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I bought some printed rice paper decorations (flat circles of rice paper printed with edible ink) for my son's birthday party. I'm not sure what the best way is to attach them to cakes / cookies and I don't have a lot of spare time to experiement.

The options I can think of are:

  • make my own cookies and press them in to the cookie - either before baking or more likely after baking but while still warm and soft
  • place the rice paper circle on top of a pre-baked cookie or small flat-topped cake and pipe some form of icing or frosting around the edge to hold it in place
  • pile butter cream icing on top of a small cake, press the rice paper circle onto the butter cream icing

What I ideally want is to be able to do this the day before they are needed, so as well as being held properly in place, I also would like the rice paper not to go soggy / curl up and the ink not to run or leak out of the rice paper.

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Will you use it with both cake and cookies? Depending on what exactly you are making, you can use a drop of water and the rice paper sticks (but it's possible this isn't a good solution for you). –  Mien May 3 '13 at 12:24
    
I can do either cake or cookies, whichever is easier to make work or gives a better result. –  Vicky May 3 '13 at 12:46
    
@Mien, also, would the drop of water be at risk of making the ink run? I don't know what the ink is composed of. –  Vicky May 3 '13 at 15:50
    
Well, the drop of water method was a spectactular failure. I had a flat cake covered with fondant icing, I put a drop of water and pushed the rice paper down but it didn't stick at all. I tried a bit more water and the rice paper decoration started to go soggy and tear (but still didn't stick). With a new piece of rice paper I tried again, I thought I had got it OK using a very precise amount of water and very very careful handling, but when I came back to the cake 5 mins later the water and rice paper had dried and the rice paper had curled up and was not stuck to the cake at all. –  Vicky May 13 '13 at 9:31
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Have you called the support line from the rice paper company, if they have one? –  SAJ14SAJ May 13 '13 at 12:25

4 Answers 4

up vote 2 down vote accepted
+50

If you use the buttercream option, let the icing dry a bit before putting the rice paper on, as too much moisture will cause it to collapse and the ink to run. Also, I wouldn't recommend pressing the rice paper down, but just patting it onto slightly tacky buttercream. White icing is best as the rice paper is quite translucent.

The other alternative you suggest will work fine - place it on the cake and pipe around the edge to hold in place. I have seen this done many times. Best not to use a vivid colour for the piping as it could leech into the rice paper a bit.

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When I've seen them used, they first frosted the cake, smoothed it out, then placeed the rice paper on top.

My understanding is that the moisture in the frosting can end up melting the rice paper, so that it basically disappears into the frosting, with the ink effectively transfering into the frosting.

As I've never done it myself, I have no idea if there are any special tricks to it, or if you need to use a particular frosting / icing recipe so that the paper will melt away.

update: after a little research, I have reason to believe that normal rice paper won't disolve into the cake but there are special 'frosting sheets' that will. another recomendation was to leave enough white space around the image so that you can cover the edge of the sheet with a border if it starts to curl up.

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Thanks for your answer - I wavered back and forth on whether to award the bounty to your answer or Phil M Jones' answer, in the end I picked his simply because his seemed to be more based on experience. I did appreciate your answer too, though! –  Vicky May 17 '13 at 10:15
    
@Vicky : not a problem. When you first asked, I assumed that you needed it soon ... I typically prefer not to answer unless I have experience. (my only knowledge of it was asking the bakery at Kroger questions when they first started offering it back in ~1998 or so, and then some internet searching) –  Joe May 17 '13 at 10:38
    
I did need it soon, you were quite right! I ended up going with a completely different cake option and not using the toppers at all when it became clear that the "drop of water" idea wasn't going to work. I still have the toppers so I am planning to use them another time. –  Vicky May 17 '13 at 11:33

I saw a decorating demo in "Everyday Living with Cheryl ???(can't remember her last name)" with potato starch paper printed. The lady used dried royal icing on her cookies and applied corn syrup to back of design as paste and pressed onto decorated item. Some piped decoration around edges helped hold down edges or press down as drying to adhere...She also had a printer with edible ink so she could print her own and used scrapbooking cutters for shapes

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You could try rolling out very thin gumpaste or fondant and attaching the rice paper on it when its moist but not wet. I haven't tried it myself but royal icing might be a good option to attach the paper to the surface. Once attached to the gumpaste, you can cut it out using a small knife and let it dry. Then it should be easier to attach the gumpaste cutout to the actual cake.

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