Here is a neat technique for transferring a design to a cake: frozen buttercream tranfer.
Now, if you look at the above design, it it quite simple to make if you are comfortable piping a design freehand. You would just frost the cake in white icing, and then pipe a doggie outline on the cake. But, I wanted more certainty in piping a large design (8″x15″) on a large cake (12″x18″).
So what is a frozen buttercream transfer? It is a plaque of buttercream that is piped on a piece of parchment or acetate, frozen, and then flipped over onto a cake to add a decoration.
Here are some sites/posts/videos that helped me with my project:
Here is a step-by-step of the process.
First, you need a design. The main advantage of this technique is that it allows you to copy artwork, but I drafted my own picture, scaling it up and modifying it from a picture that was sent to me by e-mail. I wanted to make sure that it filled up a certain amount of space.
Step two was to reverse the image. Whatever you pipe onto your pattern will be appear in reverse on the cake, which is a problem when there is any lettering involved. Other times, it doesn’t really matter and you don’t need to reverse the image before piping.
Step three is taping the image to a rigid, freezer safe surface. I used the reverse side of a baking sheet. There is an advantage to using a glass or plastic surface, if you can: you can see how the image is progressing by peeking underneath through the transparent surface. Using an opaque surface like a baking sheet requires more of a leap of faith.
Cover the taped on image with a piece of waxed paper or food safe acetate. I used waxed paper and it worked just fine.
Now, you can start piping. Fill a piping bag with a #1 or #2 tip (depending on how fine a line you need) and fill it with your outline color. If you are using black, you should bear in mind that it is quite tedious to get a true black. I made a very, very dark cocoa buttercream and then added lots of black color. It took a long time to get a real black. It is easier to just buy Wilton black icing in tube and use a coupling ring to add your tip to the tube.
Here is the image filled in with white:
Next, you should pipe a border around the image, using whatever icing you will be using to cover the cake. I went with white, but I could have used chocolate, too.
Before sticking it back in the freezer, cover the image with icing.
Now, freeze it for enough time for it to really get hard. Don’t be impatient. I left it in the freezer for 24 hours.
Here is where I made a doggie bone decoration out of rolled buttercream:
While waiting for my frozen buttercream transfer to freeze solid, I also made my cake:
And frosted it:
The moment of truth, when I flip over the frozen buttercream transfer and peel off the waxed paper:
The image is a lot higher than the cake, so you need to add icing to even everything:
Then, I added a border:
And, from the side:
A close up of the doggie tag. Lettering could be better, but not as terrible as I feared:
All boxed up and ready for pick up:
And, with the bone: