Have you ever seen a cake with a picture painted in frosting? Not those that are printed on edible paper, but actually just made of frosting? They are created using a Buttercream Frosting Transfer. That is a complicated name for something that is actually quite simple. Once you've learned to do it, you can put any picture on a cake. All it takes is a picture, some frosting, and some time! Oh, and a piping bag and tip.
Here's how to do it.
First, get your picture. I often use coloring book pictures that I download online, or pull pictures from websites. If you're selling these cakes you may have copyright issues, but for your own home use it's fine. In this case, my son wanted a picture that he drew to be on his cake, so he drew the picture and colored it in and gave it to me. Once you have the picture, you need to reverse it, so scan it and flip it horizontally, then print it out again. Here is my son's original picture (colored) next to the flipped black and white version:
Once you have a flipped version, cut out any excess paper (don't cut too close, leave a border), and tape it onto the back of something metal, like a baking sheet. Then tape a piece of waxed paper on top of the picture. You'll be tracing the picture onto the waxed paper.
Next, mix up your frosting into whatever colors you desire. I always use this frosting recipe,
because it's perfect in texture for this. Look at your picture to see how much of each color you'll need. You will also need to know what color the main frosting color will be on the cake (the background color, if you will), and mix that up too. Here are all my colors:
Okay, now that your frosting is ready, the first step is to outline everything in black. Fit your tip (#2 or #3, I used #3 here) onto the black frosting and begin to carefully outline. This is the most important step. If you mess up, simply scrape the frosting off with a toothpick and try again.
Next you do all of one color, whichever you like. Use the same size tip as before. If you don't want to buy an icing bag, you can cut the tip off a Ziploc bag and use that, it works almost as well.
When you are loaded up with frosting, fill in the areas that are that color. You don't have to worry about covering up the black lines, because you are looking at the back of the picture. Whatever you did in black will be in front, and will look great when you are done, so don't worry. Just don't go outside of the outlines.
Now take it and put it in the freezer, still attached to the metal sheet. Leave it there for several hours at least, or even better overnight.
Once it's solid, frost the cake, the same color as the background color you picked earlier.
Finally, smooth the edges of the frosting transfer so they blend into the rest of the cake. Then decorate the remaining cake as desired.
Ta-Da! You're finished!
Here are some other cakes I've used frosting transfers with. They're a great way to personalize a cake!