Few baking tricks will wow friends and family more than personal photos or themed images imprinted on cupcakes. You can buy edible images from several sources, or even make them at home. If you're applying the images yourself rather than asking a bakery to imprint them, use a sturdy buttercream or store-bought frosting. Images fade quickly on whipped-cream or nondairy frostings. White or light-coloured frostings are best for showing off your edible images.
Several baking supply retailers sell sheets of images imprinted on edible paper for quick cupcake decorating. Wilton retails packages of edible images with birthday and garden-party themes, while Lucks Food Decorating Co. offers images featuring princess-party motifs, with pastel-coloured castles, crowns and carriages, as well as many other designs. Mass-produced edible images are an alternative to making your own images; all you need to do is peel the preprinted image off of its paper backing and apply it to your cupcake. But store-bought edible designs can lack a personal touch that reflects your specific special occasion.
Your local bakery or neighbourhood grocery store's bakery will make you cupcakes with edible images. Choose from themed designs displayed in-store, or ask them to help you create cupcakes with your personalised images. Bring the bakery an image you'd like replicated on your cupcakes and they'll duplicate the picture or artwork and apply it to your cupcakes. Bakeries typically charge an additional decorating fee to add edible images. Because they'll be working with a dozen or more cupcakes, rather than one large sheet cake, the extra charges could add up.
For larger batches of personalised edible images, order from an online edible-image maker such as Icing Images. Upload your digital artwork at their website and select your image size and count. Your images will arrive packaged on sheets of paperbacked sugar several days later. Peel the images off of the paper backing and place the artwork onto your cupcakes. Keep the designs wrapped in the plastic they came in, and they'll keep for six months.
Make your own images at home. Buy edible rice paper and markers with edible ink at a craft store or baking supply retailer. Draw designs on the paper, cut out the images and place the paper on your cupcakes. If you want to duplicate photos for your cupcake images, manufacturers including PhotoFrost sell printers with edible printer ink and paper so you can scan and print out photos of friends and family for your cupcakes. Use your edible-image printer to reprint your corporate logo for company functions or your favourite mascot for sports-watching parties.
Edible images are made from Food and Drug Administration-approved ingredients. They're printed on sheets of sugar or hardened icing, or on food-grade rice paper. Inks typically consist of natural ingredients including potato starch, water and vegetable oil. Some companies, such as Edible Images, specialise in inks without preservatives.
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