Thursday, November 3, 2011

Tips on Using Edible Ink to Decorate Cakes

I've been getting a few requests for guest posting on 6 Bittersweets recently from writers unknown to me. My general policy is to only invite guest posts from friends/bloggers whose work I admire and follow personally, so I've turned most of those offers down. However, Melissa of happened to make a very specific offer that I couldn't resist 8). As you may have noticed, I've been getting more into cake decorating in the last few weeks and found myself wondering about edible ink printing on many occasions. Thus when Melissa offered to share the basics about edible ink cake decoration, I made an exception and accepted. I hope you'll find these ideas as fun and exciting as I do. Please give a warm welcome to Melissa!

Caketress-Vintage Writing Edible Ink Wedding Cake Idea
Cake by The Caketress (decorated by hand but a similar effect could be achieved with edible ink sheets)
Have you ever marvelled at wonderfully intricate cake decorations and the steady hands that created them? Perhaps you’ve seen mouth watering treats in bakery windows featuring images of superheroes, wedding celebrations or portraits. Well we’re going to let you into a secret. These designs are not the handiwork of highly skilled artists, they are in fact printed images created using edible inks and wafer thin edible paper. Edible ink is a relatively new concept that has been around since 2003 and has taken the hassle and hard work out of producing stunning sweet treats. Here’s a quick look at how you can use edible inks to transform your home baking and wow your friends and family with your cake-decorating creativity!

Getting Started

You can print using edible ink if you have a HP, Canon or Epson printer. You’ll need to buy edible ink cartridges and special edible paper, which can also be called icing sheets. Edible inks are formulated using food coloring that matches standard printer inks – so the colors from your photo or image should be the same as when you print it using standard inks and paper. You can buy refills for your cartridges, which keeps the cost of replacing your colors down. It’s also a good idea to purchase a non-toxic cleaner to keep your printer in tip-top condition.

Photo 1
Choosing Your Design

Once you’ve got your inks and paper, you can start to get creative. You can use any kind of design software to create your images, download pictures online, or use some of your favorite photographs as inspiration; the only limit is your own imagination.

Celebration Cakes
If you’re planning a birthday, anniversary or christening celebration why not add a personal touch to your cake? You can print your favorite photographs and place them directly onto your cake, creating a uniquely individual effect that’s sure to become a talking point at any party.

Photo 3
Cake by Mili Cake

You can use your computer to create your own edible stencils. Simply create a template of your design on your pc, print it using edible inks and paper and place it onto your cake. You can use frosting, ink pens or icing to fill in your design, creating a precise outline – steady hands not required!

Photo 4
Image via Wedding Points
Edible Ink Pens
To add text or carry out detailed decorations, an edible ink pen is the best tool for the job. These are available in a variety of colors and can also be used to create edible gift cards or decorate plates and glasses too, the perfect way to showcase your culinary masterpiece.

Cute Cupcakes
You could also try adding miniature edible prints to cupcakes, muffins and cookies. This is a much less fiddly way of integrating intricate designs to your baking than free-hand icing. All you have to do is print off your design, no matter how complicated, and trace over the image using your favourite frosting or icing. Why not try printing a variety of photos or designs and turn your cookies or cup cake collection into a creative collage?

Photo 6
Bijou Biscuits
The image below shows just how intricate and creative you can get using edible inks. These delicious looking morsels feature old fashioned Christmas card designs with an astonishing level of detail. Leave them out for Father Christmas, use them as stocking fillers or hang them on the tree. Miniature works of art like these deserve to be shown off!

Photo 7
Cookies by Sweetopia
Edible Tattoos
Finally, there’s more fun to be had with edible inks than just baking cakes. As edible ink pens are water based, you can use them to draw temporary tattoos on your little ones (or even on yourself!). You can use edible paper to print off a tattoo design and try it out before going for deciding to go under the needle for real. And the really good news? If you don’t like your tattoo or get a little bit carried away, it can be removed with just a few licks!

Author Bio: This post comes from Clickinks, an online distributor of printer ink cartridges that carries a full range of products for the top 25 printer brands on the market.


  1. Thanks for sharing. I learn something new today :)

  2. wow, didn't know something like this existed. super cool!

  3. I didn't know that there is edible ink for dekorating cakes. With that ink, everything is possible

  4. I'm glad you guys like it and that it introduced you to something new :). I'm really tempted to buy the edible ink and paper now!

  5. I've always wondered how exactly they did this in bakeries. Cool post

  6. I am always intrigued and in awe of the potential in using edible ink. I am still learning the "flooding" technique and kind of having fun with it :) Thanks for sharing this great tips. Great bookmark!

  7. Gorgeous! I've used edible images on cookies, but never on cakes. Thanks for the eye candy and informatiion!

  8. Wow-That's very cool! I've never seen cakes like that, but looks like a fun technique to try. Thanks for sharing!

  9. Amazing.. Wish I could also do it.. .

  10. It would be so fun to take a picture at a family event, print it out & put it on top of a ready-made cake for everyone to eat ~ awesome!

  11. Gorgeous and interesting post, Xiaolu. Beautiful cakes and decorations :)

    Hugs <3

  12. Lovely!! I do not use colours at all but I really love this as an art! Great work.

  13. Wow, who knew you could print using edible ink at home? I assumed you would need some expensive whizz bang printer for this! I love the stencil cake! I'm really leaning towards a stencil cake as our wedding cake, and I love the red stencil as red is my favourite colour.

  14. Very interesting post! Never thought of using edible ink in a printer before.

  15. These cakes are crazy-awesome. Thanks for the tips!

  16. Love that cake! Another informative and helpful post too. :)

  17. Lovely post! But just to clarify the first cake done by myself was done my hand and not edible images. It's a great technique but just too cookie cutter for me.
    Great post.
    - The Caketress

  18. Wow... This is completely new idea of cake to me and it was fun learning something new!

  19. Lots of information. Edible ink is new to me and I loved the idea on how innovative can one get with these!! Thanks for te amazing post!


I love hearing from you all! Please leave me a message if you have questions, advice, or just to let me know you stopped by. Your feedback is always very much appreciated. Thanks! <3 Xiaolu