Have you heard about edible wafer paper before now? Have you seen some amazing cake decorations that can be made using them?
I have mentioned these in my previous product review for an edible printer. Edible wafer paper can be used to print images on, similar to fondant paper (this one is slightly thicker and made of icing sugar).
Edible wafer paper, is a better alternative for those who do not wish to add more sugary decorations on top of their cakes. It is also an alternative for the people, who have specific diet restrictions.
Today’s post is about, how you can create pop up art in your cake artistry using edible wafer paper.
It is quite a simple form of decorating and can be something new, that you yourself, might like to try if you have never used it before.
It will require a bit of patience to create certain decorations, but I promise the outcome will be worth it at the end, just like every other decorating technique that I have written about.
Edible wafer/paper is the single most affordable product used in the edible printing industry. It is used by just about every large baking company for cake decorations.
I did look around for who first created it. However, after scrounging through the search engines, I was unable to come up with how edible wafer paper originated.
I can only figure, that, maybe each country has its own history, and that would mean a lot of researching for me and a lot of reading for you, so we shall leave it at that.
There are many versions of edible wafer paper – each created with various ingredients and each for different purposes.
In Europe the edible wafer paper can be traced back to the Renaissance and served as a dessert. A luxury food that was only enjoyed by the Aristocracy and upper middle class of society. It was made from potato starch – you can almost say that it was the historical version of our modern day ‘potato chips’.
Wafer paper also has significant religious symbolism for the celebration of the Eucharist (used as part of Catholic religious rituals). This paper is known as the ‘hostia’ or the ‘prosphorá’ (sacremental offering) – made from refined wheat flour, purified water, yeast and salt.
In Asian countries they are made using rice flour, hence the name rice paper. These rice wafers are use as food wraps (spring rolls etc.), edible candies or candy wrappers (My grandmother bought these for me as a child and I still remember how they slowly melted on my tongue, leaving an after-taste of, sweet and salty soya).
In my opinion, by the rate the world is going at the moment, using wafer paper for wrapping would be a great alternative to plastic – just saying.
Home Made Recipe
I found an easy online recipe created by Kathy Ceceri that consisted of 3 easy steps:
- 1 tablespoon of Rice flour
- 1 tablespoon of Potato starch
- A pinch of Salt
- 1 & half Tablespoons of Cold water
- Whisk all the ingredients in a bowl, until it is a glue like consistency.**Note – you can add coloring and flavors as well to the mixture, during this stage.
- Stretch a piece of glad wrap (plastic food wrap) tightly across a dinner plate (must be taut) and pour the contents on to this, just as if you are pouring a pancake mixture into a pan, and spread it by tilting the plate in a circular motion (just like a pancake pan) – until the plastic circle is well covered.
- Place the whole plate into a microwave for 45 seconds on high (do not worry if it puffs due to the steam). Using Protective oven gloves, remove the plate and place it upside down on another plate or flat mat. This is will upend the cooked rice wafer and the glad wrap. Remove the plate and slowly peel the plastic wrap away. The rice paper will curl slightly as it cools. You can cut it into a square and store it in a zip lock bag for up to 2 days max.
- However, if you just cannot be bothered, like I feel at times, just go and buy a pack online or any cake store – they are really that cheap. They also come as wall paper prints or colored in different colors, which can be quite convenient for making a large order of cup cakes or large cakes.
Best Tools To Use When Creating
Before running off and creating your cake decorations, you may find that there are essential tools required, in order to do so.
I have listed the most essential items:
- Cake steamer (or what I use, our clothes steamer, yup just as good – if you can use it safely that is).
- Large block of clean sponge (huh?? you ask, well you will soon see why)
- Craft paper cutting machine (optional, you can draw by hand and cut your shapes out as well)
- Edible Coloring pens or markers
- Edible luster or pearl dust (these are better because dry paint dust does not have an impact on the shaped paper)
- Edible Printer (optional, but it can actually make the process much faster)
- Scissors if drawing shapes by hand
- Edible oil paint or dry colors mixed with vegetable oil
- A book of stencils or ideas
- Gumpaste for gluing the wafer paper decorations on to the iced cakes
Handling and Storage
The best conditions for using or handling edible wafer paper is in a cool environment – any humidity or moist will curl the papers and make it hard to handle or shape – unless of course you use a cake steamer.
