Title:
Cake shield
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A cake shield is provided to ensure against contamination during candle extinguishing. The shield is a thin, preferably clear (to expose the icing of the cake) and disposable layer of plastic or paperboard which is preferably provided with a window for the candles to pass through. The window facilitates the placement and removal of the candles after extinguishing the same. The cake shield is preferably sufficiently large to protect much of the top and iced surface of the cake from germs during candle “blow out” and from saliva, also during candle extinguishing. The thin flat layer of the cake shield is supported by small, preferably integrally formed, legs which gently touch upon the top surface of the cake. After the candles are extinguished and removed, the shield is easily removed and the entirety of the device is discarded. The cake shield can be decorated or shaped to correspond to the occasion being celebrated or may be entirely plain to allow the icing to fully being exposed.



Inventors:
Langsam, Andrew S. (Armonk, NY, US)
Application Number:
10/430153
Publication Date:
11/11/2004
Filing Date:
05/06/2003
Assignee:
LANGSAM ANDREW S.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47G19/00; F21V35/00; (IPC1-7): F23D1/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
PRICE, CARL D
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
LEVISOHN, BERGER , LLP (NEW YORK, NY, US)
Claims:
1. A cake shield for a cake having a top iced surface comprising: a) a substantially planar and solid, thin layer of plastic overlying substantially only the top iced surface and not extending substantially over and down the sides of the cake, said layer having at least one window therethrough for selective receipt and removal of two or more candles therethrough, and b) at least one leg secured to the bottom of said layer, recessed inwardly from its edge and in contact with said top iced surface and, yet, said leg(s) being at least in height such that said layer of plastic of said cake shield is suspended above said top iced surface of said cake.

2. A cake shield as claimed in claim 1 which is transparent.

3. A cake shield as claimed in claim 1 wherein said cake shield is provided with at least three equidistant legs.

4. (Canceled).

5. A cake shield as claimed in claim 1 wherein said window is arcuate in shape.

6. A cake shield as claimed in claim 1 wherein said layer of plastic is circular.

7. A cake shield as claimed in claim 1 wherein said layer of plastic is rectangular.

8. A cake shield as claimed in claim 1 wherein said layer of plastic is shaped to correspond to a visual theme.

9. A cake shield as claimed in claim 1 wherein the edge of said window is perforated to allow none, partial or all of said window to be selectively opened to expose the portion of said iced surface of said cake superimposed by said window.

10. A cake shield as claimed in claim 1 wherein said layer of plastic is graphically decorated.

11. A cake shield as claimed in claim 10 wherein said layer of plastic further includes one or more of the following graphic elements: a name; the number of years for a birthday; a text greeting; the words: “Congratulations;” “Happy Birthday;” and “Happy Anniversary;” and a theme.

12. A cake shield as claimed in claim 1 wherein said window is recessed inwardly from the outside perimeter of said cake shield.

13. (Canceled).

14. A cake shield as claimed in claim 1 wherein said legs are integrally formed with said layer of plastic.

15. A cake shield as claimed in claim 14 wherein three of said legs are provided.

16. A cake shield as claimed in claim 1 wherein at least three of said legs are provided, said legs are equidistant from one another and not located beneath said window.

17. (Canceled).

18. (Canceled).

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0001] The present invention relates to providing protection to a cake during the process of blowing out candles on the cake. More specifically, Birthday, Holiday and Other Occasion Cakes (hereinafter often collectively referred to as “Occasion Cakes”) are often provided with candles. When the candles are blown out, the breath of air provided by the candle snuffer, i.e., the individual, can often be contaminated with infectious disease and/or saliva. The present invention is a simple, inexpensive, disposable, and visually pleasing device which allows the cake decorations to be easily seen, does not unnecessarily cover the entirely of the cake, allows the candles to be easily placed on the cake and removed after blowing them out (after they are first lit by a match) and then allows the cake to be sliced for serving. The cake pieces are then substantially free of saliva and airborne particles which could have otherwise been blown onto the cake by the person(s) responsible for blowing out the candles.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PRIOR ART

[0002] Birthday, Holiday and Occasion cakes are often decorated with icing. Many home bakers, commercial bakeries and mass merchants provide such cakes with icing designs with a particular motif or theme as, for example, Baby's 1st Birthday; a Baseball game; a Racecar; Barbie (if licensed); Graduation; Wedding, Bar Mitzvah, etc. These colorful cake decorations are meant to be visually pleasing and protected until the cake is sliced for serving.

