When it comes to celebrations, people love cake. Weddings, birthdays, graduation parties and other special events cry out for a giant frosted pastry. But when you bake a cake, you have to decide how to decorate it. Some people keep things simple. Spread some frosting around with a spatula, and call it good. Others are veritable home cake masters. They add fancy rosettes and decorations that you’d expect to buy from a bakery. But you don’t have to be a cake master to make an edible ink cake. All you need is the right equipment, and a cake you want to decorate.
So, what makes an edible ink printer different from a normal printer? Strictly speaking, there’s no such thing, except for very large printers for commercial bakeries. Edible ink printers are simply normal printers that have been repurposed for printing with edible ink. That said, there are a couple of things that make some printers better than others. To begin with, they need to be able to accommodate thicker sheets of paper. Even the flimsiest edible sheets are thicker than your average office paper. Secondly, they need to have wide ink nozzles. Edible ink is a bit tackier than normal ink, and needs to be able to flow freely.
We’re about to look at two of the best edible ink cake printers on the market. We’ll start by reviewing the Canon PIXMA TS9520 with Icinginks Cake Ink & Frosting Sheets. This is a standalone printer, along with popular edible paper. We’ll follow up by examining the IcingImages Platinum Plus Edible Printer System. This is an all-in-one edible ink printing kit that comes with everything you need to get started. We’ll compare both options, and look at all aspects. We’ll start with the printer quality, and how they’re designed. We’ll look at the paper they can use and the printing capability. We’ll also talk about the inks and the papers. After that, we’ll know whether you’re better off buying the kit or outfitting the Canon printer. Let’s begin!
The IcingImages kit includes a set of five refillable ink cartridges. These are XXL-sized, which is sufficient for printing between 40 and 50 sheets. In practice, a lot depends on color density and what colors you’re using. As with any printing system, you’re liable to run out of one color before the others, sheerly by chance. That said, when you do run out, refilling the ink is easy. Replacement ink comes in bottles with long spouts, through which you squeeze it into the cartridges.
Cleanup is also easy, since you’re washing edible ink and not ordinary printer ink. Not only that, but the package includes a non-toxic cleaning kit. This makes it easy to manage any drips, and to keep your heads clean between uses.
Keep in mind that edible ink tends to flow and leak over time. It can end up flowing over the print heads, where it dries and clogs up the works. As a result, you should run the printer at least once a week to keep this from happening. If you use your printer only occasionally, take out your ink and use the cleaning kit after each use.
No edible ink printer is complete without edible paper. The IcingImages kit includes 24 sheets of standard letter-sized 8 ½ x 10 ¾-inch edible paper. These are lightweight, semi-transparent sheets that blend seamlessly into your icing. In addition, there are 25 sheets of international standard A4 8 ¼ x 11 ¾-inch sheets. These are of similar quality, but the larger size can be better for some images and cakes.
In addition to these sizes, the printer will support all icing sheets up to full legal size. This includes sheets from all brands, so you’re not limited to just your IcingImages sheets. It will also print on wafers if you want a more solid piece of artwork. That said, you’ll need to combine multiple sheets if you want to create a very large image. For example, the printer won’t support the large, extra-wide A3 format paper from IcingInks.