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Edible paper/transfers for fondant


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#1 chefette

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Posted 26 May 2005 - 07:14 AM

I noticed that several of the cakes at the Cakewalk event used very cool printed fondant. Was this done using the edible paper?

Wendy - did you end up using this on your playing board game cake?

What was your experience working with it?

What source do you reccomend?

I am psyched to try this out

#2 JeanneCake

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Posted 26 May 2005 - 01:29 PM

I use this frequently; I bought a Canon printer (but unfortuntely there's only one model printer that can handle the large size sheets, and I didn't buy that model. I will... soon) and use the KopyKake ink cartridges and edible sheets. It took my friend Beryl about a year to convince me that this was a good idea, and she was right - she's been using it on cookies, cakes and petit fours for a while. You really want the large size sheets to do wedding cakes.

They can be used on fondant or buttercream; mostly I use them on fondant. I have better results when I apply the fondant to the cake, let it start to "sweat" or at least feel cool to the touch (a few minutes at least) and then apply the sheet (it adheres better that way. Or cut the fondant to size and apply the sheet and then apply it to the cake, keeping in mind the dimensions you need. You want to go to the top edge, because it will fold and split the sheet if you try to go over the top edge of the cake). You can print the sheet in advance as long as you keep it in the sealed heavy-duty bag they come in. As I use up sheets, I keep the bags. If you leave the sheets out, even for a few minutes before printing on them, they get dry and brittle and become unusable. There was a problem with the pre-formed circle and card templates, the images didn't line up correctly so I stopped using those and just cut whatever shape I need from around the image.

If you use water, sugar glue or extract under the image, it will bleed through. Melted white chocolate is useful for sticking the edges down if needed. The cut edge of the sheet will be evident (or obvious depending on what it is) but I've found you can use the shaped scrapbooking scissors to cut a decorative edge.

For some things (like the magician cake I'm doing this weekend) I cut fondant shapes to the size I need and put the image on it and then put the fondant shape on the cake (think Jan Kish's display cake from the show).

Depending on how frequently you use the sheets, you need to clean the print heads and change the cartridges often. This is where the Kopykake people are making their $ - the software that comes "with" the stuff is useful for things like kids' cakes and for generic images (not licensed ones - those are available pre-printed).

#3 sherribabee

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Posted 26 May 2005 - 01:54 PM

This is where the Kopykake people are making their $ - the software that comes "with" the stuff is useful for things like kids' cakes and for generic images (not licensed ones - those are available pre-printed).

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FYI, their software is not Mac compatible, but I haven't found that I even need it.
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#4 JeanneCake

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Posted 26 May 2005 - 05:30 PM

I've never used their software either (which could be the reason why the prepare circle and business card templates didn't work); but I make very good use of a scanner :biggrin: I find interesting origami paper, wrapping paper and even wallpaper patterns to scan in and use. For kids, sometimes there's clip art or a google image that works. Usually I import the image into a Word document -because I'm most familiar with how to manipulate images in Word, so while my guess is that you could probably print directly from something like Photoshop, I don't know that for certain.

#5 simdelish

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Posted 26 May 2005 - 08:10 PM

I haven't seen this close-up, only in pictures... so forgive me, I am confused.

Is the fondant actually printed? do you have a mirror image you place against the fondant -- does it transfer to the "sweaty" fondant as you said-- and then you pull off the paper? Or are you simply placing printed edible paper right on top of (or against) the fondant, so it is really two things sandwiched together?

sorry for the dumb question, but I have read and re-read this thread, and it's not clear... :blink:

also, since i'm asking dumb questions... just want to get this straight: you use a regular computer printer, but use KK edible ink cartridges and edible paper that just happen to fit the regular computer printer?
and how do you clean? can you use the printer in between cake jobs for normal stuff, or must you have a dedicated "edible only" printer? thanks...
I like to cook with wine. Sometimes I even add it to the food.

#6 JeanneCake

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Posted 26 May 2005 - 09:58 PM

I use a regular Canon printer that I bought at Staples, and use the KK edible ink cartridges in it. I use this printer only for edible images, nothing else. There's a cleaning "kit" to clean the printhead that you need to use periodically depending on how frequently you're printing images.

The frosting sheets come from KK too; I buy them in bulk (as well as the cartridges and cleaning kit) from Pfeil and Holing because I don't have to pay shipping. The sheets are actually two pieces - the backing and the edible part. I don't have a package in front of me to list the ingredients but the frosting sheets are as thin as paper.

