The Editable Inkjet-Printed Cake is Here

A cake topped with a photograph of a tiger, printed on edible paper. Source: Wikipedia

We know that inkjet printing is remarkably versatile, with it being used from printing office documents, photos, signs, and even printing on packaging, and it’s also been adapted for 3D printing. Recently though, it’s also been adapted to print with edible inks for frosting and decorating pastries such as cakes, cookies, and cupcakes – using conventional desktop color inkjet printers.

How? The key is special editable paper that’s fed through the printer. Images are then printed with special cartridges containing edible food-color “inks.” The sheet is then fitted and placed on, for instance, a cake, as shown above.

The edible paper is made of starches and sugars and is said to be harmless when ingested.

According to Wikipedia, the first editable used was rice paper, while modern versions use frosting sheets that are printed on. The frosting sheet generally dissolves into the pastry, and both it and the “inks” are said to be consumed without harmful effects. Today’s edible paper may be printed on by any standard inkjet printer, according to Wikipedia.

Wikipedia also notes:

“Any inkjet or bubblejet printer can be used to print, although resolution may be poor, and care should be taken to avoid contaminating the edible inks with previously used inks. Inkjet or bubblejet printers can be converted to print using edible ink, and cartridges of edible ink are commercially available.”

A brief Google search turns up products such as the Kopykake Editable Ink set that consists of five color ink cartridges that retail for $115.54, and are said to be compatible with various Canon MG color inkjet printers.

A quick visit to Amazon shows an interesting array of editable paper, and conventional, new Canon-brand inkjet printers bundled with editable ink sets and editable paper.

Should you try this? No. First, you will definitely risk gumming-up and ruining the printer. Conventional desktop inkjet printers aren’t designed to be used with third-party edible inks. Second, any inkjet printer that’s been used for printing with conventional inks will still have ink remaining in its system; this may likely be mixed-in with editable ink, and is certainly hazardous to ingest.

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