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Dessert From a Printer!

Engineers made a piece of cake, but they didn’t use an oven. They used a printer!

A piece of cake made up of many layers of a thick liquid that is brown and pink.

Jonathan Blutinger/Columbia Engineering

A printer made this piece of cake!

Most people use an oven to make a cake. But not long ago, engineers made a piece of cake with no mixing bowls and no oven. Instead, they used a 3D printer! 

Most printers put words or pictures on paper. But 3D printers create, or print out, three-dimensional objects. Three-dimensional objects aren’t flat. They have a length, a width, and a height. One example of a three-dimensional object is a piece of cake.

The 3D printed cake had seven ingredients—graham cracker paste, peanut butter, strawberry jam, Nutella (a chocolate and nut spread), mashed banana, cherry drizzle, and frosting. All the ingredients had to be liquid. Engineers put each ingredient into a tiny tube. Then the printer squeezed the ingredients out into the shape of a piece of cake, layer by layer. As it printed, the machine used lasers to heat the paste, which cooked it.

A printer part consisting of seven labeled tubes with different ingredients and narrow spouts at the bottom

Jonathan Blutinger/Columbia Engineering

Engineers put ingredients such as peanut butter into the printer’s tubes.

The engineers call their cake a “cheesecake.” There was no cheese in the cake, but it was creamy, just like many cheesecakes. 

But was it as good as an oven-baked cheesecake?

“It definitely tasted like something I hadn’t tried before,” Jonathan Blutinger told the Guardian. Blutinger was one of the engineers who created the cake. “I rather enjoyed it, but it’s not [made of the usual ingredients].”

People have made food with 3D printers before. There’s even a restaurant that serves 3D printed meals. Why print a meal? Engineers say that printers are better than people at measuring ingredients. 

Would you eat printed food?

Jonathan Blutinger/Columbia Engineering

Engineers did many tests before they printed out a nice piece of cake. Can you tell why this test failed?

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Fun Fact

© Matias Del Carmine/; Animation Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.

The first cheesecake recipe was written down almost 1,800 years ago in ancient Greece! The ancient Greeks fed cheesecake to athletes before sporting events. They thought the cheese would give the athletes energy.

Just Print It Out!

Cem Ozdel—Anadolu Agency/Getty Images; Karl-Josef Hildenbrand—picture alliance/Getty Images; Visual China Group/Getty Images

3D printers can print lots of things, including toys, phone cases, lamps, and furniture. But did you know that these amazing machines have also printed…




Prosthetics, or artificial (fake) limbs

Organs, such as kidneys and skin

Check out the slideshow above to see some items that were printed out.

The First Printer

Two workers standing at a large printing press

Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.

Today, many people print things from a tablet or a computer. But the first printer was a machine called the printing press. It printed books. Before the printing press, books were written by hand. What a pain!

Who invented the printing press? Find out at Britannica School!

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Word of the Day


Part of speech:



: to make (something) usually in large amounts by using machines

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