I usually scan an image, import it into Word, and print it out. Over the years, I've learned it is best to cut the image as soon as it comes off the printer instead of letting it dry first (if it dries too much it gets too brittle and can be impossible to cut cleanly) then I put it back in the heavy plastic bag the sheets come in so it stays somewhat pliable until I need it. This means that you have the thin edible "paper" part on top of the fondant (it can be a separate piece of fondant or what's on the cake already - fondant or buttercream). It will "meld" into buttercream (as long as it isn't crusted, I remember the salesperson saying. I only use an IMB'cream so this isn't an issue for me. He also said you could apply the frosting sheet directly to melted chocolate, but this isn't the case (sometimes instead of melting and cooling white chocolate, I use the Ghiradelli bars and wave a torch across the flat side to barely soften the chocolate. Then the image (usually the message part of the cake) gets put onthe chocolate I'm not crazy about this method because if the choc is too warm, it will mar the design.

At the time I bought this setup, the only printers that KK was supporting were Canon printers; the Lucks system uses something else. I wish I'd been paying closer attention because if you're going to do this to apply a pattern to the sides of a wedding cake (or other large size cake), you really want to use the bigger size sheet and there's only one printer type that can handle that size. Otherwise, there are lots of seams that have to be patched/planned very carefully. You still have seams with the bigger printer version, but not nearly as many as with the smaller sheets.

#7 chefette

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Posted 27 May 2005 - 04:49 AM

Here are a few of the cakes where it looks like they used the transfers:

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Posted Image


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This technique shouldn't be confused with the Jan Kish cake with its panels of flowers and fairies, all of which were individually hand-painted on pastillage or gumpaste--a much more difficult and skillful process. I can post some close ups later.

#8 chefette

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Posted 27 May 2005 - 05:55 AM

If you wanted to use this paper instead of a transfer sheet on chocolate - couldn't you just put the chocolate in the cooler for a few minutes to get it to generate a little sweat the facilitate the transfer?

Jeanne - does the 'paper' melt? I noted on some of the closeups that I took that you could discern some small wrinkles that must be the paper.

On the green cake - note the seam on the left side of the picture

and on the I Do I Do cake upper right you can see a little fold or something

Edited by chefette, 27 May 2005 - 05:57 AM.


#9 chefette

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Posted 27 May 2005 - 06:00 AM

It looks like this is one method that could be used to achieve very intense colors without adding huge quantities of color paste or painting the fondant.

Has anyone noted if there is a distint taste from the paper and ink?
Does it leave consumers with ink dyed tongues?

#10 BROWNSUGA

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Posted 27 May 2005 - 06:17 AM

ClickyHere's a previous discussion on this....

#11 chefette

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Posted 27 May 2005 - 06:22 AM

So which vendor have you tried?

PhotFrost
http://www.computerc...ing_sheets.html
"Not rice paper, potato paper, fondant or anything like that. They DON'T have a strange texture or taste. They are NOT hard to cut through. They DON'T add an extra layer or "skin" to your cake.

They really are frosting, specially blended and pressed ultra-thin onto a backing page to pass easily through our printer. Your images print out sharp & clear, just like a photo. "

Edible Expressions
http://www.cakencand...xpressions.html

Kopykake
http://www.kopykake.com/pc_faqs.html

are there others? is there a difference between the brands or are they pretty much all the exact same thing packaged and sold by different companies?

From an interesting article on wedding cake trends:
http://www.restauran...m?ArticleID=337

"Time is money," explains Bakels' Wilder. He notes that premade items allow less-skilled decorators to make high-quality cakes.

Computer technology has also simplified cake decorating. ... all of which used to take a skilled decorator hours to reproduce — can now be replicated by almost anyone in a matter of minutes. The Kopykake company's new Kopyjet printer, for example, prints scanned-in images — using food coloring — onto thin, edible sugar sheets. The sheets get placed atop cakes, blending in with the frosting. Kopyjet even has a tiling option that allows for, say, a company's logo to be placed on each cake slice.

#12 DiH

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Posted 27 May 2005 - 07:47 AM

So which vendor have you tried?

PhotFrost
"Not rice paper, potato paper, fondant or anything like that. They DON'T have a strange texture or taste. They are NOT hard to cut through. They DON'T add an extra layer or "skin" to your cake.

They really are frosting, specially blended and pressed ultra-thin onto a backing page to pass easily through our printer. Your images print out sharp & clear, just like a photo. "

Edible Expressions

is there a difference between the brands or are they pretty much all the exact same thing packaged and sold by different companies?

...scanned-in images — using food coloring — onto thin, edible sugar sheets. The sheets get placed atop cakes, blending in with the frosting.

View Post


Other than cakes, here's an example of how I've used this particular type of edible image:

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I get mine from DecoPac.

