What’s Edible Ink?

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Edible ink is safe to eat and used to decorate baked goods. Edible ink cartridges and frosting sheets are needed to print images with edible ink, and decorating pens are also gaining popularity.

Edible ink is ink that is safe to eat. It is used to decorate foods, often baked goods such as cakes, cupcakes and cookies. New baked goods like photo cakes are made with edible ink.

Food colors and dyes, obtained from natural and synthetic sources, have been used for centuries and are the edible inks most people are familiar with. Edible inks for use in printers, those used to reproduce photographs on baked goods, were developed in the early 2000s. Commercial bakeries were early adopters of the technology, which is now available for home use.

Some Canon and Epson printer models can print edible inks. The supplies you need to print with edible ink, other than a compatible printer, are frosting sheets and edible ink cartridges. You can also purchase software specifically designed for designing and printing images with edible ink. Frosting sheets are made from sugar, or cornstarch and corn syrup. They are wafer thin and come in different sizes. Edible inks come in different colors and your printer can use the inks to produce a variety of hues.

Once an image is printed on a frosting sheet, the decorator places it on top of the frosted cake, cupcake or cookie. The ice sheet will absorb perfectly into the glaze. The frosting sheets and edible inks are made in the USA from FDA-approved non-toxic ingredients and are usually kosher.

Another form of edible ink currently gaining popularity is the decorating pen. These come in various colors and can be used to draw on any type of food, dishes or to design temporary tattoos. Their most popular use is to decorate cookies. Edible ink pens look just like regular ink pens and can last up to two years after opening. Pens work best when used to draw on a hard surface, such as the hard icing often used on cookies.

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