I love colorful cake decorating but I really don't like the taste of food coloring. By making a "paint" from coffee I achieved a meticulously hand painted look with a light coffee flavor. The colors are also vintage looking and appropriate for even the most masculine Valentine's or Father's Day gift recipient!
Step 1: Supplies
- Edible Paper - This is definitely a specialty cake decorating material. It goes by names like "wafer paper," "edible paper," and "rice paper." You're not looking for frosting sheets, those are too opaque. I ordered my paper on ebay, and if you'd rather not do that you may be able to purchase a few sheets from a friendly bakery, especially the kind that are part of grocery stores.
- Instant Coffee - I know this may offend some purists, but the thicker you can make your paint the better it will work, and instant coffee is the quick way to achieve that. And it still tastes more like coffee than food coloring, so that's a win.
- Brushes and Toothpicks - These are FOOD ONLY, so don't pull a brush out of your oil painting kit.
- Template - I've included mine, it should print 8.5x11 with each design square being 2 inches.
- Scissors or other cutting device - again, this is for food only
- Ruler - A kitchen ruler is a good idea, but if you don't have one be sure to use a clean ruler that hasn't been with dangerous art supplies
- White Frosting - I used frosting from a can so I didn't post a picture, mostly because you didn't need photographic proof that I didn't have time to make the real thing.
- A Baked Good To Decorate - I went with brownies because they're classic and a nice compliment to the coffee flavor!
Step 2: Cut the Wafer Paper
I initially thought I might decorate an entire sheet of wafer paper then cut it, but there was too much drip risk so I pre-cut my 2 inch squares.
Step 3: Mix the Paint
Put some instant coffee into a small container - about a teaspoon should be enough to keep you painting for a long time. Add water a couple drops at a time, stirring it in. As soon as you have enough coffee colored liquid to paint with you're ready to go. Water is the enemy of wafer paper, so use as little as possible.
Step 4: Paint!
Place a square of wafer paper over the design you want to paint.
Pick up a small amount of paint onto your brush. Apply it where you want it. A few thin coats with drying time in between is the best way to get darker colors.
If an area gets too wet it will dissolve like the Wicked Witch in The Wizard of Oz. The paper will just disappear. It's made of starch (likely either potato or rice) so it's very water soluble. That said, I was able to paint dozens of these with only one spot that bled through.
I used a toothpick to draw in thin lines.
Don't stack the pieces until they're completely dry.
You could always use or augment this step with food coloring markers, but they're more likely to taste funny.
Step 5: Frost and Stick
Apply an even coat of white frosting over your baked good of choice. A frosting that is room temperature and moist will give you your best paper blending.
Set your decorations where you want them, then gently smooth the edges down into the frosting. It will absorb into the paper and the wafer paper will become less visible. You'll want to leave gaps between the paper for cutting, it can be difficult to get a clean cut through the paper.
For best results leave them overnight before showing them off. For even better results make these a week in advance and make sure your paper and frosting are super compatible, then make a good batch to present to royalty or your crush or whatever.
Step 6: Eat Them!
All that's left is to eat your fancy treats! The wafer paper is slightly sweet when eaten by itself and more or less tasteless when mixed in with other stuff. I think it's what they make satellite/ufo candy out of, in case that offers you a reference.
You could make your decorations up a week or two in advance, as long as you kept them very dry in an air tight container at room temperature.