The paper that the image is printed on completely dissolves into the wet surface on which it is applied. In this case, it was dissolved in only a matter of minutes because of the wetness of the whipped cream. There is no detectable residue left behind.

As you can see, there's a remarkable difference between this type of edible image and the transfers as shown on the above cakes. The bottom two strike me more like something that is "glued" on... like a sheet of wallpaper, for lack of a better comparison, and look almost paper'ish to me.


Di

Edited by DiH, 27 May 2005 - 07:52 AM.


#13 chefette

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Posted 27 May 2005 - 08:11 AM

Interesting observation. It is possible that the green cake with the writing is in fact white chocolate ustilizing a transfer sheet and is not the edible paper/frosting sheet stuff. although it looks very thin.

I think that the cake artists were supposed to produce normal edible decorations and cake coverings but I am almost positive that in one case I saw someone 'fluffing' up a flower that I had assumed was gumpaste and in the case of the I Do I Do cake - I suppose it is possible that the cake artist did use normal paper - that would be a big dissapointment. But - it is a possibility I guess.

It just seems that it is disingenuous because it looked like alot of the attendees were brides out 'shopping' for their future cakes and if you did indeed use real paper...

Edited by chefette, 27 May 2005 - 08:12 AM.


#14 DiH

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Posted 27 May 2005 - 08:49 AM

Interesting observation.  It is possible that the green cake with the writing is in fact white chocolate ustilizing a transfer sheet and is not the edible paper/frosting sheet stuff.  although it looks very thin.

I think that the cake artists were supposed to produce normal edible decorations and cake coverings but I am almost positive that in one case I saw someone 'fluffing' up a flower that I had assumed was gumpaste and in the case of the I Do I Do cake - I suppose it is possible that the cake artist did use normal paper - that would be a big dissapointment.  But - it is a possibility I guess.

It just seems that it is disingenuous because it looked like alot of the attendees were brides out 'shopping' for their future cakes and if you did indeed use real paper...

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I think probably they're not using "real" paper, per se... it's just that "a wrinkle here and a seam there" does allow a certain amount of mystery to creep in.

Maybe Stev Klc or someone else "in the know" will catch wind of this thread and shed some educated insight.


Di

#15 JeanneCake

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Posted 27 May 2005 - 01:47 PM

I haven't used the RTU edible image sheets, I know they are a slightly different product than the KK frosting sheets (this is based on what KK told me when I got the system) but I don't know what the difference would or could be. The reason I went with KK was 1) beryl had been using it for a while and had no problems with it and 2) I could buy my own printer and not have to pay extra for the decorating company putting their name on a printer and 3) the KK sheets were easy to get.

The origami cake from Beryl and the I Do I Do striped one is very definitely the frosting sheet (well, I know for a fact that Beryl's is, she told me before she left!); the others (the yellow pattern could be a chocolate transfer sheet) I can't tell (and I didn't realize that Jan Kish had handpainted the panels, I've done similar things with antique prints supplied by clients, so I just guessed that's what it was. Sorry!)

The frosting sheet doesn't absorb moisture from fondant the way it does on buttercream so there's no melting/melding when you use it on fondant, but it does get soft when you use it on buttercream. And you have to measure carefully when you're trying to get it on the sides of a cake if the repeat matters! :blink: I like to print the image or design on regular paper just to get a "dry run" of what I need before I go to use the frosting sheet when it has to go around the sides of a cake. And if the cake isn't completely level and smooth all the way around, that's where you're likely to get wrinkling or it becomes more obvious that the cake is slightly off level.

#16 DiH

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Posted 27 May 2005 - 02:47 PM

Is this what they're using? $35-40 for one 9x16" sheet. :blink:


Di

#17 Wendy DeBord

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Posted 27 May 2005 - 09:06 PM

As I understand things, I look at it as theres two ways to do something like this.

1. So far this thread has talked about printing images onto an edible paper/sheet and then that is layed onto the cake. The better edible sheets really do dissolve into your buttercream and you can't detect any seperation as you eat it. Your placing on the image and then peeling away the non-edible sheet of paper that supports this thin edible paper as it's handled and printed on.

2. The other way I know of is there are printers that print edible ink dirrectly on gum paste, rolled fondant, chocolate plastic or any combo of those. You roll out your own dough so it could be any length. You do need to have the surface clean and the right texture (not to sticky nor too cornstarched). These systems are expensive (a place I worked at bought a used one about 10 years ago for somewhere between $5,000. and $10,000). When I did the cake mentioned in the thread previously linked to, this type of printer was used. The skill and knowledge to print using this method requires far more knowledge of colors and how the prints interact with your surface then the printed sheets method described above. At least as I saw it used, the owner really stuggled and rarely did a great job. I have to search for my links (I try to at another time) but I believe this is the method used by places like Elegant Cheesecakes and others.

