Well, after Carlee from Ladybird Ln. guest blogged earlier this month, and showed us all a simple technique for cake transfers, I couldn’t resist. I had to try it out for myself. My husband has been asking for cake, and so I humored him with his favorite theme: Star Wars. :) (If you read here regularly, you probably know that Star Wars is a “thing” around here. I even have a Star Wars Pinterest Board that I add to when I find fun ideas!) So while this is by no means a pro decorating job, I’m quite pleased with it as a practice try!!
You will certainly find better versions out there if you go to any of the sweets blogs, but honestly – that is just NOT my thing. So if you are looking at this going, but I’m not a decorator – that’s okay! I bet you can still do this with results to impress any five-year-old, or chocolate-craving-grown-man, even. ;) It’s much easier than it looks!
I’ll share a few things I learned, for those of you considering trying this out – because I am a huge fan of doing things the easy way, which sometimes prove to be a brilliant shortcut, and sometime prove to be the undoing of an entire undertaking.
First of all, I would suggest checking out Carlee’s tutorial. I’m not going to repeat everything here, because she did a good job of explaining already. Then, I’ll tell you what I did differently and what worked, and what I would change about my own experience.
Nowhere did I find a tip about how much icing to make, so I will start there. I ended up using a whole 16 oz. box of powdered sugar, and I was still a little bit short for my 9″ round, 2-layer cake. I had to thin it more than what I wanted to, which make it a little less beautiful than what I had hoped for. Really, the whole thing would have been much more stunning with the proper texture for my buttercream. I can’t explain what the proper texture is, it will take a little experience to learn this part for yourself. I know I got it right for the filling layer! But I ran short of powdered sugar for the rest, and all the perfect stuff was trapped in the middle!! Alas. :)
I used a sheet from a coloring book for Master Yoda. It worked awesome… but I eyeballed it and thought, oh sure, that will fit… but he ended up being a little too tall, boo! So, measure first! In hindsight, even making him too tall – I should have cut his feet off and moved him down. Oh well – lesson learned.
Anyway, to do the transfer, I put the sheet on my cutting board, and taped wax paper on top to stabilize it. Then when it came time to transfer to the freezer, I just moved it cutting board and all.
I opted for a store-bought chocolate cookie icing for my outline. The kind that was already in the tube and said it was quick-drying – because it looked great for piping. It worked all right, but I’d use actual chocolate frosting for cakes, next time, because once the cake sat at room temperature for a couple hours, it bled just a little.
Be patient and go slowly on your design. I can’t stress this enough. And if you goof on the outline, wipe it off with a damp paper towel and do it over. It’s no big deal – you’ll be happy it’s right!
Once I was done with my outline, I mixed up my brown and green buttercream to fill it. I didn’t use a special tip – I just put it in a ziploc bac and snipped a tiny corner off, and piped it in that way. It worked beautifully!
Now, at this point, Carlee advocates covering the backside with a generous layer of white frosting to stabilize it. As I have mentioned… I knew I wouldn’t have enough for that. So I skipped this step and moved my design to the freezer without the stabilizing layer. It did work, although if you have a very detailed design, be very careful when you go to transfer if you’re just using the filled outline.
Now, if you don’t have a very thick layer of frosting for this step, you’re not going to be able to peel and then place your design the way Carlee did – you’re going to have to turn it upside down on top of your cake, press it gently, and then put the whole thing back in the freezer. The thin layer will warm up to the heat of your hands, so you’ll want to re-freeze it before removing the wax paper.
Half an hour did the trick – when I peeled off the wax paper (go slowly on this step too!), I was really careful around his ears, and didn’t have any trouble. I did lose a couple of his toes, but that was off the edge of the cake, so I really don’t think they would have made it anyway. So – it may be a more delicate endeavor this way, but the extra layer of buttercream won’t make or break your success as long as you’recareful, in case you’re short on frosting, like I was!
It still looked a little plain, so I piped a border with some chocolate Oreo icing I had for the last round of cupackes… until I realized, I’d have to cover his head. Doh. So I just did the sides, and decided not to sweat it. I am counting this as my practice cake. ;)
All in all, I’m very pleased with it, as long as I view it as a trial run and a way to learn. If you’re hoping to do something like this for a big party, consider your current skills at decorating (or the age of your audience, LOL) and, you may want to do a trial run the week before, to get the hang of it. I am AWFUL at making baked goods beautiful, and I pulled it off – so this was a huge win coming from ultimate-beginnerdom. But if you’re already handy with a piping bag, you will breeze right through this.
I link up to these great parties!