They are 3D-printing cakes now, edible and everything. They can do chicken too

Leonard Sengere Avatar

Image credit: Jonathan Blutinger / Columbia Engineering

Just when you think you have seen it all, you see something like this. They are printing cakes now. Do those words mean what they traditionally meant? – you are forced to wonder. But yes, they are 3D-printing cakes that apparently taste pretty sweet.

Researchers at Columbia University have been working on printed food for years and were finally able to print a cheesecake (the best cake there is, don’t fight me on this) that looks and tastes good.

However, this time around they worked with cooked ingredients as opposed to uncooked ingredients as most 3D-printed food research has been trying. For the cheesecake, they used 7 ingredients – graham crackers (a dry biscuit), peanut butter, Nutella, banana puree, strawberry jam, cherry drizzle, and frosting.

The ingredients:

Image credit: Jonathan Blutinger / Columbia Engineering

Although they used ‘cooked’ ingredients, their 3D printer has a blue laser that can cook food if required.

Why though?

The researchers wanted to show that 3D printing has the potential to revolutionise the kitchen. Up until now, the kitchen has gone relatively unscathed by the advancement of technology.

It actually still is a market advantage when a restaurant ‘flame grills’ or uses wood-fired pizza ovens. The researchers wanted to disrupt that.

So, it’s not just cheesecakes they can churn out. Whatever can be turned into a paste, liquid or powder can be used as an ingredient. The engineers say they can also print chicken, beef, vegetables and cheese. Printed chicken? That’s the world you’re living in.

One of the advantages that come from printing food is that you can customise food to a degree not possible with conventional cooking. “Laser cooking and 3D food printing could allow chefs to localize flavours and textures on a millimetre scale to create new food experiences.”

Talking about the printed cheesecake, one of the researchers said,

Each ingredient hits your palette at different times, and made us realize that you can really localize flavors throughout the printed structure to get different flavor sensations depending on how you approach eating the dessert

Jonathan Blutinger

Vegans and vegetarians have the most to celebrate though as this printer would allow them to mimic the textures and flavours of real meats.

The other benefit of printing food would be that fewer human hands would handle the food. They say in this post-Covid era, this lowering of the risk of foodborne illness and disease transmission could not be more appreciated.

Beyond your personal kitchen

NASA, in the United States, has been working on 3D-printed food for astronauts on long missions. The US Army has also been looking into 3D-printed food that can deliver the nutrients a soldier needs for the day. This nutrient need being gleaned from wearable sensors.

Could this be the future of the food industry? Could your culinary degree be rendered useless by 3D printers? The researchers believe it’s only a matter of time,

I think itโ€™s an inevitability. Once software touches an industry, we donโ€™t look back. It propels it forward in ways we never thought possible. That hasnโ€™t really happened for food yet

Jonathan Blutinger

What can I say? – it is a crazy world. What do you think about this? Would you love to chow into a printed drumstick if it meant a new and enhanced chicken experience? Let us know in the comments section below.

Also read:

The Maker Club 2022 Holiday Camp to create Zimโ€™s first 3D-printed orchestra and your kid can be part of it

Nashua Zim Completes Fitting Of 3D Printed Prosthetic Hand

Zimbabwean Student In The UK Convicted For 3D Printing Firearm

27 comments

What’s your take?

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  1. XCLR8OR

    Damn ..that is Insane ๐Ÿ˜‚ first thing tomorrow imma get my divorce papers sorted out…

    1. Leonard Sengere

      ๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿคฃ It’s not professional chefs that have to worry about this.

