Using Vintage Images on Cookies, Cupcakes, and Cakes

Barnyard Birthday Cupcake Presentation

Barnyard Birthday Cupcake Presentation

1st Birthday Barnyard Theme

Birthday Boy with Tractor Cookie and Self Portrait Image

Vintage Birthday Card Images on Barn Shaped Cookies











Have you ever wondered where those “Martha Stewart”, Pinterest-worthy cookies and cupcakes that are perfectly printed with lovely vintage graphics come from? They look like an expensive fancy bakery prepared them, don’t they? Well, they may have been, but they don’t have to be! I LOVE using edible rice paper (aka edible wafers) and frosting sheets to create amazing cookies and cupcake toppers that are not only delicious but are also visually inspiring. The first thing you should know is the difference between edible wafers and frosting/icing sheets. They each have a specific purpose. Edible wafers are for use on DRY icing and rest on the surface of the iced edible and frosting sheets are for use on WET icing and “melt” into the iced edible. A simple way to think of it is edible wafers are usually used for cookies while frosting sheets are for cupcakes and cakes.

Edible rice paper sheets are often referred to as edible wafers. The rice paper is made from potato starch, water, and vegetable oil. There is no taste associated with rice paper but if placed on a soft texture the paper texture will be very noticeable. The image is printed with 100% food coloring onto rice paper. Rice paper must be used with DRY icing such as royal icing or rolled fondant. After the icing on your cookie has thoroughly dried for 24 hours, brush a thin amount of corn syrup to the back of your wafer paper using a flat food safe brush. Place the wafer on your cookie and cover with a piece of wax paper. Smooth the wafer image onto the cookie using your hands to push out all of the air bubbles. You can also use a fondant smoother to get out any air bubbles or a credit card. Remove the wax paper, turn your cookie over face down onto a flat surface lined with wax paper and let sit for 30 minutes to air dry. Turn your cookie back over and make sure the wafer paper is smoothly attached to the edges of your cookie. If  the edges are not attached or have lifted, paint a small amount of corn syrup over the edge to attach. Let the cookies air dry several hours. You can decorate the edge of your cookies with sanding sugar, piped icing, non pareils or any edible decoration. This Pinterest page from Say It With Cookies, has easy to understand visual directions for attaching edible wafers.

Frosting or icing sheets are thin layers of icing that are pressed onto flexible plastic backing sheets. These sheets are printed with 100% food coloring. Because these sheets are icing, they will blend or melt into the icing below them and adhere without any additional application product. The frosting sheet should be slightly chilled. Remove from the backing paper carefully as you would remove a sticker. Place the frosting sheet on top of your freshly iced surface. Smooth gently with your fingertips- but be gentle as this sheet is icing and can tear easily. Now just sit and wait- the frosting sheet will merge with your iced edible. Frosting sheets are perfect for cupcakes, cakes, and freshly iced cookies.

I have used both types of edible sheets with good success. The key to edible wafers is patience. You cannot be in a rush and must be careful not to get the corn syrup on the front of the decal or the image will be shiny. Frosting sheets are a little more delicate, but do blend easily and provide a crisp image that cannot be detected by taste or texture when consumed. There are many shops on Etsy that provide pre-designed edible wafers and frosting sheets, but I prefer to use my own graphics and have them custom printed by these shops. When you combine a vintage image, such as a vintage greeting card with an edible image on a cookie- it is both stunning and delicious! Not to mention it takes your party decor to the next level and impresses your guests.

I love to purchase digital collage sheets of vintage cards from Saturday Finds on Etsy. After having a jpeg of your vintage image, send a message to an Etsy shop such as Say it With Cookies or Queen of Tarts Wafers to find out what their custom order process is for custom edible wafers or frosting sheets. The price usually only costs between $10-20 depending on quantity and size. There are many shops to choose online that custom create edible wafers and frosting sheets, but I love these two shops in particular, they have great ratings and produce good quality products. Queen of Tarts Wafers also has an amazing selection of pre-designed wafers and is considered the leader in the field of edible wafers.

Now that we have discussed the use of edible images, lets backtrack for a moment and discuss the cookie itself. I don’t believe in having something that is pretty but tastes bad or bland. For my son’s first birthday I was determined to find a great tasting sugar cookie recipe that would be firm enough to support icing and an edible image but also be soft enough for little teeth to chew. I found this recipe on Sweetopia and have never used another recipe since (3 years and counting!). If you are new to using royal icing she also has great tutorials on her site. If you are only interested in pretty cookies, head to your local bakery and buy pre-iced cookies and jump straight to adding your own edible image.

If you love all things vintage like I do, try using a vintage image on cookies at your next party- they really do add an unexpected festive element!

Some content details for this post have been obtained from the shops Say It With Cookies , Queen of Tarts Wafers, and Sweetopia.




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