How to Print Edible Images for Cakes

If you’ve ever walked into a Carvel or a Dairy Queen, there’s no doubt you’ve seen the ice cream cake options for printable images on cakes. In the last few years, these personalized cakes have seen large popularity at birthday parties, graduations, and anniversaries. Have you ever wondered though how these cakes are made? Are you able to make them yourself at home, or do you need to go through a large ice cream store conglomerate?

To answer that last question – yes, you can make these cakes at home! Creating the cake and design at home will be more cost effective than buying one from an ice cream shop or supermarket. These cakes can be created in your very own home kitchen and the photo design can be perfected in your very own home office. You will not need a special printer, the HP printer you have at home will work just fine. However, you must purchase the special edible ink cartridges. Therefore before you start your printing, make certain you’ve taken your existing HP ink cartridges and replaced them with the compatible edible version of ink.

What You Need to Purchase

Before you rush to the grocery store for the cake batter ingredients, make sure you have the appropriate supplies necessary for printing your cakes image. The two items you will need to purchase are:

  1. Edible ink cartridges
  2. Edible icing sheets

You can purchase both of these supplies at a local craft store. Keep in mind that icing sheets can come in many different colors so be cautious of how your photo will look on the colored sheet you are purchasing. Next, when purchasing the edible ink, you will still need to make sure you are selecting the correct ink cartridge to fit your home printer. For the top brands such as Canon, HP, and Epson you will be able to easily find compatible edible ink cartridges. The ink itself has no flavoring so there’s no need to worry about disliking the taste. The icing sheets are made out of mostly sugar and will blend in perfectly with any cake.

Printing Edible Images

Once the supplies have been purchased, the photo has been picked out, and the cake is ready for the decoration stage, you can begin the printing process. It’s very important to note that not only should you replace your ink cartridges with the compatible edible cartridges, but you should also do a thorough cleaning of the printhead which holds the ink cartridges in place. This will ensure there’s no remaining ink that’s spilled over which could end up on your cakes image. While the ingredients in printer ink vary – ink generally contains chemicals that can be toxic to humans if consumed. Therefore, the most important stage of this process should be cleaning your printhead thoroughly to avoid accidentally printing it on the icing sheets. Once the printhead has been cleaned, replace the ink cartridges with the new edible versions and return the printhead to the computer.

Before you begin, perform a test print to ensure the new printer ink has been installed properly. If the print works, add your edible icing sheets to the computer’s paper tray. Make sure the icing sheets are not stuck together or it could cause a paper jam for the printer. Next, you are ready to print the image! Once the image is printed, you may cut the image to fit properly on top of your cake. To put the cake over the top, add some icing decoration around the imagery for even more personalization.

Take a look at some of our top picks for edible printed cakes:

Couple Birthday Cake:


Baby Birthday Cake:


Graduation Cake:

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