This cake was made by Amy's Cakes and I am always amazed how nice her cakes look.
Second - When I saw this cake, I thought, I better get as much detail as possible.
The first tip is NOT to use a direct flash on the cake. A direct flash will destroy most if not all of the detail. Keep in mind that shadows help with dimension and this cake needs its dimensions shown off. :-D
I used my Nikon SB800 on the camera and pointed it to the wall next to the counter (camera left). It created a soft light on the left side of the cake and a soft shadow on the right side.
I used the same technique to photograph the back of the cake (I did the same for the side and a few close ups of the 'feet'.) The critical point is to diffuse the flash. I used the wall and it created a very soft large light that wrapped around the cake's features. If a wall isn't close enough to bounce off or if the wall is very dark, then have a guest with a light (hopefully white) shirt stand near the cake and bounce the flash off their shirt. I have a large and small reflector that I use when needed.
Another key point about photographing cakes is time. Rarely is there time to set everything perfect compared to a controlled shot at home or in a studio. Since this cake had some much character, I took more shots than I typically do for a 'flat' cake. Therefore, it is critical to get the shots of the cake as soon as possible. I try to get the shots as soon as I arrive to the event-reception. This buys me a few minutes and eliminates rushing. If you wait until minutes before the cake cutting, you might miss something.
I use the same technique as a wedding photographer when I am photographing a wedding cake. If special lights exist, use them to create drama. For example, if the party or wedding reception has a DJ that utilizes uplighting, then their lights create very nice accent lighting on the cake.
This was shot with my Nikon D300 and Tamron 17-50.
Pittsburgh Wedding Photographer