3D-Printed Cake Is Real: Scientists Made It Happen

3d-printed-cheesecake slices.

Scientists are hopeful that once mastered, 3D-printing could replace conventional cooking, allowing food to be tailored to nutritional needs of children, athletes or those on dietary restrictions. (Image: Jonathan Blutinger via Columbia Engineering)

Is the 3D-printed cake a thing? You’d be surprised, but the answer is yes! Learn about how scientists were able to 3D print a slice of cake.

The 3D-printed cake might seem like something uber-futuristic, but the reality is this type of technology is already here. This comes after so many other things can now be 3D-printed, such as prosthetics and jet engine parts. Now, aside from recent applications, the world has 3D-printed food. The new developments in sciences resulted in researchers printing a cheesecake.

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Researchers tried various cheesecake designs with seven critical ingredients for 3D food printing. (Image: Jonathan Blutinger via Columbia Engineering)

The ingredients required to print the cake

Instead of baking the cake, scientists still compiled the ingredients and used a 3D printer to create the cake.

Here are seven ingredients used to 3D print the cake.

  • Graham cracker paste
  • Peanut butter
  • Strawberry jam
  • Nutella
  • Banana puree
  • Cherry drizzle
  • Frosting

If you want to create a regular cake, you can still do so with these ingredients. However, one thing that differed with this cake is that it didn’t require baking.

Looking at the ingredients, you can see that they can be eaten straight up and, aside from preparation, don’t require you to “cook” them.

The process of making a 3D-printed cake

The technology followed a unique process of squeezing each element through a syringe in thin lines. Then, slowly but surely, like other 3D-printed objects, the cake came together layer by layer. As for the ratio, it was noted that 70 percent of the cake was made of graham cracker paste. This meant that while there were other ingredients, most of the cake was graham cracker paste, with a smaller ratio for other ingredients.

How the cake tasted

According to the researchers behind the cake, it was noted that it tasted like nothing that they had tried before. In addition, the unique layering created a different type of cake with segmented layers and flavors instead of a more blended result.

It was also noted that the earlier cake versions had less graham cracker paste, comprising only a third of the slice. However, the later iterations resulted from several failed attempts to build a cake slice.

What were the failed attempts?

After several failed attempts, the newer iterations became drier, and the walls were constructed thicker on the bottom. Going up, the cake walls became thicker to allow the wetter ingredients inside the wall. Because of the more challenging walls, it acted somewhat as a box for the wetter ingredients inside.

The final output reportedly took 30 minutes to make a cake slice. The 3D-printed cheesecake comes as more effort is being put into 3D-printed meat.

Peanut butter is deposited onto a layer of graham cracker paste as part of the 3D printing process. (Image: Jonathan Blutinger via Columbia Engineering)

Plant-based 3D-printed meats

One of the most popular directions that 3D-printed meat is heading toward is the process of 3D printing plant-based meat. However, the practical uses of printed meat go beyond regular diet. For example, NASA is already considering the possibility of 3D printing meat for astronauts to eat for long space trips.

Aside from plant-based foods, the 3D-printed machine can reportedly print chicken, beef, vegetables, and cheese. However, it was noted that the limitations to what they can print depend on whether or not that food can be turned into a paste, liquid, or powder.

The bottom line

The 3D-printed cheesecake slice pushes the limits of what 3D-printed food can become. With the scientists reportedly achieving this through a complex method of mixing harder and wetter ingredients, this opens a new path to other potential foods in the future.

There’s no telling what scientists might be able to 3D print someday regarding food.

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