When you’re planning an event for a friend or relative, a good cake is an important part of the equation. And maybe you’re your family’s go-to cakemaster. You know who you are. The person who creates masterful icing creations. The person who brings a cake to the party, and everyone else says “How did you do that?”. But creating an impressive cake requires the right tools. If you’re pushing frosting out of a tube, you need the right tips. If you’re applying icing with a spatula or a blade, you need the right profile for the look you want. And if you want to create gorgeous, true-to-life images, you need a good edible ink printer kit. But how do you choose the right one?
Choosing the printer itself is similar to choosing an ordinary photo printer. You’re looking for the same features, including connectivity and minimal maintenance. In fact, most edible ink printers are simply modified versions of pre-existing models. This kind of modification is essential to ensure that the printer can handle edible papers and inks. That said, there are some features of ordinary printers that you don’t to be quite as concerned about. For example, if you’re choosing an office printer, you want to look for one with a high print speed. With an edible ink printer, that’s not really a concern unless you’re running a large-scale commercial bakery.
Choosing the right edible ink printer requires a certain amount of discretion. This is a niche market, and for every well-engineered model, there’s a fancy-looking dude. The best way to ensure good quality is to stick with a printer that’s based on a major name brand. To this end, we’ve decided to review 3 different kits that are based on a well-regarded Canon printer. First up, we’ll review the Icinginks Edible Images Cake Art Craft Printer Package. This is a full-featured package that comes with supplies for dozens of cakes. Next is the Sweet & Magical Edible Birthday Cake Printer Bundle. This is a more minimalist kit, which comes at an affordable price. Finally, we’ll check out the Mobile Deals Tasty Treats and Birthday Cake Topper Image Printer Bundle. This kit falls somewhere between the first two, with supplies for a few different cakes.
How Does an Edible Ink Printer Work?
Before we get started, let’s talk for a minute about how an edible ink printer works. As we already explained, most of them are based on existing photo printers. However, there are a few necessary modifications that need to be made. The most important of these modifications is that the printer needs to be capable of handling edible ink. This ink is thicker than standard CMYK ink, and the printer has to be able to handle the increased thickness. The cartridges generally insert the same way as regular ink cartridges, and are easily replaceable. Some brands even come with refillable ink cartridges, so you can top them off without buying a full replacement.
Similarly, edible ink printers also need to be able to handle edible paper. There’s no point of using an edible ink on regular printer paper. With an edible ink printer, you’re going to use a frosting sheet, wafers, or other sugary surfaces. Because a standard printer would shred these delicate sheets, a printer needs to be modified to handle them. The downside of edible paper is that it’s a good sight more expensive more than standard printer paper. Then again, you’re not going to be printing hundreds of sheets, are you?
The printer operation itself is similar to any other printer. Choose an image on your computer or smartphone. Choose a paper type and size. Then print away. Some edible ink printers even include a scanner, so you can easily use family photos and other physical images. Click “print”, and you’re ready to go. After that, all you have to do is apply the image to the actual cake. This can be as simple as applying a few decorative wafers to an already-completed cake. Or it can be as involved as adding ruffles and decorations around the edge of a full-sized image. The options are limited only by the creativity of you, the cakemaster. Now, let’s get on with our reviews!
Icinginks Edible Images Cake Art Craft Printer Package
The Icinginks Edible Images Cake Art Craft Printer Package uses a modified Canon Pixma TS-series printer. The printer can be used with frosting sheets, icing sheets, sugar sheets, wafer sheets, chocolate transfer sheets, and rice paper. It can handle paper sizes up to 8.5 x 14-inches, enough for just about any cake. It measures 20 inches wide, 16 inches deep, and 7 inches tall, and weighs 20 pounds. This is a bit heavy, but it includes the five XL-sized ink cartridges. The cartridges can handle up to 50 sheets apiece, depending on usage. There’s even a built-in scanner, so you can easily print family photos and other physical images.
All of the controls are located on the front of the black ABS case, and operation is easy and intuitive. You can print via a standard USB connection, or even over WiFi. For mobile printing, Icinginks provides a free mobile companion app that makes the process seamless. The AirPrint app is available both on iOS and Android, and takes just a few minutes to install. We should point out that maintenance requires frequent printing. Make sure to print at least once every two weeks. Otherwise, the print head may become clogged. If you prefer not to waste ink on unnecessary printing, you don’t have to. Icinginks includes a cleaning cartridge and kit just for this purpose. The kit even comes with a one-year manufacturer’s warranty. If anything goes wrong during this time period, just ship it back for a replacement or full refund.