  2. Anonymous

    Proliferation of synthetic foods will be next… Jus not as good as the real stuff except for the processed stuff that’s usually processed it obviously will taste better since those flavorings will penetrate the printed food on a microscopic level weird world next thing we’ll be printing humans jus for the feels not for the joy of procreation coz well never do that ever

    1. Nominal Nom Noms

      The west has been going hard against their farmers even as their food prices climb, while completely coincidentally pushing bug protein alternatives as additives and eventually as total replacements alongside other cultured alternatives. Synthetic wombs had a breakthrough recently, in vitro tech and cloning are mature at this point and gene editing has progressed to being confidently promoted for treating babies in utero. The future you foresee is close enough to be breathing down your neck

      1. Leonard Sengere

        Sometimes you feel like saying, ‘easy there scientists, you’re upsetting the natural order.’ Synthetic wombs? I had no idea. I was never comfortable with the cloning stuff but we seem to be forging ahead with it.

        The plight of the farmer is hard to watch.

    2. Leonard Sengere

      How can organic food compete with this? Customised food, localised flavours etc. We are going to be pumped full of synthetics.

      The human printing thing is already here.

      1. African citizen by birth

        Sophia the robot has almost all human features. It has a passport, citizenship, travels alone, make conversations though limited in vocabulary. The honor is upon thy self to choose that which is in your best interest at a given point in time and shoulder the aftermath thereof:

        1. Leonard Sengere

          Dude, Sophia has been around for years now but I still feel queasy when I see her.

        2. Kamikaze

          We are still far away from making human like robots coz we need at least 0,01 nanometer chips that will move information faster than the human nerve and right now we haven’t crack anything below 3 nanometer or even built a lithography machine that can print anything below 3 nanometer.

  3. Nominal Nom Noms

    Printed chicken is a hard pass from me, but a Marvel diorama cake filled with edible figures…

    1. Leonard Sengere

      Hard pass on the printed chicken? You’ll come around in due time. It will be all that’s available by 2035, mark my false prophet words.

      1. Nominal Nom Noms

        I’m waiting on the Star Trek Replicator ๐Ÿ˜„ Until then, even if real chicken becomes illegal, I’ll be be saying no to print chicken all the way to the nuggets and wings dealer round the corner!

    2. Anonymous

      But if you go to US there is 90% chance that you are going to eat lab meat coz they’re already buying it from India and other local producers๐Ÿ˜

  4. The Last Don

    Ummm. It’s a weird world ๐ŸŒ we are now living in.
    ๐Ÿ˜ฒ๐Ÿ˜ฒ๐Ÿ˜ฒ๐Ÿ˜ฒ

    1. Leonard Sengere

      I can only imagine what else they got cooking in their labs these crazy scientists.

  5. ๐Ÿ‘ฝ

    Nothing will ever best a real drumstick i dont care what anyone says

    1. Leonard Sengere

      Not even a drumstick that’s customised? Imagine a drumstick that’s been carefully crafted to give your tastebuds a wild ride. Localised flavours down to the microscopic level my friend. The $5 road runner you can buy kumaraini cannot compete.

      1. ๐Ÿ‘ฝ

        My frend a real drumstick from a road runner cooked to perfection muchikari nagogo kumusha with no added spices, just gogo doing her thing nechikari nemugoti or should i say magicwand

    2. Patrick Kuzakwawo

      I agree with you there,the real thing os always the best

  6. Dhivha

    ngazviperere ikoko hatidi kuzo printirwa sadza

    1. Leonard Sengere

      Aiwaka Dhivha, haurambe sadza rakaprintwa ka. Hanzi nevakuru ramba waraira.

      1. Isaac

        ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚ proton

  7. munyah007

    Printed food I can imagine how long it would take to make an order and get it processed

    1. Leonard Sengere

      The cheesecake took 30 minutes to squirt out. Apparently it takes 7-9 hours to bake one. The time savings are wild.

  8. joboniya

    Any chance of getting printed politicians that would be really useful highly customised not to lie cheat and steal

  9. King

    Most Americans eat lab meat from India anyway
    ..but I don’t see anything wrong with 3D printed cakes since all the ingredients are pre cooked.

  10. Isaac

    So what exactly will you be eating, muffin & its paper (this isn’t new tbh) or just the good stuff?