Using a computer and an edible printer to print an intricate, colorful design onto a delicious cake is an exercise in pure decadence. What better way to harness bleeding-edge technology than to incorporate it into your kid’s next birthday cake?
These edible ink printers are changing the way we use technology, in more delightfully satisfying ways than we thought possible.
Getting a Taste for Edible Technology
Edible ink printing may have started as early as 1981 when George J. Krubert applied for a U.S. patent for food printing. Today, proprietary cake printers like InkEdibles’ CakePro series can print directly onto cakes or other confections such as cookies, macarons, marshmallows. and doughnuts.
Recent trends have made edible printing so accessible that, to start, one needs only to purchase an inexpensive inkjet printer and of course, edible printing supplies. As it turns out, most modern inkjet printers are capable of using edible inks via special cartridges or refills.
Deciding the purpose of the printer, whether for regular use or edible use, should be done at the onset as mixing edibles and even trace amounts of regular, toxic ink can be harmful, even ldeadly . For this reason, ink cartridges and refill containers shouldn’t be repurposed for the task of edible printing either.
While the major inkjet manufacturers like Canon or Epson haven’t yet offered a dedicated edible ink printer, many edible ink packages do offer their printers as part of the deal. Canon is a popular choice as it has removable components that make it so much easier to clean.
As you can imagine, edible ink is a lot more viscous than regular ink. R egular maintenance, as well as the ability to disassemble and clean the printer heads, is very important. While many edible ink bundles come with cleaning kits that remove clogs and dried ink patches, other users have resorted to using steam to keep their delicate printer heads in tip-top shape.
Sampling the Consumables
Edible ink is basically food coloring that can pass through an inkjet’s delivery system like normal ink. This should come from a trusted manufacturer and pass all safety food tests as required by the Food and Drug Administration in order to ensure safety and good health.
As the attributes of an edible ink’s color pigmentation are essentially the same as regular ink, edible ink may be used to create stunningly beautiful high-resolution images in full color onto frosting or icing sheets. These, by the way, should also be certified by the FDA. A final component is the plastic backing which allows the sheets to slide through an inkjet’s paper feed.
After printing, the plastic sheet is removed and the icing sheet is applied to the frosting on top of the cake. Some edible ink packages have icing sheets that are pre-cut for smaller pastries like cupcakes.
There is no limit to what can be printed. W hatever image that can be produced by a PC can be transferred onto any delightful piece of confectionary.
An Appetite for the Future
Besides the ability to produce incredibly beautiful and customized cakes for any occasion, edible ink printers really come into their own in the world of business and marketing.
Imagine a client meeting, where cakes and pastries are served, all sporting the company’s logo. Having a prospective customer digest your company brand is a subtle, yet powerful, metaphor and the ultimate call to action.
Print-on-demand for t-shirts is already a hugely popular online service and a natural extension of this would be a print-cake-on-demand business. Already, services such as PhotoCake Online have been successfully established, with many more following suit .
Truly, the world of edible ink printers offers a banquet of possibilities and is limited only by one’s imagination.