Tuesday, May 27, 2014

HOW TO Do a Buttercream Frosting Transfer

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:
You may notice that I have a pre-made tube of black decorating icing.  This is because black is a very difficult color to make, and it's easier to just buy it.  Red is also difficult, so if you have a lot of red (I did a Lightning McQueen cake once and it had a lot of red!) I recommend buying the tube.  I always buy Wilton brand, and get the kind that will attach to my decorating tips.

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.
Here it is with the outline done:

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. 

Finally, when you're done filling in all the colors in the picture, fill in the background using the background color, which should be the same color that the main cake will be.  Here is mine with all the colors and the background done:
It looks weird, but again, that's because you're looking at the back side of it.  When you look at the front it will be great!

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.
Then remove the frosting transfer from the freezer.  Carefully remove the tape and take the frosting transfer (still on the waxed paper) off the sheet.  Turn it over onto the cake in the location you want it, and carefully remove the waxed paper.

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!

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