Home Wedding Planning DIY Toolbox Review: Cricut Cake

Seldom does a craft tool surprise and delight me as much as the Cricut Cake by Provo Craft has managed to do.  The Cricut Cake, for those of you who are unfamiliar, is a food-safe electronic die cutting machine that’s designed to be used for cake decorating.

In January I got to see the Cricut Cake in action at the Craft and Hobby Association trade show. I was impressed by the demos and the sample cake displays (below) and immediately thought this machine would be a (cliche alert!) game-changer in the cake decorating world.

With a $400 (retail) price tag, I was concerned that the casual home cake decorator would be able to utilize this machine to her best advantage. Is it easy enough for a newbie crafter and cake decorator? How difficult is it to maintain? How good is the quality? Is it cost-effective? Can it do more than just fondant?

In early June I was privileged to receive a Cricut Cake for review purposes. I’ve been playing with it as much as I can in my free time and have to say that I LOVE THIS MACHINE and it warrants my highest recommendation but not without some caveats.

First, the Cricut Cake is easy to use. The process goes something like this:

  1. Plug in the machine. Turn it on.
  2. Insert a design cartridge.
  3. Select the design and size you want.
  4. Place a fondant sheet onto the mat. Insert mat into the feeder.
  5. Press a button to make a cut.
  6. The Cricut Cake operates a bit like a printer but instead of printing, there’s a blade inside that’s cutting the material you send through the feeder.
  7. The mat comes out of the feeder. Peel away the fondant to reveal your cut designs.

(From the January CHA show 2010 + OhMyCrafts)

The Cricut Cake works marvelously with Provo Craft’s fondant sheets. Every cut I’ve made with the Cricut brand sheets has come out perfect – except in the case of operator error. The Cricut frosting sheets cost around $14.00 for a 3 pack. They’re not super cheap but you’re paying  for the convenience here and it’s worth it if you’ve not worked with rolled fondant before. It’s worth noting that the sheets come in white, pastels, and primary colors.

While the Cricut Cake is easy to operate, there is a learning curve when getting started. I found myself futzing quite a bit with the pressure settings and learning the basic functions before I got the hang of it. I went through quite a bit of the frosting sheets and other materials in the first day. All in all, that wasn’t a big deal for me but if you don’t have patience for fidgeting with gadgets this may not be for you.

The highlight of the Cricut Cake is that it cuts more than the frosting sheets. I’ve cut tortillas (diyToddler totally enjoyed his super special quesadillas, thankyouverymuch), fondant, gum paste, and fruit roll ups (didn’t work well for me).  What really excites me is being able to cut sugar cookie dough. I love making cookies with the Cricut Cake!

I found that rolling out my own fondant to be tricky. Getting uniform thickness is important so that the blade cuts through the design. It’s best to have an X-acto knife on hand for extracting pieces and finishing cuts that don’t go through.

Somewhat of a downside is that the Cricut Cake is limited by the designs available on the Cricut cartridges so you can’t really go wild with custom design. The good news is that the Cake can use any of the Cricut cartridges and there are a lot. In addition to the ones designed specifically for the Cake, there are dozens and dozens originally meant for paper crafting. The selection is quite extensive with themes that’ll appeal to most. Even better news is that Martha Stewart Crafts has teamed up with Provo Craft to release their own line of cartridges exclusively through HSN. Martha’s cartridges are around $70. Regular Cricut cartridges vary widely in price though you can find them in the $25 range if you shop online.

Martha Stewart Crafts Cricut Elegant Cake Cartridge Preview

I need to note that the Cricut Cake is to be used for food ONLY. While the paper craft cartridges work in this machine, it is not meant to be used for paper or anything non-edible for food safety reasons. This is also the reason why fondant and foodstuff should never, ever be used in regular die cutting machines (including the Cricut Expression, the paper crafting sister machine of the Cake).

Machine maintenance is a breeze. The removable parts are dishwasher safe and were relatively easy to clean. I say relatively because anything that comes in contact with fondant and sugary stuff will require some effort to clean up no matter how you work with it.

