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Making faces ... on your cake!

Published:Thursday | March 18, 2010 | 12:00 AM
Step one: Choose picture you want on cake then place edible paper in printer.
Step two: Print picture of choice with edible ink.
Step three: Bake cake of choice then frost.
Step four: Make edges of cake more attractive by using a comb or spatula to clean up edges.
Step five: Place picture on cake.
Step six: Use fingers to smooth out picture on cake but be careful not to smudge.
Step seven: Edible roses or other designs complement any picture cake, making it even more attractive.
Step eight: Add final touches on cake, as shown by Sharon Willis.
The final product: This looks so beautiful, it's a shame it has to be eaten ... sorry Sponge Bob. - photos by Colin Hamilton/freelance photographer

Keisha Shakespeare-Blackmore, Staff Reporter

Picture cakes have become the latest craze simply because you can add any cartoon character or customise it with any picture of your choice.

Since this new trend in the cake industry, Patta Kake Bakery has decided to satisfy its customers' many requests and has added picture cakes to their wide variety of cakes and pastries.

Patta Kake has been around since 1981 but began doing picture cakes in 2005. Currently the bakery has outlets, in the Boulevard Super Centre and one in Liguanea Lane Plaza, both in St Andrew. The headquarters is located on Valentine Drive, just off Red Hills Road, also in St Andrew.

There are currently eight employees who make cakes and pastries daily. Among them is Sharon Willis who is employed as a baker. On a recent visit, she told Food just how picture cakes are made. She has been baking since 1989 and she loves it. Willis went through the step of how these popular picture cakes are made.

The process

1. To get started on making edible cake images, you will need a Photo Frost printer.

2. Bring up the image or picture on your computer and get ready to print. But, before you begin printing, thoroughly clean printer head.

3. To print image you will need a special edible sheet of paper and edible ink. The edible photo printing basics are simple. You use a regular computer to create customised images, photos and artwork and print them as you would normally. The only difference is that you will be using edible inkjet printer ink and you will be printing on edible printing paper. Edible paper comes in the form of frosting or icing sheets, which are so thin they absorb right in the cake frosting leaving a seamless edible picture.

4. The next step is to bake the cake, or if it was done ahead of time like Willis did, all you have to do is apply the frosting. Willis said it is important to smooth out the frosting with a cake spatula. Then use a cake comb to create a simple yet effective design around the edges.

5. After applying the frosting, if you are satisfied, it is time to put on the picture. Choose a place on the cake for the image. You will not be able to move the image once it's placed, so plan carefully. Mark the spot for the image with icing or make a mental note.

6. Wash your hands with soap and water. Ensure that your hands are clean and dry before handling the edible cake image. Place image on a flat surface then roll it with its backing sheet over a table edge or a countertop edge. Rolling it over an edge makes it easier to remove the backing. If the image is too moist to remove, harden it by placing it in the freezer for two minutes.

7. Remove the backing sheet from the image and hold it with both hands then place it face up directly on the cake icing. Smooth the edges of the image with your fingers. Remove any air bubbles by tapping the image; do not rub it with your fingers, or you will smear it.

8. Decorate the edges of the cake to your liking. Then place the cake in the refrigerator to keep the image moist and free of cracks until serving.