The first cake in the photos shown as examples with the yellow and white flower pattern............to me (not being able to see this in person) it appears to be not printed but a stencil has been used. Typically I think of stencils when I see a single color being used with such a simple pattern. In addition, I've done similar..........and Kerry Vincents book details this method down to even using a folding pattern when laying the patterned fondant on the cake.........

The rest of the cakes look like they used edible sheets and transfered that onto their cake..........and not what I mentioned in my second method. The second method I mentioned, you can't get the fondant that thin and you probably wouldn't have wrinkles that appear quite like that. The "second methods" imperfections would prbably be, fondant that appeared to stretch and it would be thicker.

#18 chefette

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Posted 28 May 2005 - 05:32 AM

so, do you think that someone printing and transferring a very detailed pattern - like the kate spade stripe on the Ellen Baumwoll "I Do I Do" cake would be perceived as superior to a more simple design that was hand painted on or achieved by using a stencil?

#19 chefette

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Posted 28 May 2005 - 06:13 AM

here are some examples of hand done work

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airbrushing, painting and integrated use of 3-D flowers by Nhora de la Pava--layered on top of a printed transfer

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detailed stenciling and utilization of texturing as well as painting by Kerry Vincent


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use of applique but very clean and detailed by Martine


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handpainting and use of appliqued pieces by Katrina Rozelle


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detailed piping


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striping by rolling in, painting and applique


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very detailed painting by Jan Kish

#20 Wendy DeBord

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Posted 28 May 2005 - 06:34 AM

OH MY......how I love thos close-ups!!

No, of course hand painting is more difficult and skilled work. There is no comparision except to the over all design qualities.

I think the printed images have their place and they really have their place in busy kitchens. They do allow you to be a graphic designer, which is a very skilled and artistic position........

#21 JSkilling

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Posted 28 May 2005 - 07:54 AM

The de la Pava cake was one of my favorites so I love seeing this so close up. What do you mean by starting with a printed transfer? Is that the leaf design and then she built up from that?

The stencil technique is easy for me to transfer to cake since I have a houseful of stenciled walls, so I'm going to try this in the coming week or so.

Now, for the Kish cake.... I am soooooo slow at whatever I do so I've been trying to figure out how I'd get painting on the side of a cake without mold growing under me! Did she just paint on panels and then attach them to the cake? I know this was a dummy so she could have painted straight on this but for a real cake, there must be a way to prepare in advance the painted panels.

I love that green and pink cake. I think it's just classic.

The other one I loved was the square with the large red and blue flowers if I remember correctly. Very painterly and mod.
Josette

#22 JeanneCake

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Posted 28 May 2005 - 09:56 AM

so, do you think that someone printing and transferring a very detailed pattern - like the kate spade stripe on the Ellen Baumwoll "I Do I Do" cake would be perceived as superior to a more simple design that was hand painted on or achieved by using a stencil?

View Post


I think another factor to consider is price... for some clients, it comes down to what they can afford and are willing to spend. Only because I can remember that design while I'm writing this - take the Jan Kish design. The price difference between using a print transfer for a floral cameo or to handpainting (takes longer and costs more), that might be the deciding factor for a client. (Writing that up made me think of those magazine articles that show the designer outfit costing megabucks to a similar one for a lot less!)

Thanks for the close ups, they're fantastic!

#23 chefette

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Posted 28 May 2005 - 11:32 AM

on Nhora's cake - with the strawberries - It looks like a stencil or transfer with the vine/leaf/flower pattern onto the cake and then from there she built and dusted her blossoms straight on top of the print. I had actually thought that was all painted on - but when you look closely you can see that the vines are almost perfectly identical from one to another strip - but I think that if the was indeed a transfer - then that is a really good use.

On the Jan Kish Cake - you can do your panels in gumpaste or pastillage any time you want. They do not require any direct correlation in time to the production of the cake. You make and dry the panels, paint your scenes and then you just attach them to the cake when the time comes. She did also paint a decorative effect directly on the fondant.

If you are a slow worker - this is a style of decoration that would be worth considering - assuming you have artistic skills and can paint.

Re the use of the edible printed sheets - I think that they have great visual impact, they are very attractive, they are very well applied technically and have been used to good overall effect. In addition, the cake artists using those sheets also demonstrated other skills in decoration - Beryl's origami birds, piping closures, flowers...

