The resemblance was first brought to our attention on Twitter by Nicola Pravato, an Oakland-based blogger who, like Sabbath, hails from Australia. Pravato first came across Sabbath’s work online last year. Sabbath’s designs were especially fresh in Pravato’s mind after reading an airline magazine article on a flight to Australia at Christmas.
So when blogger and cookbook author David Lebovitz, whom Pravato follows on Facebook, shared The Post’s story, Pravato quickly picked up on the similarities.
“It irked me. Mainly because Maggie Austin is, quite obviously, exceedingly talented,” Pravato explained in an email. “Her work is gorgeous!”
On her website, Sabbath encourages home bakers to make cakes inspired by her designs and share them on Instagram using the hashtag #katherinesabbath. Currently, the hashtag brings up more than 9,000 results on the photo-centered social media network.
Home cooks are one thing: What about a professional who is charging customers? LaBaugh didn’t specifically tell us that these were her own designs, but she also didn’t volunteer that they were inspired by Sabbath until after we inquired. In a Facebook share, the bakery cited Sabbath “for her endlessly inspiring designs.” We reached out to Sabbath for comment, but she declined.
LaBaugh, too, initially declined to comment on the record, then released a statement saying all is cool between the two bakers.
“In the world of cake — particularly in the era of social media — new ideas and techniques quickly become part of trendsetting design vocabulary, and I’m always excited to see my work emulated by others,” LaBaugh said in the statement. “It was in that spirit that I made a couple of the cakes in our new collection an homage to Katherine Sabbath, who is an amazing person and whose work I’ve admired for a long time. She and I have been in touch and she, too, is flattered by being a source of inspiration. She has warmly wished all of us at Buzz Bakeshop the very best.”
In addition to the signature pool of chocolate ganache that coats the top of the cakes and drips down the side, there were other similarities between the overall look of some of LaBaugh’s and Sabbath’s cakes. Check them out below.
What do you think? Are they too close for comfort?
For her part, Pravato said she only wanted to make sure Sabbath was aware of the situation in case the designer wanted to touch base with Buzz.
“As a person who dabbles in design, credit makes a huge difference,” Pravato said. “I felt that Katherine deserved to be credited.”