Enjoying a cake made by a 3D printer is possible! A start-up from Normandy is launching a unique process in the world.
It looks like a classic 3D printer with one exception: it’s not plastic tape coming out of the machine, but… cake batter! And the object reproduced is not a synthetic industrial object, but a real pastel that can be eaten.
The principle of this “cooking printer” is to mix the liquid cake dough with the food powders (neutral flavor or cocoa), to form a cookie that consolidates. The machine’s print head then deposits the preparation layer by layer to obtain the shape defined in the design software. The computer allows you to imagine cakes with very original shapes, but the printer only produces a cookie structure. It will then be up to the confectioner to put together all the gourmet and decorative elements by hand to complete their creation: cream, mousse, fruit, etc.
Explanatory video below:
video length: 01min 36
Culinary 3D printer explainer video
©The Digital Pastry Shop
The machine already has a pre-programmed catalog of shapes and recipes, which can be expanded. The 3D printer would also allow vegan, allergen-free and gluten-free recipes.
This process, unique in the world, was conceived by a start-up from Normandy: La Pâtisserie Numérique, founded by Marine Coré-Baillais in 2019. For this graduate of ESSEC, a prestigious business school: “The goal is to free up time for confectioners so they can focus on creativity, on assembling flavors, textures, colors to make something super gourmet”. Julien Kistner, Digital Pastry Engineer, adds: “Our goal is not to replace the confectioner, but to allow him to automate his low value-added tasks.“.
For the moment, this revolutionary machine is intended for a professional audience (craft bakers, confectioners, etc.). This patented technology should allow the manufacturer to “ofincrease its profitability by about 26%, saving time making cakes […]to reduce the costs of silicone or steel molds”, according to the start-up. An innovation that also pleases large industrial groups.
“We also signed an R&D development contract with the Jacquet Brossard group to imagine a 3D printed pastry shop. It is possible, perhaps in the long term, to have an industrial version of this machine or one for home.”
Marine Coré-Baillais, Founder of La Pâtisserie Numérique
Marine Coré-Baillais, founder of the start-up, wanted to follow a pastry CAP, to have all the necessary knowledge and skills in this area. Desiring to settle in Normandy, she obtained the necessary funds thanks to the Fast Forward Agrifood project call launched by the Normandy Development Agency (ADN). The start-up is located at La Pépinière 4.0 Le Hub in Louviers (Eure) and has a 200m workshoptwo.
video length: 01min 53
Digital pastry, a unique process
We contacted the pastry chefs in the department to find out if they would be ready to use this high-tech tool. A pastry chef from Le Havre, who has heard of this food printer, seems quite interested. “I find it very good to save time, especially for very large Parisian pastries, it can be good!“, she explains. When asked about the risk of falling into the industrial kitchen, she replies that “it’s still homemade. I think it’s a gain. But on my scale it’s not useful as I have a small business.“
On the other hand, for a confectioner from Rouen, this innovation leaves him quite skeptical. “I see no point in going like this. Technically, we can move towards this type of machine in the future, but it goes against the craft“, he evaluates. It remains, therefore, to carry out an awareness-raising work on this new tool. This is one of the objectives of opening this food laboratory.
The Louviers workshop will allow Pastelaria Digital to carry out its tests and demonstrations for pastry chefs and chefs thanks to the 3D printer farm. The goal is also to train them in this new tool. This is also where future printers are made. “The first machines will be launched by the end of the year. Twenty-five are currently in production.”, explains a start-up engineer. The company doesn’t want to stop there.
Finally, the start-up would like to rent out its 3D printers to professionals for €500 per month. Several foreign confectioners have already taken a risk. From then on, La Pâtisserie numérique plans to offer “consumables” (dough, powder) to the general public.
In 2023/2024, a new fundraiser will start to develop a culinary printer assembly line. The start-up, which currently has 11 employees, will be able to employ 75 people in the coming years thanks to this future production line.