Bonus Supplies and Extras
In addition to the printer and ink cartridges, the Icinginks kit also comes with a variety of printing supplies. To begin with, you get 50 wafer sheets. These sheets are similar to label sheets you’ll find for traditional printers. They each have dozens of small discs, which can be individually removed and used as decoration. In addition, the kit includes a whopping 34 sugar frosting print sheets. 24 of these are plain white, but the other 10 come in fun colors. You’ll get two each in rose, gold, pearl, silver, and bronze.
You’ll also get a set of five double-tip edible markers in yellow, red, green, blue, and black. Each marker has a double tip, fine and standard. If you want to lend a more hand-drawn, bespoke look to your cake, this is a great way to do it. Finally, the Icinginks kit includes a variety of templates to add round images. These templates come in several different sizes, from 1.25 inches to 8 inches in diameter. Pretty much anything you want to create, you’re good to go.
Sweet & Magical Edible Birthday Cake Printer Bundle
The Sweet & Magical Edible Birthday Cake Printer Bundle uses the same printer as the Icinginks kit. Skip over this part if you just read about the Icinginks kit. If you didn’t, here’s a quick recap. This is a modified Canon Pixma TS-series printer, which is now compatible with almost any edible paper. It accepts a maximum paper size of 8.5 x 14 inches, which isn’t bad. It features a built-in scanner, and comes with a one-year warranty.
There’s one important difference between this printer and the Icinginks printer: there’s no app. As a result, smartphone printing can be a bit finicky. That said, you can still print just fine from a PC or Mac over USB or WiFi. We should reiterate that the modified Canon printer requires some maintenance. If you’re going to leave the cartridges inserted, make sure to print something at least every 2 weeks. Otherwise, the print heads will get clogged with dried ink, and will need to be cleaned. This is not fun.
Bonus Supplies and Extras
The Sweet & Magical kit is a budget-rate kit that’s designed for people who are just getting started. Instead of a full array of printing supplies, the selection is a bit limited. It comes with a 5-pack of ink, as well as six frosting sheets. If you already intend to do a lot of edible printing, this can be a bit underwhelming. On the other hand, if you’re just dipping your toes in the water, it’s a good way to save money. You can always buy more supplies if you need them.
Mobile Deals Tasty Treats and Birthday Cake Topper Image Printer Bundle
The Mobile Deals Tasty Treats and Birthday Cake Topper Image Printer Bundle is another basic kit. It uses the same modified Pixma TS-series printer as our last two selections. However, the software is a bit different. Instead of being able to print 8.5 x 14-inch sheets, it’s limited to 8.5 x 11.69-inch sheets. This is a small difference, and for most purposes, it shouldn’t make much of a difference. But for ultra-large cakes, it might create some issues. Like the other kits, the printer in this kit also comes with a 12-month warranty, and features a built-in scanner.
The Mobile Deals kit comes with a CD that has all the install software you’ll need to get started. For most people, this shouldn’t be necessary. But if you’re having driver issues, you won’t have to hunt around for them on Canon’s website. As before, we should also be clear about maintenance. You need to print at least once every two weeks. If you neglect this, the print heads will clog and need to be cleaned.
Bonus Supplies and Extras
Like the Sweet & Magical kit, the Mobile Deals kit is a bit minimalist. It comes with the ink cartridges, as well as six sheets of sugar frosting printer paper. This isn’t a great choice if you’re planning on printing dozens of cakes. But it’s a solid choice if you only need to print one cake for a very special event.
Let’s start with the obvious: all three of these kits come with nearly identical printers. The only difference is in the actual software. The first two will support paper sizes of up to 8.5 x 14 inches. However, the third is limited to 8.5 x 11.69 inches. The main difference lies in the accessories that are included with the kit.
To begin with, the Icinginks Edible Images Cake Art Craft Printer Package is a full-featured kit. It comes with enough supplies to print literally dozens of cakes. Whether you prefer frosting sheets or wafers, they’ve got you covered. They even throw in some edible markers, so you can write a message right on the paper! The downside is that the kit is expensive. Then again, if you’re going to make dozens of cakes, you’ll need to buy supplies anyway. Why not buy them all upfront?
Next, we looked at the Sweet & Magical Edible Birthday Cake Printer Bundle. This package is a bit more affordable, but you don’t get many supplies. You only get enough frosting sheets for six cakes. For a serious hobbyist, this is a bit underwhelming. That said, if you’re not sure about owning an edible ink printer, it’s a good way to get your feet wet.
Finally, there’s the Mobile Deals Tasty Treats and Birthday Cake Topper Image Printer Bundle. This it is similar to the Sweet & Magical kit, but it’s a bit easier for beginners. It comes with all the software you need to get started, so you won’t have to hunt around online for drivers.