Sunday, May 8, 2011

US Military Logo's

Part of my vision for the cake, was to have the US Military branch logos/emblems (not really sure which they should be called), on the sides of the top tier of the cake.  So, I started my search for them quite a while ago (November I believe).  In my search for them, I ran across something on the US Navy website that talked about 'authorized use' of the logo.  It got me thinking about copyright issues, etc....  Knowing that the cakes are photographed at cake shows, and sometimes those photographs are purchased by ACD (American Cake Decorating) and probably other publications, I wanted to be sure that (1) I did not get in trouble for duplicating the logo and (2) that the photos of my cake would be publishable should the publications want to publish it. 

So, through some research, I found email addresses for each branch of the military and emailed each branch seeking permission to duplicate the logo.  I explained who I was, what I wanted to do, and my purpose for such use, and respectfully requested permission to duplicate the logo.  I first emailed the Navy, and upon successful permission from them, I then emailed the other 4 branches. 

Here is the text of the email that I sent to the US Navy:

To Whom It May Concern,

I am a cake decorator, and compete in numerous cake decorating competitions.  I have earned many First Place ribbons, trophies, and a Best of Show Award.

I am entering a wedding cake competition in which the theme is 'Holiday Cakes'.  I have chosen Veteran's Day as my holiday in order to produce a cake that honors the branches of our US Military.  I would like to include a replica of the US Navy Emblem on the cake, and in looking for it online, found this email address in order to request permission to replicate it for use on my cake. 

Thank you,
(my name)

Much to my surprise I received a response pretty quickly!  Even more surprising was being told that I could duplicate the logo for the purpose I expressed in my email!  With the approval of the US Navy, I then set out to email the rest of the branches.  I received permission from the US Army, US Marines and US Air Force.  I never did receive a response from the US Coast Guard, but through my research learned that in times of war, they come under the direction of the US Navy.  So, since I had permission from the US Navy, I concluded that I had permission from the US Coast Guard.

Along with each email response, I received a graphic file that had the branch's logo in it.  Here is a picture of the logos, after being taped to a board and covered in saran (in preparation for piping them):

I actually made up two of these to pipe the designs on, and the other to fill in the backgrounds using the run sugar method (royal icing).  I piped each design element using royal icing, and let them dry before painting the gold elements gold.

Here they are after piping the designs:

This is the first time I ever attempted to hand-pipe an eagle and the American flag.

 Coast Guard
It was kind of fun piping the anchors!  I cleaned up the edges of the flag with a damp paintbrush (that's how I got the nice point at the bottom too).

It was a little challenging piping the elements on this one, but they look great!

By the time I got to my third eagle, I had it down pat, lol.  The icing was a little soft (due to the coloring I think), so I had to pipe one 'feather' on each side and then wait for it to dry before piping the next one.

Air Force
I was happy with the eagle on this one, but not with the 'shield'.  I still think it looks messy where the blue and white come together, but wasn't sure how to make it less messy.

I attempted to use run-sugar to make the backgrounds of each logo, but after doing them twice, and hating them both times, I concluded that using fondant circles would be much better for my sanity and the quality of the cake.  So, I colored fondant to match the background colors the best I could, and rolled it thin using my pasta roller.  I cut the circles out using round cookie cutters, and set them on saran covered boards to dry thoroughly.  Once they were dry, I used some egg white to glue the smaller circles on the bigger ones, then used tiny bits of royal icing to attach the piped elements to the fondant circles.  
Once the elements were attached to the fondant circles, I piped the interior borders on the logos, and hand piped some of the elements on the logos (the laurel leaves and arrows in the eagles talons on the Army logo, the chain and black lines on the Navy logo, and the yellow symbol on the Air Force logo).  I have to say that the hand painting was a lot of fun, and looked really nice when I was done!

I attempted to pipe a rope border around three of them (Navy, Marines and Coast Guard), but that wasn't going too well.  So, I piped a plain border around the Air Force and Army logo's, and once they were dry, attached them to the cake sides.  I then attached the Navy, Marines and Coast Guard logos to the sides of the cake and made fondant ropes to go around the edge of them.  I attached the fondant ropes, and once dry, painted them with gold luster dust mixed with vodka.  There are not a lot of in-process photos of this because most of this was done the day before I left for the show, and I was more concerned with having a finished cake than with taking pictures.

Here are pictures of the finished products, on the cake: 

As you can see, the names of each branch have been left off of the logo's, simply because I did not have enough room to pipe or paint them on.

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