[0003] Candles are frequently placed on the Birthday, Holiday and other Occasional Cakes to help commemorate the event being celebrated. After the candles are lit, by a match or other means, the person or persons who are involved in the commemoration are then asked to blow the candle or candles out to extinguish the same. Then, the candles are often first removed (although not necessarily) and then the cake sliced or cut for serving. This simple process of cake serving has been employed by tens of thousands for years.

[0004] Recently, SARS has become a public health concern. SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) is thought to be transmitted via airborne germs. Many people are currently wearing filtering type masks to prevent becoming infected with SARS and other airborne diseases. Breathing by those outside of one's immediate family, even sometimes within ones' immediate family, onto food which is about to be ingested carries health risks and is not a pleasant thought. The thought of ingesting a piece of Occasion cake which has just been blown (or accidentally spat upon by youngsters whose birthday it is) while trying to extinguish the candles may ruin an otherwise pleasurable event. Indeed, some members may be sufficiently nauseated by the prospect, independent of the possibility of contracting an airborne disease, that they might not eat the slice of cake served upon them.

[0005] U.S. Pat. No. 4,721,455 relates to a birthday cake cover and candle holder. That device shows a device which is configured to be inserted into the birthday cake which is then provided with a disc-like element which slides over the rod inserted into the cake and which supports the candles. This device is multiple pieces, does not allow the candles to rest upon the cake but, rather, supports them above the surface of the cake, is relatively sturdy (and consequently, not economically disposable) to support the candles, and requires molding of the device to accommodate the number of candles intended to be supported in the recesses of the disc. Removing the device requires a first removal of the disc-like support from the supporting post and then removing the disc-like post.

[0006] The present invention, in contrast, is extremely inexpensive, is intended to be one piece, and disposable. It does not physically support the individual candles and thus it need not be as sturdy (and therefore is less expensive to manufacture and purchase by the consumer). Rather, the present invention contemplates that the candles be passed through an opening in the thin plastic shield. Then, the candles, after being extinguished can be pulled out of the cake and out through the same opening in the shield. By being inexpensive and thin plastic, in contrast to the device of U.S. Pat. No. 4,721,455, the present invention is a single piece which gently rests upon the cake, supported by small legs on the cake's top surface, and, therefore, the cake's visual decoration is more visible, less distorted, and less likely to be smeared. The weight and bulk of the device of the '455 patent may result in a mishap and smear the icing when it is installed onto the cake and when the device is sought to be removed for cake serving. Also, by eliminating the recesses for the individual candles, as the present invention does, the cake shield of the present invention can be more easily decorated with a wide variety of designs, themes and motifs. Also, in an alternate embodiment of the present invention, the cake shield of the present invention can be die cut and decorated to a desired shape. Furthermore, it should be apparent that the present invention, by being thin plastic, disposable and inexpensive, may allow for a wide variety of shapes and/or decorations thereon such that cake decoration at the bakery (or in the home) can be reduced. All that may be needed for an effective and visually pleasing Occasion Cake is the standard icing on the top and sides of the cake and the top edges. The thin plastic shield can then provide the other decoration, with or without the name of the occasion or person be celebrated.

[0007] U.S. Pat. No. 5,096,274 shows a candle bearing ceremonious cake shield. This device is large and bulky, yet disclosed as transparent and disposable. It requires a plurality of depressions that are intended to hold and support candles and a slotted groove in the horizontal cover for containing and supporting wax candle numerals. The sidewalls of the cake cover provide arched windows and outward steps. The cover is also constructed with a plurality of perforations which allow the lower section of the sidewall to be torn away to lower the total height of the cover. This device is a cake protector and is difficult to mold and seems cumbersome to store. Contrastingly, the present invention is a simple die-cut thin plastic sheet of a preferred shape (circular, square, rectangular, oval, or even theme shape, e.g., race car, baseball diamond, horse, etc.) which is inexpensive to manufacture and very easy for a retailed to store in a minimum of space. The flatness of the sheet of plastic allows for the sheet to be decorated, as desired. Alternatively, the sheet can be simple and entirely clear plastic to allow the entire cake decoration to be seen there through. Disposal of the cake shield of the present invention is easy and takes a minimum amount of refuse space, too.