I don't think the whole 'this allows a more affordable cake' arguement is very strong. In this venue I think that they are interesting because you still don't see all that much use of these in the market, and for brides doing some cake shopping they are something of a hot trend.

#24 JSkilling

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Posted 28 May 2005 - 11:47 AM

I don't look at any of this work as more affordable! They are techniques put to good use in each of the cakes where they are done well. For some effects the painted look is good. For others the placed panel on top of fondant provides a beautiful scripted look - a la the green cake with the vows on it (now that I've seen the seams I understand the use of the pearl border straight down the side!). I don't think any of them took any less talent because someone had to conceive the idea and execute it the best way he or she knew how. I love seeing how creative each was in getting something to market.

Now I realize how much work I have ahead of me!

Chefette, I paint equally as well as Jan but slowly so pastillage will serve me well when I do this. I also decided that another way to use my own work would be to paint the design I want and then use that to transfer to the KK printer. Then I could use the sheet around the side of a cake since I'd have some flexibility. And the beauty is I could actually use that design again if I wanted to! I believe it will take me some time to get to this though! I might, um, have to at least make one wedding cake first :blush:

I would not equate any of this to the Giant cakes which just take a sheet of edible design and put it on top of the cake and pipe a shell border around the top. That is where I think Wendy is talking about a busy production shop making use of edible transfers.
Josette

#25 chefette

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Posted 28 May 2005 - 12:33 PM

Here are details from a couple of the other cakes using painted, piping, and applique techniques

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Carolyn Wanke's cake - I had thought it was painted - eben seeing it in person - out looking at the closeups - and you might not be able to tell from this - but it was more textured than I had thought. The black lines are piped, there is use of applique as well as painting.

Posted Image
I think this is the royal icing embroidery/painting technique. Sorry - not sure whose cake it was.

Posted Image
more painting

Posted Image

Posted Image

and here is a cake I did 5 years ago in a competition. I painted scenes on rolled white modeling paste that I then attached to the cake. I chose this instead of gumpaste or pastillage becuase I wanted the panels to remain flexible so that they could be ahered directly to the cake. In hindsight - this might not have been the best possible idea because if the bride had wanted to retain the decor it would have been very difficult. The white modeling paste was also difficult to paint on since it seems to contain fat and therefore was fairly resistant. But I thought I would post this for JSkilling so she could see another example of painted panels

Posted Image

Posted Image

#26 chefette

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Posted 28 May 2005 - 12:36 PM

None of this is to dispagage use of edible paper transfer sheets.
I think they are pretty cool and would like to try them myself.

#27 chefpeon

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Posted 28 May 2005 - 12:45 PM

What a quandary!
I'm sure this will start a trend that won't go away.
Should I spend the money for the technology and utilize it, speculating that brides will request it?
Or just say, "I don't do that", or
just do everything by hand (like I usually do) and charge appropriately?

It's not just a financial quandary, but an artistic quandary.
I'm proud of my handwork and always thought it gave me "an edge".
But if less skilled people can now come up with eye popping designs with the click of a mouse, I feel like my personal value is depreciated. People won't spend more money if they don't have to....that's just a fact of life.

The technique of it and relative ease of use is kinda cool.....but a little disappointing to me
nonetheless....... :sad:

#28 chefette

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Posted 28 May 2005 - 12:47 PM

bingo!

#29 JSkilling

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Posted 28 May 2005 - 01:51 PM

I guess I just see it as yet another tool in your arsenal not a replacement of what you did before or a devaluation of any skill since these still require a good bit of skill to produce - I don't think many will tackle these in "kit" form. You still have to do something no matter what you choose so you are still charging for your own design time and labor. Even if you can click and get a striped pattern onto the transfer sheets, you still have to make it all work. The skill set is just transferred to what you can do on a computer vs what you can do by hand. Personally, I'd take the computer generated stripes over the hand rolled ones any day. I think they have that mod impact and and the look of perfection. But even in my inexperience I realize that I'd still have to deal with getting that frickin fondant on my cake perfectly. Not an easy task and I'll charge for it.

What I love especially about the use of any of these is the layering of the different techniques to get depth and dimension on the cake - true little works of art. I think the same appreciation of the artist's worth and time applies to this conversation as it does in the chocolate thread - this much work whether by hand or computer is expensive and getting the general population to realize that is difficult. As these designs start to show up in Bride's Magazine it will be interesting to see how the trends change.

Colleen, thanks for posting that cake since it shows me how I'd be able to curve around the outside of a round instead of using the flat edge of a hexagon. I'm intrigued by what I can do....
Josette

#30 chefette

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Posted 28 May 2005 - 01:56 PM

I really love those rolled in stripes - they are so vivid and exciting - just fun.