California-based company The Sugar Lab is offering up a sweet way to personalize baked goods. Owners Kyle and Liz von Hasseln are using a 3D printer to create customizable sugar sculptures.
Kyle and Liz are architectural designers. They had the idea for The Sugar Lab while they were in grad school. A friend of theirs was celebrating her birthday and the couple wanted to make her a cake. Unfortunately, they didn't have an oven. They did however, have plenty of CAD experience and a 3D printer. The von Hasselns decided to play around with the technology and see if they could print with sugar.
After several weeks of development, they were able to produce their first customized piece. It was a tiny sugar cupcake topper that spelled out the name Chelsea in cursive.
"Chelsea loved it so much that we started seriously considering how interested other people might be in 3D printed sugar. When we graduated, we decided to start a mini design firm for 3D printing custom sugar," said Liz von Hasseln.
Two years later, the Sugar Lab is taking off. Currently they are working with a Hollywood bakery to produce a huge, four-layered wedding cake with a 3D sculpted cake stand and four sugar columns.
"The overlap of technology, food and art is so rich, and the potentials for customization and innovation are limitless," said Liz. "We can definitely visualize a time when there will be a sugar 3D printer in every custom bakery. Brides will choose chocolate or vanilla, buttercream or fondant, and 3D-printed sugar topper shape."
The von Hasselns aren't the only ones experimenting with 3D printers and food. NASA just awarded a $125,000 grant to explore the possibility of printing food in space.