A few years ago, I created a cake that was very beautiful but hell to make. This one:
Every time a new client asked me to do it, it was bad news and good news. Bad news because those embossed fondant tiles took me up to 4 hours to make. The tools I used were for a totally different purpose (cutting jelly), and so every tile was a labour of labour. The good news is, I could charge a premium for such strenuous work, so I kept saying yes.
Soon, the exertions got so bad that my shoulders stiffened to a permanent hunch. This cannot go on. Those tiles could be done in a fraction of the time if the grooves were carved into a rolling pin. So this was when I decided to custom-make my own roller.
My dream rolling pin is going to be long and easy to hold, and so I say 10 inches. It has to last me a lifetime, so it can't be one of those cheap-looking plastic or aluminium ones that dent easily. It must be hygienic and easy to clean, which means it can't be made of wood. It must have deeply-carved grooves, so they'll give me beautifully clear 3D impressions. And I want to use it for other stuff, like cookies or pies, or hitting the husband on the head. Yes, 10 inches is a grand idea.
I also decided to mass produce these rolling pins because I've been asked so many times what tools I use and I've never had the heart to tell the truth (that the tools are cheap plasticky ones I found at a dollar-store and because of them I schedule massages every 2 weeks). Now that I've got the proper tools to do the job, others may benefit, no? So I found myself a 3D product designer to render my specifications. To make sure they work, I got them prototyped by a 3D printer.
ROUND 1: The narrow grooves were too narrow and the wide grooves were too wide. And the printer must not have used a top-tier machine, cos they had to print the rolling pins in halves then glue them together. And check out the yucky colour, like coffee-stained teeth. Back to the drawing board.
ROUND 2: Oooh, not bad. The grooves are deep and sharp now. The logo's looking beautiful. And then it hit me like a lightning bolt - the grooves on the left rolling pin are in the WRONG direction. My bad. Back to the drawing board.
ROUND 3A: I found a manufacturer and above is the first product sample. Mmm... smooth, pristine white colour. But what's this hole that so rudely interrupts the flow of my logo? A secret chamber for a cyanide pill when the cake fails? Reject!
ROUND 3B: I'd thought the sharper the better, but look what happened when I did the drop test - the edges split on impact. To prevent this, the edges must be blunted a little, said the manufacturer. But make sure they still give me deep grooves, said I. I like them the way I like my music.
ROUND 4: This is the final version and they're perfect! Such crisp sharp lines and curvy grooves. So smooth to hold and easy to use. I didn't make many of them, so order yours soon! And don't worry, you can go ahead and still charge a premium even though you have these tools. I won't tell.