Edible Cake Printers
For years, we’d seen the work of edible cake printers on cakes purchased from chain stores such as Carvel or Baskin Robbins. Today, there are many cake decorators using this technology in their bakeries and hobbyists using them at home.
The Canon printer is a common choice for use as an edible printer as many of the food coloring cartridges are made to fit a Canon; however, there are different edible ink cartridges on the market to fit different printers. The most important part of using a printer for edible printing is that the printer be used exclusively for edible printing. If you print from a printer that has been used with regular ink, the toxins from that ink will get on the icing sheet and contaminate it.
This is a video I filmed at Icing Images' booth at the ICES Convention in Lexington, KY. It features renowned cake decorators Peggy Tucker, CMSA, and Colette Peters, who has inspired me and whose books I own, using icing sheets with prints that were printed with an edible cake printer to make lollipops with isomalt.
The difference between edible ink and regular ink is that there are no anti-coagulants to prevent the ink from thickening up. Edible ink printers require frequent cleanings to get any dried up ink out of the system which could prevent the printer from working properly.
Working with an Edible Printer
If you purchase a printer to use for your bakery or home business, it’s typically because you have the order volume to warrant it. If you only see yourself using an edible image once in a while, you’re better off just uploading an image or selecting a print to order and have shipped to you. Leave yourself some time to get it delivered.
If you decide to acquire an edible printer, many come in packages with the edible ink and some icing sheets to work with. Edible paper (also called icing sheets or frosting sheets) comes in different sizes – letter size, legal size and in pre-cut shapes such as circles and squares. If you are covering cookies or cupcakes, you might prefer the icing sheets with pre-cut 3” circles.
Working with Edible Paper
You have several different printing options when printing on icing sheets. Icing sheets come in many different colors, but most people print on white. There are also different qualities of icing sheets and they vary in taste. Some are very thin and taste like cardboard; I prefer the premium icing sheets sold by IcingImages.com. They taste good, are thicker, and have the flexibility to conform to curved shape of a cake.
1. Scanning a picture – you can use your edible cake printer just as you would any printer by scanning a photo or print and inserting an icing sheet into the printer. Be sure to allow the edible ink to dry before you touch it so it does not smear.
2. Printing an image from your desktop – If you are not concerned with filling your entire icing sheet with your image, you can simply print any image saved in your computer. If you want to modify that image to print to a certain size or print that in multiples on pre-cut shapes, then your best bet is to upload that image to a software program provided by an edible imaging company. Their software allows you to control your printing options according to the size you want and the number of images on the icing sheet you would like to print.
3. Printing a design to cover a cake – You can literally choose from thousands of designer prints licensed for edible imaging use and print them out with cut lines if you want to guidelines to assist you in cutting to the height of the cake or if you want to cut a certain size for the width of a ribbon. This is also performed with online software which allows you to print from your own edible cake printers.
There are endless design possibilities when working with edible cake printers. You can do everything from covering a portion to the entire cake surface with a design, use the print to create decorations such as bows, apply the design to gum paste or fondant decorations, combine a design with Isomalt to create a cake topper and the list goes on.
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