Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Buttercream Frosting Transfer Tutorial

I have a delightful three year old that is completely obsessed with Scooby Doo.  That's what she requested for her birthday cake theme last week, so I hit the internet in search of a way to decorate her cake without undue stress.  My friend Amber suggested a buttercream transfer.  Looked doable, so I gave it a try and I was very pleased with the results. 

The first step is to print out your design template.  If you're going to be doing lettering, you'll need to reverse the image, which can be done in Word in text art, or else you can print it out frontwards then tape it to a window and trace it on the back side of the paper.  I just did a simple image search on Google for my Scooby Doo picture. 

Next, tape it onto a cutting board or other stiff surface that you can fit into your freezer.  Tape a piece of wax paper over the top.  Then, trace the outline and detailing in your desired color.  I wanted black, which is hard to achieve in homemade batches, so I simply purchased a tube of Wilton squeezable frosting and used a round tip.  I think that next time I will pipe a second line of frosting to form a deeper border, and then allow it to set up for 30 or so minutes before proceeding to the next step.
Next, determine the next layer of color and pipe it in.  For this particular design, the whites of the eyes and teeth were next in order.  I used ziplock baggies with the corner cut off - it doesn't have to be precise and pretty.  You're just filling in the space.  I wasn't quite careful enough, though, and laid this on a little bit thicker than I should have which resulted in a little spillover in the finished product.  Lesson learned for next time!
I did the yellow detail on the collar next.  I forgot the principal of reversing the lettering.  Good thing three year olds aren't picky.  Then I filled in the blue that surrounds the yellow.
Next, I coated the whole head in brown, covering over the eyes and teeth.  I then did a layer of white over the collar to bring it up to the same level as the brown.
Last of all, I put another layer of wax paper on top and gently pressed the design down to help fill in all the little gaps, then put it in the freezer overnight.  This could be made the day of, though it still needs at least a couple of hours to freeze adequately to transfer without disaster.
The next day, I laid down the background layer of frosting, pulled the Scooby Doo head out of the freezer, peeled the top layer of wax paper off, popped the design onto the cake in the right place, and peeled the bottom layer of paper off.  Easy peasy!
I finished the cake off with a simple border, sprinkles and some lettering and voila!  A Scooby cake!  You can see where some of the piping lines showed through, which I'm sure I'll be able to clear up next time I do this.  I think that a flat decorating tip might work really well for laying down the layer of frosting in large areas more evenly.
I'm my own worst critic, though, and as you can see, my daughter was 100% thrilled with it and didn't notice the little quirks.  I'll definitely do this again!


Nicole said...

I am very impressed!!

Sara said...

So that's how it's done! I've seen stuff about buttercream transfers but didn't quite "get" it. Very cool! And looks pretty simple to do too.

the-mommy-person said...

That is awesome! I will have to try this very soon!

Mindy said...

Very cool! I've got to try this on the next birthday!

Lynley said...

Thank you for doing this - I have wondered many times how to put a picture onto my kids cakes (without buying pre-made!) I will definatly be giving this a go :)