Without the wrappers, cupcakes just don’t look like cupcakes, and peeling them off ruins the look. But are cupcake wrappers edible?
We do have ‘edible paper’ made of sugar or rice that you can eat whole, but are these papers used to make cupcake wrappers as well?
Most cupcake wrappers are made of regular wax paper and are therefore not edible. While there is no harm in accidentally swallowing a scrap or two that gets stuck to your cupcake, the wrappers in themselves are not meant to be eaten. However, some are made of edible material and therefore safe.
While it would be a lot easier to simply eat the cupcake whole – wrapper and all – most wrappers are not meant to be eaten.
We looked into the types of cupcake wrappers that exist and what most of them are made of, as well as the newer, edible version.
Are Cupcake Wrappers Edible?
Technically, all cupcake wrappers are edible in that it is not impossible to eat them, but that wouldn’t be something a well-adjusted person would do. As irritating as it can be to have to peel off the wrapper from the pretty little cupcake it’s on, it would be in your best interests to do so before you eat it.
Fortunately, if you do happen to eat cupcake paper by accident (or even on purpose, really) you don’t have to worry about your life. The paper most cupcake wrappers are made of is wax paper, which is really not meant for consumption, but isn’t posing a serious risk to your health.
When consumed, your body simply refuses to digest the paper, and it will come out as it is with the rest of your body’s waste material. Of course, it wouldn’t taste very nice, but at least you don’t have to worry about getting sick.
Of course, that is only if the wrapper in question is made of wax paper. Some cupcake wrappers are made of other materials, like silicon, and no matter how much you try, those are physically impossible to eat, and therefore, not edible at all.
Some wrappers are also made of foil, which is again, not edible. If you accidentally swallow a piece of foil, however, you should be okay, as long as the size of the foil isn’t too big. If it is, there may be a risk of choking, and sometimes larger pieces can get stuck in the digestive tract.
However, when speaking about cupcake wrappers, the likelihood is that if you do accidentally swallow a piece of foil, it’d be no bigger than a small scrap, so there is no real danger.
Edible Cupcake Wrappers: Do They Exist?
You’d think humanity has progressed too far to not have something as simple as edible cupcake wrappers – and you’d be right!
Our first thought when it comes to edible paper is sugar or rice paper, which is often used in baking for various things. From printing out pictures in edible ink to decorating cakes, these papers are used for a number of things. Their usefulness as cupcake wrappers is questionable though, since neither of these are able to last in the oven.
Of course, there are plenty of improvised versions of cupcake wrappers. For example, chocolate cups made from melted chocolate that have been molded into the shape of a cupcake wrapper, but these are, again, not meant for the oven. At best, you can use these improvised versions after the baking is done, and the non-edible liners are removed from the cupcake itself.
For the person eating, this is good enough, since all they care about is the cupcake and the material it’s in. But what about cupcake wrappers that are truly edible, and can also be kept in the oven?
They’re rare, but they do exist.
You can find cupcake wrappers made of a wafer-like material that is thicker than paper and thus more stable. It is also much tastier than the edible paper options. This wafer material is also suitable for baking, and you don’t need to have a special cupcake tin around the wrappers to keep them upright. Since they’re a wafer material, they can stand on their own as long as they’re on a flat surface.
Some cupcake wrappers are also made of gelatin, though again, these can only be used after the cupcake has already been baked. These cups can also only be used after the gelatin has been frozen, since without freezing, they will have a very unstable, gel-like consistency. However, they do come with the option for different kinds of flavorings and colors, which can make your cupcakes look a lot better.
The waffle cone is another type of wrapper. In fact, it may be one of the types everyone has already tried, but these are not easy to make, and are often not associated with cupcakes as much as they are with ice creams. However, they are rather stable and if you can manage the temperature in your oven properly, they can work well as edible cupcake wrappers as well.
Another type of edible wrapping that is possible for cupcakes, but has yet to be tried on cupcakes is milk proteins. Milk contains the protein ‘casein’, which is actually commonly used in wrapping materials. Food technology is constantly advancing, so we can expect that soon we’ll have edible cupcake wrappers made with milk too.
Why Do You Need Edible Cupcake Wrappers?
But the real question is, why should we want – or need – edible wrappers, anyway? Aren’t the paper, foil or silicone one's good enough?
Not really. In the past, these were good enough, since the world was still young and we had a lot of room to indulge. Nowadays, with an environmental crisis on our hands, inedible wrappers only create unnecessary waste. With edible packaging, the question of recycling or biodegradability is removed, since all edible packaging will simply be eaten.
On top of that, depending on what kind of material the edible wrapper is made of, it can also add to the nutritional value of the cupcake itself. That said, this will make baking a rather complex and costly process.
Still, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t have edible wrappers! After all, what better way to eat a cupcake than to just bite into it without worrying about the wrapper? If the wrapper is bright and colorful, all the better!
So far, most cupcake wrappers are still inedible, but there are plenty of edible options too, and there will likely be even more of them in the future.
About THE AUTHOR
Lori has been a Culinary Arts instructor for twenty years. She has taught in the public school setting, at the collegiate level and through adult continuing education as well as running several cooking and baking camps for children. She has participated in several cooking, cake & chocolate contests and has been well recognized. She has raised thousands of dollars for charities using the byline “Saving the World one Cupcake at a Time”. Additionally, she has had several articles regarding food published in various magazines.Read More About Lori Gilmore