Do not, I repeat, do not, ever place a cake decorated with edible wafer paper inside a fridge/chiller – the paper will dissolve into the icing. I suggest, instead, that you add the paper just before delivery.
Remember that edible wafer paper is very light and one whiff of the outside breeze can blow them right off you cakes.
Therefore, rather than put them all on, I would take a bowl of soft icing with me and add the decorations on after the cakes are stacked or placed at the reception/function venue.
Otherwise, just use common sense.
What Cake Decorations Can You Create?
Again, what I share here is only but a few ideas and once again, you can pretty much create anything with your imagination.
Here a few to whet your appetite for learning:
- Rose petals
- Any type of flower arrangement
- Insects (butterflies are a favourite)
- As mentioned before edible prints using an edible printer
- Valentines notes
- Edible Table Menus
- Edible Guest Names
- Edible bride & groom “thank you” table notes
- Edible Lace prints or stenciled cut-outs
- Printed Cartoon characters
- Printed logos (for your own business or others)
- Side decorations on cakes (i.e. ocean themes or sea creatures)
- Edible leaves
- Cupcake toppers
- Hand written messages
- Cut out circles for polka dots on your cake
- Pop up dolls or houses
- Pop up pages
- Pop up books
- Rolled Diplomas or parchments
- Bow ties
- Poetry or inspirational messages
As you can see, and the list goes on and on and on…
Why I Use A Craft Paper Cutting Machine
The most important part of creating decorations with edible wafer paper, is to get the shapes. You can either choose, to use a scissors and draw your shapes, using cookie cutters and an edible pen, or you can use a craft paper cutter machine.
I use a craft paper cutter machine, only, because I have tried cutting 100 individual petals with scissors, and my fingers were fat and sore afterwards, and my mood quickly changed from being happy, joy, joy to not so happy as well.
The other reason why, I choose a craft paper cutter, is so, that all the shapes will be cut exactly the same with clear edges (unless of course, you want a realistic rustic look), and, I wouldn’t need to stay up till early hours ruining my petals with tears of frustration.
These machines come in various sizes; larger ones for multiple and multi paper/material uses, or small individual shaped craft paper cutters. I actually prefer the much larger machines, and I suggest this if you frequently get large cake orders.
They cost a little more, but the larger machines can be used for other crafting also; cake doilies, cake board decorations etc., and can use any paper or material using several die cutters to create many shapes.
For those just starting out, there are cute little starter kits, that can be bought online or at any craft store.
Some more modern ones, nowadays are computerized to be used with software, which makes them even more versatile. You can print a shape straight from a mobile device using the accompanying software products.
The small individual shape cutters are, exactly, as they are named; only one shape per cutter and not versatile, in the sense that you can only cut one shape.
Also, these individual ones can cost up to $60 USD each, whereas one large craft cutting machine costs between $150-300 USD – which is a big difference in value and product output. I know because I bought about several of these individual ones, before I found out that I could use the one large craft cutter for pretty much everything.
Therefore, I encourage you to try to avoid my mistake if this is a cake decorating medium that you wish to specialise in.
However, upon saying this, if you are only working on one type of flower decoration, and believe that you will never ever do any other edible paper wafer decoration, then by all means just buy the one, individualized craft paper cutter (Martha Stewart brands are great little starters).
Rather than write out instructions, I decided to share a ‘how to’ video below, by pretty witty cakes, for those who are new to this technique. The instructions are clear and the videotography is good.
I hope that my article will give you, yet again another cake decorating option to use in your cake artistry business.
As you have read, using edible wafer paper can be a great convenience in time and production processes, especially if you use an edible printer or craft cutting machine.
You can make this at home and save money using the easy 3 step recipe, but personally, I suggest you only make this to roll your spring rolls in, rather than use it to decorate cakes with. I prefer the store bought ones because, it is affordable, comes in bulk and I can choose colors as well.
If you need help or wish to give your own personal decorating experience using edible wafer paper, then please leave a comment below and I will endeavor to respond as soon as I can.
Have a marvelous cake decorating day, until my next post,