To define edible paper there are two types. Both can be used to print edible images. The first is a wafer paper or edible rice paper and the second are frosting sheets that are also known as icing sheets.
This is a starch based edible paper. If you want to print you will want to use this thin, white flexible wafer paper. When printing edible images on the wafer paper it will not be high quality in comparison to a frosting sheet so it is less ideal to make your photo cake. But it is great for printing leaves, feathers, wings, flowers or butterflies. Wafer paper will not dissolve into the surface of a frosted cake. It has a tendency to wrinkle when refrigerated and can be noticeable when you are cutting the cake. It has no plastic backing. Wafer paper has a smooth side and a rough side and you can print on both and it can be cut to whatever shape or size you need.
These are thin layers of frosting that have pressed into a flexible plastic backing. These are usually the preferred choice for use on cakes. You can print edible images that are very vibrant and crisp. They blend into the frost and surface of the cake and absorb the taste and color of the cake. Buttercream is the best frosting when you use frosting sheets. But you can also choose nondairy whipped topping, fondant, marzipan, royal icing, ice cream and chocolate such as ganache. They come in many shapes and sizes.
How to Store Frosting Sheets
They can be stored best when they are tightly sealed in a heavy Ziploc bag because you do not want them to dry out. Make sure they are not in any direct light and they do not need to be refrigerated. They will last one year.
Can Processing Sheets be Printed in Advance?
You can print them ahead of time and store them until they are ready to use. Be aware they may fade if they are overexposed to UV light.
Using Frosting Sheets
Make sure your frosting sheets are carefully handled. You do not need to remove the plastic backing before you print. Place the frosting sheet onto the printer with the frosting side up. Make sure you size your image to the same size of the frosting sheet.
You will want the printed image to dry for 3 to 15 minutes. Frost your cake if you're using a frosting that crusts.
When you cut out an image you will do this while it is still on the backing and still flexible. Use a very sharp scissors or an X-Acto knife.
When you frost your cake make sure it is has time to form a crust and then remove the frosting sheet from the plastic backing and apply it to a frosted cake. Lower it down onto the cake from the middle outward and smooth it by hand or with a small roller.
At this time you can finish decorating the cake. You can use piping with frosting sheets but do not puncture the shape with a decorating tip. Storing a finished cake can be completed in a cake box and refrigerated or frozen. When thawing a frozen cake make sure it does not sweat.
Nondairy Whipped Topping
If you use this application it'll be the same for buttercream but you must keep the finished cake refrigerated.
Because there is so much water in the whipped cream you will need to serve this cake immediately. Colors tend to run and fade.
Make sure you moisten the surface of the ice cream with milk before you apply the edible image.
You will also need to mist the icing with water and then apply the image. Make sure you do so before the icing sets as it has a tendency to wrinkle when it dries.
Rolled Fondant or Marzipan
You will need to use water to moisten the area where you apply the image. You can also use piping gel if your image is smaller.
Ganache or Poured Fondant
You need to apply the edible image before the icing becomes set and make sure your cake is level or the image can slide.
Chocolate or Candy Melts
You can mold chocolate or a candy melt and pour it into an edible image. You will need to place the edible image down and pour the candy over the picture slowly. Try to avoid bubbles. Edible images can also be applied to the surface of any melted chocolate and candy melts.
Frosting Sheet Troubles
If your frosting sheet does not release from the backing, you will need to dry the frosting sheet longer.
One of your options is to use a blow dryer. Hold the frosting sheet in one corner and blow-dry it slowly with a side motion. You need is pay attention to the areas that are heavily saturated with your edible ink.
You can also try placing the frosting sheet in a freezer for 15 seconds and this can release the sheet from the backing.
Another option is to roll the plastic backing against a sharp edge of the table.
What if your frosting sheet is dry and brittle?
This probably means your frosting sheet is too dry. It has lost a lot of its flexibility and you do not want to use it with the printer. Here are some things you can do to add humidity to the frosting sheet:
You can put the frosting sheet in a Ziploc bag and put it in a humid environment such as the refrigerator.
You can try steaming the frosting sheet with boiling water.
Use a moistened paper towel and place it beneath the plastic backing and then again seal it in a Ziploc bag.
Spray a missed of water over the top of the frosting sheet.
The frosting sheet doesn't melt into the frosting on the cake
Your cake may have formed a crust on it. Make sure you apply the frosting sheet before this crust has formed. If it has you will need to apply a light mist of water or lay a wet paper towel on the frosting sheet.
The Frosting Sheet Has Bubbled
Moisture typically can seep through the cake. You will need to get rid of these bubbles will with a finger and make sure your cake has cooled before you frost it. Cake should always be stored in a cool, dry place. If the cake has been frozen you need to defrost it in the refrigerator. Do not store a cake in an airtight cake dome.
The Frosting Sheet Has Wrinkled
Cakes can flex so use a sturdy board underneath your cake. This is especially true with large sheet cakes. Frosting sheets will become part of the cake so they will flex as the cake flexes. This is where you see the wrinkles and cracks.
The Frosting Sheet Has Cracked
If the frosting she has become too cracked you can apply a new frosting sheet over the damaged one.
You can try to repair the cracks to the surface by filling them with frosting. Or you can always apply a new one with a small roller. If the crack is been caused by lack of support make sure you add more support or the crack can reappear.