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YouCake is a New York-based company that creates edible photo sheets that are intended to be applied to cakes and other desserts as toppers. The company ships internationally and has just partnered with Bonne Fete Baking to offer both kosher and gluten-free options. Now celebrating its tenth anniversary, Youcake has launched a brand-new app displaying an “online bakery” where visitors can view the customized cake options.

Anniversary

YouCake was founded by Carolyn Sevos Hamilton and Jeremy Horland who have much experience working together via their boutique web consulting firm ICI. When Jeremy’s son turned two in 2007, he wanted to get a personalized caked but could not find a suitable online venue for such a service.

Hence, Jeremy designed his own cake topper and had it printed at Carvel’s. The decoration was a big success and his family members and friends soon started to request their own personalized desserts. Jeremy and Carolyn both instantly saw the potential for a company that combined food, technology, and celebrations and established YouCake which initially operated out of Ostrovitsky Bakery. In 2011, Youcake opened a print facility in Queens, New York. “The space was perfect as it is attached to a commercial kitchen facility rented by a variety of baking and catering companies,” said Carolyn Sevos, the CEO of YouCake. “Since the toppers go on cakes, cookies, and cupcakes, customers can go on our website and select the size and shape that they need- along with any inscription they want to add to personal photos, artwork and logos.” Youcake offers a sizable offering of flavors and they also have a gluten-free menu.

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Yet you do not need to order the actual desserts from the company, many times people simply order the toppers and then create their own desserts to decorate. There is a huge variety of images that appear via orders. “We love the kids and the pet photos,” Carolyn Sevos explained. “There are many AWWW moments. Our specialty is personalized artwork and photos. We also ship globally. The farthest has been to a wedding in Hong Kong and to a US military base in Japan.”

Developments

Edible photo art has existed since the 1980s but Youcake is one of the only companies that lets buyers order via their smartphones. Early in 2017, Youcake started working with the Boy Scouts of America and holds the distinction of being their official edible topper licensee. “Working with the Boy Scouts is a great opportunity,” Carolyn explained. “It is exciting to do large corporate orders, but I am always moved when customers share their experiences serving their personalized cakes. The goal is to continue to expand YouCake as online cake decorating platform.

I want everyone to think about which photo is going to make the cake—or cookie or cupcakes. I envision walking into in-store bakeries that have a stock of white buttercream cakes with a surface area clear for where to apply your YouCake topper!” Ultimately, Youcake is a food service and not a bakery. However, they work with many bakeries and understand the pressures of the business. “A bakery is a fantastic illustration of how the practice of craft and business are combined,” Carolyn declared. “You need mastery of technique, equipment, ingredients, prep, food assembly, and service. I hate to give advice, but in this case, if you want to open a bakery, my advice is to work with a baker in a bakery. Watching a bakery in operation is a magical thing—a very different universe from your home kitchen.”