I occasionally have the opportunity to make some fun birthday cakes for kids. I really like doing it as it forces me to be more creative with my cake decorating and try out new (to me) techniques.
Recently, I needed to make a chocolate cake with a spider-man theme which as the perfect opportunity to try a technique called a Frozen Buttercream Transfer (FBT). FBT is perfect for putting patterns onto cakes without having to trace the design onto your cake first. It worked really well and wasn’t that hard to do. In a nutshell, to make an FBT you pipe your design in reverse onto a sheet of wax paper which has been placed over a pattern. The design is then frozen for a few hours. Flip the design over onto your frosted cake, peel away the wax paper and it’s done!
Step 1. Find a simple coloring book design. I found a nice free one online and reduced it for the size of my cake top. If your design is not symmetrical, make yourself a reverse copy of it as you’ll be working from the under side.
Step 2. Make the buttercream. The one drawback is that you need use a buttercream recipe that is at least 50% shortening so that it comes off of the wax paper well. I used one from the Wilton website. There’s a great video tutorial there as well. For this design, I used half a recipe and I had lots of frosting left over.
Step 4. Outline your design with a dark color of choice. I used a purchased decorator tube of black frosting for this for two reasons. First of all, really dark colors like black are hard to make and take a lot of colorant so you might as well spend the money and buy one. You can freeze the tube for future use if you have leftover frosting. The decorating tips work nicely with the tubes too if you have a coupler to attach them with. The second reason for using the purchased tube is that the dark colors can apparently bleed when frozen and the Wilton brand apparently does not bleed as much. I didn’t have any problem with bleeding of the black which was good since there was a lot of it in this design.
I used a #4 round tip for the main outline and a #2 for the smaller web lines. Make sure the lines all have good contact with each other and with the wax paper. Toothpicks are great tools for manipulating the frosting or removing mistakes.
Step 5. Fill in the design with your color(s) of choice. Trace around the outline edge and then fill in the middle for the best coverage. Use a small brush or a toothpick to gently press the filling into all the corners and to smooth it out. If you’re fortunate enough to be using a see-through surface, you can pick it up to check how it looks from time to time and correct any problems.
Step 6. Cover the design with your main cake frosting color. Pipe around the edges of the design first to make a border that will blend in with your cake top. Then gently pipe over the whole top of your design. Very gently, spread the frosting smooth with a small offset spatula or knife.
Step 6. Freeze the transfer for at least 2 hours to firm it up.
Step 7. Working quickly, take the transfer out of the freezer and flip it over on top of the prepared cake in the desired position. Carefully peel away the wax paper. That’s it!