Cake Transfers

This weekend I had three cakes to make for a motorcycle group. I loved how they all turned out, and I got to try out a new technique: transfers. My sister told me about this technique over a year ago, but this is the first opportunity I had to try it for myself. Since I knew I had about an hour drive to make the delivery, I also knew this technique had better hold up to travel too. Here’s how the process works:

Step 1. Find the design that you want. For this cake, I used a design from one of the group’s shirts.

Motorcycle Shirt Design

Step 2. Place a piece of parchment paper on top of the design and trace using a permanent marker. I HIGHLY recommend using a very fine tip on your marker if it is as intricate a design as this one. This step took me about 35 minutes to complete.

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Step 3. Flip over the parchment paper so that the design is inverted (and no ink ever touches your cake). Attached the parchment paper to a piece of cardboard (or a flat pan) with tape, but make sure it can fit in your freezer space. Then start filling in your design. For the first two cakes, I used a gel icing. I wasn’t as impressed with the gel, and it was much more difficult to work with for a first-timer like me. For this design, since it was WAY more intricate, I used buttercream. You can also use royal icing. I began with the lighter blue and a #2 round tip. When that was finished, I put it in the freezer for about 45 minutes. Then I went back in with the darker blue; froze it for 30 minutes, and finished with the yellow. I froze the finished design for an hour before applying it to the cake.

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Step 4. While that was freezing, I covered my cake with vanilla buttercream icing. I used a 9″ round vanilla cake with a strawberry filling. To get my icing smooth, I did the best I could using my spatula, and after the icing set up for a little bit, I used a paper towel and my fondant smoother to get a smoother finish. This is after the first time around the cake with the paper towel. I went back over it one more time to get rid of those little ridges and bumps you see here.

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Step 5. To transfer the design to the cake, you will want to make sure your design is completely frozen. As soon as it starts to warm up, it will be much more difficult to transfer. I pressed my design into the cake using a soft small paintbrush. Then I very slowly and carefully peeled off the parchment paper. I managed to ding up the top of my cake a little in the transfer process, but my top decorate edging will cover that up. Other than a couple of small touch up areas (that capital B was quite the challenge), it was perfect.

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Step 6. Add the finishing touches and viola:

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I will definitely be using this technique again the future! Here are the other two cakes I did using this technique. The first one I used a black gel icing. The top banner did not turn out correctly at all because the gel was runny at first, so I had to go over it with icing instead. Not happy with how that part turned out, but the motorcycle part is pretty freakin’ awesome if I do say so myself.

Motorcycle cake 2 (1)

The last cake, which was actually the first cake I made out of these three, I used a blue gel icing, and that was a virtual disaster. I bought a ready made pre-colored gel, and it was just awful. The entire design has to be gone over with buttercream icing. I should have just used the buttercream icing transfer instead of the gel. Lesson learned. However, everyone seemed to be impressed anyway, so I guess all was not lost after all. This was also a transfer onto fondant instead of buttercream.

Motorcycle cake 2 (2)

I learned a lot and had a ton of fun doing it (like always). 🙂 Hope you had a great weekend!

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