We’ve long been using printers for work, school and personal stuff, but few have actually thought of using them to create food. Naturally, you can’t eat plain paper or consume toxic printer ink, but you can use a printer with edible ink and print on icing sheets to print anything from photos, words and designs. Those images can then be incorporated into designs for cakes, cookies, cupcakes and other desserts.

You can take an existing photo and scan it into the printer or use a photo from your computer and print it out to create a custom cake top featuring the birthday person. You may have seen this on cakes sold at Baskin’ Robbins stores. The process is simple enough to do and is far more versatile than you would imagine.

Photos can become photo galleries on a cake featuring different moments from the person or couples life. How great would this be for a couple celebrating a 50th anniversary?

When you consider the possibilities of scanning or printing different designs, any event theme can be reflected in the dessert you serve. If a child is having a birthday party with a cartoon character theme, you can easily download an image from the internet of that character, print it out and feature it on the cake.

The icing sheets are applied to the various desserts by using moisture, i.e. a thin coat of piping gel works. They come with a plastic back to protect them and prevent them from drying out. When applying them to the cake, the plastic backing is removed. They are just smoothed on using your fingers.  You can work with strips cut to size or cut out different shapes. For instance, you might print out a valentine themed print with hearts and then use a punch to cut out hearts. Those hearts could be placed directly on the cupcake, cookies or cake or applied to fondant, gum paste or modeling chocolate to create different types of decorative appliques.

If using a printer with edible ink, that printer must be dedicated only to edible ink and not mixed with toxic ink. The printer should be used at once weekly to prevent the nozzle from clogging. (Edible inks don’t contain the anti-clogging agents that toxic printer inks do).

The designs you can create with edible ink give the impression that you spent hours creating hand painted designs and allow even the most inexperienced cake decorator to add sophistication to a dessert.