Edible Photo Instructions
Our Edible Photo Toppers are cupcake and cake icing, printed using food grade edible ink. They are also known as icing transfer sheets, frosting sheets, edible cake toppers and edible images, photos, prints or pictures. They are not made from wafer or rice paper but a thin layer of real icing (which is mostly made up of sugar) on a backing sheet. We print the picture you send us on to your chosen size of icing and you transfer to your cake top to create a personalised photo cake or cupcakes.On this page we explain how to decorate your cake with your topper.
Order your Printed Icing
All of our toppers can be ordered for delivery the next working day, or you can choose how quickly (or slowly!) you need it to arrive. You will need to know what size and shape your cake is going to be. We suggest you order the icing about half an inch, or a couple of centimetres smaller than your cake. For example you would buy the 7.5 inch square icing for an 8 inch square cake. It can be trimmed to fit, so if you don't see the exact size then order one slightly larger than your cake and just let us know how big to print your picture. Bear in mind that a cake can shrink while baking so it may come out smaller than the tin size. But also remember that any covering you add, such as sugar-paste, can then add a few millimetres to the finished size.
We now have a range of cakes and cupcakes to decorate yourself that include the cake and the printed icing. Order any of these and you will receive everything you need.
Prepare Your Cake
You can have any kind of cake - sponge, fruit, carrot, chocolate, or your favourite recipe. You can bake and decorate your own cake or buy one already iced from a baker or cake decorator, who may be able to put the printed icing on to your cake for you. Most of the high street Supermarket chains sell plain iced cakes - Tesco, Sainsbury's, Asda, Waitrose and Marks & Spencer.
Our undecorated Square Iced Sponge Cake is perfect of course and exactly the right size for our square toppers. This and our cupcakes are now available as kits including the printed topper to decorate yourself.
Your printed edible photo can be applied to almost any kind of icing. Roll-out icing works best and is also known as sugar paste or fondant. You can also use Royal icing, butter-cream or glace icing.
The icing on your cake or cupcakes can be any colour, but as the topper is made from very thin icing, dark colours like milk chocolate may not always be suitable. Try white chocolate instead.
If you have a very wet icing like whipped cream, ganache, or a covering with a high fat content (like butter or cream cheese) then we suggest you make a backing plaque from roll-out icing. This should be about the same size and shape as the topper. Place the topper on the plaque first, then put this on your cake top. Otherwise you should apply it just before serving the cake, before the photo has time to absorb the moisture.
Prepare Your Edible Photo
Keep your topper in its plastic bag until you are ready to use it. Take it out of the bag about 20 minutes before applying it to the cake to allow time for it to dry out slightly. This will make it easier to peel from the backing sheet. The icing should peel off easily - DO NOT FORCE IT! If it is sticking to the backing sheet, this is probably due to the temperature and humidity in the room. See the Tips at the bottom of this page on how to resolve this.
Apply Your Edible Photo Topper
If you have a shop-bought cake or the icing on your cake has dried or formed a crust, a little moisture will help the photo attach to the icing and blend in. Dampen the cake icing using a pastry-brush or a fine mist/spray, but don't over-wet it. Pat the top with kitchen towel to absorb any excess moisture.
DO NOT WET THE TOPPER- this may cause the colours in the image to run.
If any bubbles or wrinkles appear in the photo gently pat them out with DRY fingers.
If you accidentally tear the topper icing - DON'T PANIC! Just rub very gently with a dry finger and it will merge back together and the tear will disappear after an hour or so.
Your Finished Cake
After a few hours your picture will blend into the icing and look like it has been printed onto the icing. The time this takes and the results will vary depending on how dry your icing is.
If you have used a very dry topping, or if you need to serve the cake straight away you can pipe some icing around the image to hide any visible edges.
How to Store your Edible Photo Topper
- Keep your topper in its bag until you are ready to use it.
- Keep it flat and don't put anything on top of it to risk spoiling it.
- Keep it out of direct sunlight or the colours may fade.
- Our toppers stay edible for several months, but we recommend that you use within two weeks for the picture to stay sharp.
Tips on Removing Your Edible Photo from the Backing Sheet
The icing absorbs moisture from the air and it may need a little help if it doesn't peel away easily from the backing. Try one of these methods if you're having any problems:
- Leave it for an hour or two out of its bag and check it every 30 minutes. Do not leave it overnight or let it dry out completely as it may become brittle and crack. This process is faster in a warm room with air-conditioning or central heating.
- If the icing still does not come away easily, gently apply a hair dryer to the reverse for 30 seconds, leave to cool for a few seconds then try again.
- put it on a baking tray in a very cool oven (not hot) for a couple of minutes, or a fan oven with the fan on but the heat off. Leave until just cool and try again.
You will get better results if you peel the backing away from the icing, rather than the other way round. If you have any difficulty, pull the backing sheet over the edge of a table or worktop (as illustrated).