[0008] In addition, as will be explained, the present invention does not support the candles thereon so that it can be made in thin, transparent, inexpensive plastic. The candles are intended to pass through one or more windows or openings in the cake shield. Thus, the candles are placed through the opening(s) in the shield prior to illuminating the same and after candle extinction, the candles are easily removed through the same window.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0009] The present invention is a thin, clear or transparent, plastic shield for an Occasional Cake. The shield is provided with three or more thin, plastic legs which gently touch upon the top surface of the cake. In this manner the decorated icing of the cake is not significantly impacted by the shield. The shield is provided with one or more windows or openings which allow candles to be passed there through for placement and removal. The shield can be decorated with appropriate names, messages, themes or blank so as to allow the entirety of the cake's top surface to be seen and appreciated. After use, the shield is removed and discarded, providing a sanitary clean and relatively unbreathed upon top cake surface. The recipients of the sliced cake are thus more confident that they have not been accidentally exposed to airborne diseases or saliva by the person(s) responsible for extinguishing the candles.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0010] FIG. 1 is a perspective, exploded view of the present invention, an occasion cake and a set of candles, consistent with the preferred embodiment of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS AND THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT OF THE INVENTION

[0011] A cake 100 is shown. For illustration purposes the cake is shown as a simple round cake. The cake is provided with icing 200 which also is provided on the outside edge of the top of the cake and thus extends above the surface of the iced top of the cake. The present invention, in one embodiment corresponds in size and shape to the size and shape of the cake for which it is intended as a shield. Thus a 10″ round cake should use a 10″ round shield. However, an 8″ round shield could also be used, all within the discretion of the cake presenter. Alternatively, however, the shield of the present invention can be rectangular for a round cake, can be shaped in a fanciful design (like a racecar; a baseball diamond; a Christmas tree; the number 1, etc., depending on the Occasion sought to be commemorated by the cake) or can deliberately mismatch to the shape and/or size of the cake. For further example, the round shield can be smaller than the cake's top surface or can be a round shape even for a rectangular top surface of a cake. These are all within the scope of the present invention and within the discretion of the shield manufacturer/designer/supplier.

[0012] The cake 100 is preferably iced with frosting 200 of any conventional type. Generally, the cake supplier to the customer and the customer's presentation of the cake to the recipient or person(s) being commemorated desire that the icing be maintained in a pristine and clean fashion, i.e., without smearing. Toward that end the shield of the present invention is provided. In one embodiment of the present invention, the cake is iced and decorated, for example, with the person's name, Birthday # (age of the recipient) and other colorful icing decorations. In an alternate use of the present invention, the cake is a simple yet fully iced cake but not decorated for the shield of the present invention provides the information, text, age, and fanciful decorations. This allows a consumer to buy a generic cake and supply the shield to conform the cake to the occasion. Thus, bakeries and mass merchants, e.g., Sam's Club, BJ's, Costco, etc. need not have an icer on premises for the cakes to be used for occasions, rather, the buyer can select one cake from the generic offered product line and select the particular shield which offers the best match of colors, design, information, theme, etc. to that which the buyer desires. The present invention thus shortens the time for a consumer to purchase a decorated cake in that it no longer needs to be personally decorated since the shield provides the same and, in addition, provides a sanitary and hygienic protection of the cake.

[0013] The cake shield 10 is a thin, inexpensive, substantially transparent planar surface. It is desirably plastic but can be thin paperboard, too. As mentioned, in the preferred embodiment it conforms to the size and shape of the cake sought to be protected or is die cut to a fanciful shape to match the theme desired. The cake shield is either wholly plain, partly decorated or fully decorated with conventional ink-type printing thereon. In the wholly plain version, the entirety of the underlying cake is visible and the decoration of the cake is appreciated. In the partially decorated version, some text, information, some decoration is provided and, yet, some of the residual cake icing and decoration is visible therethrough. In the fully decorated version, the cake shield may not be transparent but is covered with the decoration provided by the manufacturer, as selected by the consumer.

[0014] The cake shield, as mentioned, is preferably the size and shape of the cake. However, other shapes and sizes can be used. Also, the cake shield can, although not desired, extend over the edge or outside circumference of the top surface of the cake. In any event, the cake shield must present a minimum surface area such that some, preferably much, if not all of the cake's top surface is not blown directly upon when candles are extinguished by blowing them out.

