Always consult with the 'clients' is a very good tip. Simply ask what kind of cake they would like to have before baking it. The 'clients' are happy they get what they like, and you do not get to see your, hard worked on cake, left untouched. This is not the case, however, when you cannot consult with a client because it is your child's / spouse's or boss' surprise party. You cannot discuss the 'surprise' and even if you somehow could get the answer without disclosing the surprise, you have not got the time to bake a very time consuming complex cake.
This predicament is solved using the personalized cake decorating technique. We all have our favorite cake. The cake we bake with our own secret recipe the one everybody love. The technique help us to personalize the cake by decorating it. It entails decorating the top of the cake with an edible picture of who ever is having the party e.g.your child. With a few easy steps you can get a picture pattern on the cake in less then an hour:
1. Get a digital picture of for example, your child, on a computer .
2. If you have an advance editing software manipulate the picture and make it black & white and then negative.
3. If you are using Photoshop go to Filter, Sketch and choose Photocopy.
4. If you do not have an advanced editing software simply search the term 'online picture editor' there are many free easy to use online services like PHIXER OR PICNIK. Upload the picture to the 'free picture editing' site.
5. Each site has a different name to the required picture manipulation some call it 'Charcoal' and some call it 'pencil' but the result is the same. The picture is turned black and white and looks like a negative film.
6.Once it is done, save the photo, print the picture.
7. Copy the layout of the picture to a waxed paper.
8. Put the waxed paper over the top of the cake and using a toothpick make little holes through the paper making an outline of the picture on the cake.
9. That is it, you are done. You can use ready made toppings to color the picture or if you have time make the picture on the cake go live.
All this may sound difficult but is really is not. It takes less then an hour from getting the photo on to the computer to having it copied to the cake. If your computer skills leave much to be desired ask for help and get others to join in the fan work. Alternatively, remember that what you need is an easy way to copy an outline of the picture to the 'waxed paper' and any way is a good way.