3D food printing technology has been around since 2005, although until now it has only been used with raw ingredients, resulting in unappetizing dishes. Now, Columbia University engineers, led by Jonathan Blutinger, have printed a cheesecake made up of seven ingredients (crackers, peanut butter, chocolate cream, banana puree, strawberry jam, cherry extract and glaze) cooked on site with a laser.
To create their dessert, they built a 3D printing system from edible inks. After testing various cheesecake designs, the team decided to use the cracker as a fundamental ingredient for each layer of the cake, as well as butter peanut and chocolate cream as support layers to contain the softer components (banana and jam).
The authors of the study “The future of software-controlled cooking”, published in ‘npj Science of Food, point out that the multi-layer food printing would give the possibility to create more customizable foods, improve food safety, and allow users to control content of nutrients from meals more easily. However, “because 3D printing food cartridges is still a nascent technology, food cartridge manufacturers, downloadable recipe files, and an environment in which to create and share these recipes are needed.” Blutinger points out.