By now, many are familiar with the cake controversy at Donald Trump’s presidential inauguration. It was pointed out on social media that one of the celebratory cakes that was created for The Salute to Our Armed Services Ball was almost an exact replica of one that was used at former President Barack Obama’s second inauguration in 2013.
The creator of the original cake, celebrity baker Duff Goldman, discovered that his cake had been recreated by another baker. The two cakes both had nine layers, with stripes on the bottom, a presidential banner and seal motif as the second level, shiny emblems adorning a middle section, and a top part with stars shooting toward the sky.
As it turns out, the baker who made the Trump cake was commissioned to create a replica. Terry McIsaac of Buttercream Bakeshop in Washington, D.C. told The Washington Post that an unnamed member of Trump’s team contacted them a few weeks ago on short notice to copy the original. She says that she initially offered to use the original cake as an inspiration, but it was insisted that the cake be a replica.
According to an Instagram post from Buttercream Bakeshop, profits from the cake are being donated to The Human Rights Campaign, the largest civil rights organization in America working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer equality.
The controversy around this cake is of intellectual property. The laws concerning the copying of other bakers’ cakes are complicated, and in this particular instance that would be a discussion on copyright, which protects artistic expression. Quartz has an excellent summary of cakes as intellectual property, which you can read here.
Fortunately, Duff Goldman took the recreation as an honor, congratulating Buttercream Bakeshop on a fantastic job. It is typically an obligation of bakers not to harm one another under The International Association of Culinary Professionals Code of Ethics, so a friendly resolution was a great ending to this story.