[0015] The cake shield 10 is provided with legs 12, thin pieces of integrally molded plastic which support the cake shield above the surface of the cake. The legs 12 extend downwardly from the underside of the cake shield 12. In the preferred embodiment, at least 3 such legs 12 are formed with the cake shield to provide a sturdy support for the cake shield such that it is level, parallel to the cake's top surface, but just above the cake's top surface. It is anticipated that the height of the legs should be in the range of about ½ inch to 1 inch, but in any event at least long enough to suspend the cake shield above the highest point of the icing's upward extension above the cake's top surface including the icing on the edge of the cake. The number of legs may be varied to accommodate the size and shape of the shield. In an alternate embodiment, a single leg may be provided, centrally located of sufficient rigidity and strength to support the entire cake shield in a relatively level manner. However, it is currently contemplated that multiple smaller legs 12 are more aesthetically pleasing than the single large cake shield-supporting leg. If three legs 12 are provided they can be equidistant from one another.

[0016] The cake shield is further provided with one or more (preferably one) windows or cut-outs 14. These are die cut by the manufacturer although it is within the scope of the invention to provide the cake shield with the window or cut-out intact yet connected to the balance of the cake shield by perforations. Then, if desired, the window or cut-out can be partially, incrementally or fully removed to open up that length of window or cut-out needed for the number of candles 300 to be placed on the cake. In the preferred embodiment, the window(s) or cut-out(s) is arcuate and conforms to the shape of the outside circumferential wall of the cake shield. This is intended to be visually more pleasing than a straight line window or cut out. Of course, many or only one window or cut-out 14 can be provided to accommodate one or many candles, as desired. The shape, contour and sizing of the window or cut-out 14 must be adequate to accommodate the candles intended to be used with the current invention. In the preferred embodiment of the present invention, the bottom end of the candle(s) 300 are passed through the window or cut-out 14 until they are placed into the icing on the top surface of the cake 100. However, it is also within the scope of the present invention for the cake shield 10 not to be provided with any window or cut-out if no candles are used or if candles are still desired for the cake shield to substantially protect the cake yet allow the candles to be placed into the top surface of the cake, yet not through a window of the cake shield. So, for example, in the case of a rectangular cake 8″×10″, a cake shield could be provided 8″×9″ and the candles could be placed into the open 8″×1″ area. The cake is still substantially protected from the extinguisher's germs. The same concept can be adopted for round cakes, i.e., either a smaller round cake shield can be used or the cake shield may be round of the same diameter yet a portion of the shield cut off (circumscribed by a chord and a portion of the circumference) for the candle placement. The window(s) or cut-out(s) 14 can be secured to the cake shield's planar, thin layer of plastic by perforations. The user of the shield can then determine how much, if at all, and when, the window of the shield should expose that portion of the top iced surface of the cake superimposed by the shield defining the window 14. All, part or none of the shield may be removed to define the window area for the candles 300 until the candles are necessarily put in place.

[0017] In use, a cake 100 is provided with icing 200. The appropriate and selected cake shield 10, decorated or not is provided. The small legs 12 facilitate easy placement of the shield on the top surface of the cake. Then, the candles 300 are placed into the cake. In the case of a window or cut-out 14, the bottom ends of the candles 300 are passed through the window or cut-out 14 and pressed gently into the cake. Where the window is defined by the extension of the cake shield's layer of plastic until separated therefrom by ripping of the perforations, the window is made by removing all or a portion to expose that portion of the cake needed for the candles. A small tab (not shown) may be provided to facilitate the removal of the plastic of the cake shield to define the size and shape of the window or cut-out 14. The candles 300 can then be lit by match or other means. Then, the cake is presented to the recipient-honoree. The appropriate song, if any, sung and the recipient can blow out the candles by puffing air onto the flickering flames. The now-extinguished candles can now be removed from the cake with the lower ends of the candles being pulled out of the cake by grabbing the tops of the candles (being careful not to burn oneself from the heat of the formerly lit candles). Then, the cake shield 10 is removed and discarded. The cake is now ready for slicing and serving, as desired. A hygienic cake is served to the guests, substantially free of the airborne germs which may or may not be present in the recipient's lungs and system and also substantially free, in the case of children, from saliva which is often associated with their efforts at blowing out candles. A good time and anxiety free time will be had by all.