Entrepreneur Turns Dessert Into Art

By Kelsey Hammon Niles Daily Star, Mich.

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Entrepreneur Michelle Blandford, the owner of "All Over Creations by Michelle" can turn any plain white cake into a canvas, where pictures, designs and personalized messages are projected on the dessert.

NILES

Baker Michelle Blandford has a knack for turning dessert into art.

In the past, she has sculpted cakes to take the form of a dragon with colorful scales, cars, shoes and decadent multi-tiered cakes. Recently, Blandford added another creative tool to help her cakes have a unique look: projection mapping.

Now, with the flip of a button, Blandford can turn any plain white cake into a canvas, where pictures, designs and personalized messages are projected on the dessert.

Blandford, the owner of All Over Creations by Michelle, debuted the projection mapping cake last week during an entrepreneurial presentation at the 101c3 building, 101 E. Mishawaka Ave., Mishawaka, where she told an eager audience about her business and how she came up with the design.

Blandford said she first found an example of cake projection mapping while surfing the internet. Immediately, she knew it was a feature she wanted to add to her cakes, she said.

"I'm thinking, 'how cool is that to be able to personalize it,'" Blandford said. "One of the things I have found is that people are doing a lot more personalizing of their cakes."

Once the idea was sparked, Blandford began searching for a way to make it a reality, which was no easy quest.

One technology expert told her the idea would take about $6,000 to create.

Blandford said she obviously couldn't charge people $6,000 for a cake, so she continued to search. Nothing clicked, until she met Charles Nelson from On Base Productions at the Niles Hunter Ice Festival in January.

At the time, Nelson had just opened his multi-media and technology business in downtown Niles with the aim to help local business and entrepreneurs like Blandford.

"It's amazing what I have been able to learn with Michelle constantly pushing," Nelson said. "It's great to have people like that who can take you out your comfort zone."

Using projection mapping technology, Nelson said he was able to bring Blandford's idea to life. Using a projector, designs, pictures and logos can be shown on the cake.

"What you do is run a specialized software on your computer through a projector and you can manipulate the images on the software to fit any surface that you want," Nelson said. "You can put photos on the [cake], shapes, colors or even sync it to music if you want."

Blandford has operated All Over Creations for the past year. The Elkhart resident uses the Niles Entrepreneurial & Culinary Incubator to bake her products.

She sells to clients across Michigan and Indiana. Adding cake projection mapping will be another useful tool to sell to a larger audience, Blandford said.

Other entities have recognized Blandford for her use of cake projection mapping. In November, Blandford presented the idea to a panel and was chosen out of several entrepreneurs to receive an Awesome Fund Grant to help fund her business.

For her customers, Blandford noted that the people interested in buying a cake with projected images do not have to order a stark white cake to make the projection mapping work. Designs can still be added and even incorporated into the projection mapping.

Since opening her business about a year ago, she has found several ways to make her desserts stand out.

She is also the creator of a "cake on the go," a dessert made in a portable jar. Blandford has sold out of the product during various events. Blandford said her next project is finding a way to make "cake on the go" available in vending machines.

In addition to meeting with clients to design signature cakes, Blandford also operates a mobile food truck she calls the Sugar Shed.

While Blandford said her vision for her business had once been a brick and mortar store with a cozy fireplace and hardwood floors, she likes the freedom that her business gives her to serve customers across Michigan and Indiana.

The individualized projection mapping cakes are available for purchase. To make an order, customers can contact Blandford via Facebook at facebook.com/allovercreationsbakery.

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