Life Hacks

The Nostalgia of Carvel-Style Photo Cakes

Cup of Jo's Joanna Goddard went retro for her son Toby's 9th birthday party.

May 30, 2019
Photo by Christine Han for Cup of Jo. Food Styling: Grace Blumberg.

When my son Toby and I were discussing ideas for his birthday, I casually mentioned something that was cool when I was younger, and he lost his little mind…

Photo cakes!

Toby couldn’t believe it and became enamored of the idea. He knew the exact cake he wanted (M&M), and he definitely knew the photo he wanted: the one above, where he’s standing in front of a Dodge Challenger we rented once in Austin. The only thing left to do was figure out how to execute his vision. After a little online research, I found Cakes n’ Shapes, a New York-based bakery that ships edible “frosting sheets” nationwide.

Photo by Christine Han for Cup of Jo

For full instructions, click here.

The cake was a huge hit at the party, and the cutest part was watching Toby figure out which piece of the photo to eat. (After some consideration, he went with the Challenger logo on the front fender.)

Join The Conversation

Top Comment:
“More ideas for making photo cakes on you tube and at browser or office supply. Printers can now make edible copies.”
— Nancy

Now I can’t stop thinking about grown-up occasions—wedding anniversaries, friends’ birthdays, office celebrations—where this move would kill, especially with a funny photo.

P.S. 8 wonderful birthday cakes, and the easiest birthday cake. And the funniest candles.

Happy Birthday, Toby!

Thoughts? Have you ever had a photo cake? Tell us in the comments below.

This post has been syndicated with permission of Cup of Jo, whom we adore.

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Writer of the blog A Cup of Jo


Nancy May 30, 2019
Charming stories of the cake, birthday week and breakfast in bed.
More ideas for making photo cakes on you tube and at browser or office supply. Printers can now make edible copies.
Monique P. May 30, 2019
I would also check if your local cake supply stores have a service where you can bring in photo, and they'll print it on the edible paper for you.
Eric K. May 30, 2019
Toby's HUGE breakfast-in-bed smile is just the cutest.
Angie May 30, 2019
I never had one but a lot of my friends did. I really hated the photo layer's taste. It was like eating sugary wax paper.