How To Put A Picture Onto A Cake: 2 Simple Ways To Do It

How To Put A Picture Onto A Cake

Are you planning to make a photo cake for any event? If you are, then you come to the right place. In this article, I’ll show you how to put a picture onto a cake in two methods.

I learned about these methods when I was making a photo cake for my brother’s birthday the other day. At first, I thought that these methods will be difficult but with the right materials, they can be really easy. What I’m going to share below are the materials you’ll need and the directions that you need to follow.


What You’ll Need

1. Image File

How To Put A Picture Onto A Cake

Of course, the first thing that you’ll need is the picture that you want to put onto your cake. You can search the picture that you want online or take a picture using a digital camera.

After you have selected or taken the picture, save it in any image file format, like JPEG, on your computer. The JPEG file format is supported on the Internet, generally with the “.jpg” file suffix.

2. Photo Scanner

If the picture that you want is not found online but in your old photo album, you can use a photo scanner to save it as a format digital file.

I did use a photo scanner once when the picture that I wanted to print was the old photograph of my grandmother. The photo scanner that I used was the Epson V39.

How To Put A Picture Onto A Cake

3. Photo Editing Software (Optional)

To make sure that you print nothing but the best picture quality, you’ll need a good photo editing software. This comes in handy if you want to edit the color, brightness, and background of the picture. You can even put a text if you like.

However, if your picture is good as it is, you may not use any photo editing software. You can download many free apps online, like ImageForge, Photoshop, and GIMP.

4. Edible Icing Sheet

How To Put A Picture Onto A Cake

An icing sheet or frosting sheet is usually crafted with sugar and starch mixtures. The earliest models are even created from rice but now, they’re made from different materials including cornstarch and potatoes.

It works like an ordinary paper in the way it moves through the printer and draws in the edible ink. Unlike any ordinary paper, an icing sheet is made to be edible and by the time you eat the cake, the sheet is fully dissolved by the icing.

5. Printer

How To Put A Picture Onto A Cake

You’ll need a printer to print your format digital picture.

For Method 1, you may want to use a printer that has never been used with any actual ink to avoid any cross contamination. The printer of your choice should be compatible for use with edible inks.

For Method 2, you can use a printer that has already been used with regular inks.

​If you’re a serious baker, you can consider buying an edible printer. Some brands, like Epson and Canon, already offers a bundle which includes frosting sheets and edible ink cartridges, like this one.

6. Scissors

How To Put A Picture Onto A Cake

Frosting sheets usually come in a rectangle shape. If you’re working on a round cake, you may need to cut it using a good pair of clean scissors. You need to fit the picture on top of the cake.

Additional Items

For Method 1

Edible Inks And Cartridges

How To Put A Picture Onto A Cake

An edible ink is specially made to work like an ordinary printer ink. It’s made from food coloring and sugar. To make sure that the ink passes through the small nozzles of the printer, it needs to have small molecules.

​For safety, make sure that the ink cartridges that you’ll use are meeting or surpassing any food contact standards. An FDA certification is a great indicator of safety. If you’re buying a new edible ink for your inkjet printer, don’t forget to check it’s compatibility with your unit.

For Method 2

Non-Toxic Crayon

How To Put A Picture Onto A Cake

To trace your image onto the frosting sheet, you may need a non-toxic crayon. You can tell that your crayons are non-toxic if they’re made with any of these natural materials: beeswax, soy wax, or carnauba wax. Paraffin wax may be natural but the process that it undergoes to become a crayon (e.g Crayola) involves the use of toxic substances.

Pastry Bag

How To Put A Picture Onto A Cake

Your pastry bag will be the vehicle where you trace the design with the icing. It’s often triangular - or cone-shaped and made from several materials, like plastic, paper, or cloth. If you’re working on many icing colors, you may consider using a disposable pastry bag. If you’re working on only one color, you can use any reusable bag.

Pastry Tubes

How To Put A Picture Onto A Cake

A pastry tube or a pastry tip is a nozzle that fits on the end of a pastry bag. It comes in different sizes and shapes to suit any decorating needs. For the outline of the picture, you’ll need to use a small round writing tip. To fill in colors of the picture, you’ll need a small star tip or a wide pastry tip.


How To Put A Picture Onto A Cake

For the outline of your picture, you’ll need a dark-colored icing. If you have no time to make some dark icing, you can buy the canned dark fudge, like this one. Depending on your picture, you may use many colors of icing as you want.

Step-By-Step Instructions

Method 1: Using An Edible Ink

1. Prepare Your Picture And Printer

Select the picture online or scan the picture that you want for your cake. Save the picture in JPEG format and upload it any photo editing software. Edit the picture by adjusting the brightness, color, or add some text if you want.

With your printer, load the edible ink and cartridges. Place the icing sheet on the paper tray and get ready to print.

​2. Print And Place The Picture Onto The Cake

Click the File menu and select print on the drop-down list. Choose the size and orientation of your picture (landscape or portrait). Once you’re done, print away.

After you’re done printing, cut the picture to fit the size of your cake. Slowly peel off the back part of the icing sheet. Place the picture on top of the cake and smooth the edges with your dry fingers.

Watch how to place an edible photo onto a cake in this.

Method 2: Tracing With Icing

1. Print And Trace The Picture

With your regular inkjet printer, print the picture that you want to place on your cake. Using a non-toxic crayon, trace the image onto an icing sheet. Once you’re done tracing, cut out the image as close to the borders and place the icing sheet pattern on top of your cake.

​2. Outline And Fill In The Picture

Insert a small round writing tip in your pastry bag. Fill the pastry bag with dark colored icing and outline the entire picture. Now, fill in the picture with any colors using a small star tip or a wide pastry tip.

If you see some of your outlines disappearing, don’t worry because you’ll be outlining it again. Once you’re finished filling in, use your outline pastry bag and re-outline the whole picture again.

Pro Tips

  • If the buttercream of your cake is forming a crust, spray it with some water before you place the edible picture.
  • Use a hair dryer for about a minute to dry an icing sheet that won’t peel away.
  • Thaw frozen cakes before putting the icing sheet image.

Final Thoughts

Did you enjoy the tutorial on how to put a picture onto a cake? Thanks to these two methods, I have added some new skills to my baking arsenal. This tutorial comes in handy if you want to save yourself the cost of ordering a photo cake from an expensive bakery.

If you have already made a photo cake, tell us what you think in the comments section. Don’t forget to share this article if you like it.

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