Design and Facing Our Difficulty
This part is pretty easy, although using the netbook somewhat limits the speed of what you can do. Still, you can use it. You can overlap designs so you can make designs of your own. I did have a few issues because the CUT icon should be highlighted once the Cricut Cake is ready, and a lot of times, it doesn’t show up. I had to save, close and open the same file before the CUT icon shows up. Also, when I press the CUT icon, the Cricut Cake option doesn’t show up, it detects some other Cricut device. Since I don’t have much of a choice, I just chose what the program told me to use.
Trimming Unwanted Icing
Once it starts cutting, it’s quick and precise. But to tell you the truth, this is only half of the process. The next step is to remove the cutouts which takes a lot of time to do. You have to remove it by hand with tools of your own, the Cricut Cake doesn’t have any tool to do this, which is not really a problem since it’s designed for bakers who already have tools for it.
Looking at the Big Picture
I really enjoy cutting out the letters because it’s the most difficult thing to make most of the time. Although, a lot of the shapes included are either easy to do or it’s better done by hand with royal icing. So, the Cricut is a very useful tool for putting in letters, but not for shapes for the reason, that it’s difficult to remove them instead of making them on your own or rely on cookie cutters. Although, the shapes in Cricut are just tools, note that you can always make your own designs by manipulating several shapes.
Overall, this will be a great tool to use for making custom cakes, although very limited because I don’t see it’s any other use except for fonts, which is very helpful on celebration cakes like birthdays, graduations, debut and others, besides the fact that you will have to really wrestle with your patience on this machine. For sure you’ll see more works from us using this device in the future.