Final Notes:

This machine is awesome and works exactly as it should. I found it to be very well-made as is my experience with most Provo Craft products. (I’ve purchased a Cricut Expression, Cuttlebug, and Yudu in the past. Love ‘em and they’re all working great.)

The operating costs of the Cricut Cake (frosting sheets, cartridges, the machine itself) make it a luxury purchase unless the user does a lot of cake and sugar cookie baking throughout the year. If you’re thinking of splurging for one for just your wedding cake, it may not be the best budget-friendly option. If that’s not a concern, then I highly recommend it for someone who wants to get hands on with some cake decorating.

I’ll be sharing some of the DIY goodness I’ve made with the Cricut Cake soon!

6 replies to this post
  1. I have looked on youtube and seen a few people turn their expressions into cricut cakes. I don't see what's wrong with it. Do you really think this cake is that much more food safe? Everything is manufactured in China. The only additional food safe items on the cricut cake are the rubber enclosures around the cartridge spot. I think the cricut cake is just another way for cricut to make money. They know full well the expression is the exact same thing. Just buy a bottle of ethanol, clean your expression with it, and use that to cut fondant!

  2. Hey “guest”, I normally don't approve comments from fake email addresses but I wanted to respond to your comment above because I think they're misguided. If you decide to come back, please use your real name and email address otherwise you'll be written off as a troll. I'm not sure why the machine being manufactured in China has any relevance to food safety. Please explain. You're incorrect about the the rubber enclosure around the cartridge being the only food-safe feature. The Cake also features a food-grade stainless steel removable parts (so they can be cleaned) inside, and a food-safe mat. The cake blade housing is made from a food-safe and dishwasher safe plastic that is able to withstand ServSafe sterilization standards. The bottom of the mat path, is free of unnecessary ledges, projections, and crevices as mandated by ServSafe . The inside of the Cake features smooth plastic surfaces for easy clean-up. The top and bottom rollers in the Cake are different from that in the Expression (those that are using the Expressions are often modifying their machines to get the same effect). The lubricants used inside the Cake are 100% food safe; they are not in the Expression.The Cricut Cake is meant to be a dedicated machine for food products only and is built to conform to ServSafe standards. ServSafe is a food safety training and certificate program administered by the National Restaurant Association. Most businesses that deal with food must conform to ServSafe standards in some way. Of course the Cricut Cake is meant to be source of revenue for ProvoCraft. Viva capitalism! As stated above, it is not the exact same thing as the Expression and is meant to be used for a specialized purpose. For cake professionals and hobby decorators, this is a great machine. For others, it may not be.

  3. If you go to youtube and do a search for cricut cake is a fake you will see pictures of both machines side by side. They are the same machine, just a few minor changes. There are NO oils or lubricants in either machine. If you read the fine print, the only food safe parts of the cake machine is the mat and blade. You can make your own mat from a plastic food cutting mat and the blade that cuts the gum paste is made out of the same material for the Expression and Cake machine.

  4. I recently purchased a Cricut Cake Mini for cutting cookie dough and tried a couple recipes without success. I followed tips in the forum for chilling the dough etc. Is there any special recipe you could suggest for me or special tips to share? My family is big on sugar cookies and I thought it would make my life so much easier. I spent forever trying to clean an angry machine. Any tips you could share would be greatly appreciated as my machine is a non-returnable sale item.
    Thank you in advance!

    • Hi Stacy,

      From my experience, the cookie dough has to be COLD – just about frozen – to get a clean cut.

      The dough has to be thin, but not too thin. Vague, I know! This took some trial and error for me and was kind of frustrating to figure out. I saw somewhere that the thickness should be about the thickness of a nickel and that seems about right.

      The size of the cut matters, too. Too small = disaster. Anything under 2″ has been REALLY hard for me to get right. Also: cuts that are too close together cause problems for me. I try to keep at least 1/4″ between shapes.

      Editing to add: I found some really good videos! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A4BPWgIYHZg and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t88X1U5WQaw from The Crafty Kitchen

      I hope that helps!

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