Cake Decorating Made Easy with Edible Inks

If you've become a fan of the cake competition shows, you know how intricate and time consuming it is to create a designer, custom cake. Some come away from watching these shows with the impression it only takes the hour long show to produce these cakes, but in reality, many cakes take upwards of 30 hours to create. When it comes to implementing designer touches, there are a few exceptions to the rule. One way to give the impression you've spent countless hours decorating a cake is to use a designer print or photo that has been printed in edible ink on to an icing sheet.

Let's say a mom wanted to make her daughter's wedding cake but only knew some basic cake decorating techniques. She could step it up a notch by using the daughter's wedding stationery as a design inspiration and scanning the design into the printer. The printer would then spit out an icing sheet with an edible design. That design could then either be directly applied to the sides of the cake, cut into shapes with scissors or a punch or applied to fondant or gum paste decorations which would just bring a hint of the design into the cake.

You are certainly not limited to scanning. Any photo already in your computer or downloaded and any print you download can be sent to the printer. Personal photos can be used to top a cake or incorporate into picture frames to adorn the cake.

Taking the design skills a step further, you can take any design you print out on the icing sheet and run it through an electronic cutting machine. The machine can be used for more difficult designs with small, precise cuts or to neatly cut out letters in certain fonts. The electronic cutting machine comes with some pre-programmed patterns and other cartridges are available, to do scrolls, repetitive patterns that would take forever to cut by hand, numbers, etc.

Even if you want to create your own hand-drawn design but need to create multiples of it to put on the cake, scanning it and printing out as many as you need is so much faster and convenient than individually creating them on the cake. You can hand paint a design on paper, scan it and the icing sheet will reveal your brush strokes, making it look like you hand painted the design on the cake.

Edible inks not only make the cake decorator's life easier; they open up so many advanced design possibilities the decorator may never have attempted with other mediums.

Theresa Happe is a cake decorator who enjoys working with edible inks and icing sheets to create custom designs for cakes.

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