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Frosting, also commonly called icing, is typically the creamy or fluffy topping added to baked goods, such as cakes and cupcakes. Printed frosting sheets are designed to lie flat on top of a layer of frosting. They are made of edible paper and inks that are mostly made from ingredients such as corn starch and some sugars. These sheets allow photos and detailed images to be used to decorate a cake. Many commercial bakeries have offered frosting sheets for years, but now home bakers can print them from some home computer printers.
Most decorative frosting techniques involve piping the frosting through specially shaped tips that create lines, stars, dots and other designs. Some types of frosting can be made to dry very hard in order to create special shaped pieces and designs used to decorate cakes. Fondant, which is a type of cake covering that is usually rolled and laid on the cake, gives a smooth surface instead of a shaped or fluffy one, for instance. Frosting sheets allow much more detailed images to be placed on a cake than can be done with basic frosting and fondant, including intricate designs and fairly clear photographs. Photo cakes are a popular item at many bakeries that take the customers' photos, scan them into their computers and print them out as frosting sheets.
People who do not want to order a photo cake sometimes have the option of ordering just the frosting sheet to put on a homemade cake. These are usually ordered in a similar way, by providing a photo or some other image to be printed on the edible sheet. Some computer printers that people normally use for printing documents and photos can also be used for printing frosting sheets at home. Edible paper along with edible ink cartridges that will fit the particular printer must be purchased.
Frosting sheets generally do not have a distinct taste, so they should not interfere with the flavor of the cake and icing. These sheets can be placed on top of fluffy frosting that is smoothed down or on top of fondant that is covered in a layer of frosting to help the sheet stick in place. Some sort of frosting is necessary for taste and to help the frosting sheet blend in with the cake.
Cupcake frosting can also be decorated with frosting sheets. Designs can be printed and carefully cut out to place on top of cupcakes. Photos, text, drawings and other images can be added to enhance the design. When using a home printer with edible paper and ink, almost any design that can be created in a graphics program can be used on an icing sheet to create a one-of-a-kind cake decoration.