Sunday, October 4, 2009

FBCT Saves the Day!

Jordan told us that he wanted a cake decorated with Super Why for his birthday party. It seemed appropriate enough, given that the party was going to be a Super Why based event. But how were we supposed to put Super Why on a cake? He's a lot more complicated than the stylized buttercream and fondant Elmo we made back in 2008 for Carter.

I needed something that would look like Super Why, taste good (so fondant was out), have an even texture (so the star decorating tip was out), and look good enough to not end up on Cake Wrecks! After a bit of investigation, I found the frozen butter cream transfer technique (FBCT) online and decided to give it a shot.

Like most cake decorating projects, the hardest part was getting the colors right. Unfortunately, this cake had ten different colors. It took at least three hours to get all of the colors mixed, bagged, and ready to pipe. Dark brown was the hardest - even harder than red and black! I used cake food coloring, cocoa, and dutch process cocoa to get the proper shade.

I printed a mirror image picture of Super Why, taped it to a cutting board, and taped a sheet of wax paper on top. Then Cynthia piped the black outline on the wax paper while I made the rest of the colors. We used a #2 tip, but only because we didn't have a #1 tip...note to self: USE A #1 TIP NEXT TIME! The thinner, the better.

We put the piped outline in the freezer for a few minutes and then I piped out (with #2) the three brown shades and the dreaded red. I loved the highlights I put in his hair - nothing worse than a flat color of hair. The above picture was the end of day 1.

I put it in the freezer overnight and resumed work in filling in all the colors. Another 90 minutes and I had a very sore hand.

As you can see from the picture, I also had the most adorable looking super hero ever.

I put whole thing in the freezer multiple times during the piping so it would be easier to work with. When I finished all of the coloring, I placed it in the freezer for another 10 minutes or so. Then I took a cake decorating knife and press the whole design down to make an even appearance for the front of the cake.

To facilitate the transfer process, I put a layer of buttercream on top and repeated the freeze-and-press-down process.

In hindsight, I made my biggest mistake here. I was in a hurry and didn't press down the layer of white buttercream enough. The front was a little layered after I transferred it - kind of like a cloth behind Super Why.

I placed it all in the freezer as I frosted the cake (even more buttercream). The cake was frozen to make the frosting easier, but it was still a rough process. I can't figure out how my Mom ever got a recipe for buttercream that tasted great and was easy to spread - I'll have to get her recipe for my next cake.

At the end of day 2, I pulled the image out, removed the tape, placed it on the cake and CAREFULLY removed the wax paper.

Here's the finished transfer! What a fun method! It was really time-consuming, but we were all impressed with the result. Carter has already requested an Alpha Pig cake for his birthday. There was still plenty of piping work on day 3 which Cynthia graciously did while I was at work.

My other big mistake was not putting the cake back in the freezer at the end of day 2. The colors bled a small amount. Next time I'll remember that eating cold cake is preferable to messed up colors.

The final product is in the the next post - Jordan's Party.


  1. That cake is SO boss. I gotta try that method one of these days.

  2. PS. I give you nothing but props and you leave me RUDE comments. Humph.

  3. OK, sorry it took so long, but here is my buttercream icing recipe:
    2 c. Crisco
    1 envelope Dream Whip
    1/2 c. water
    1/2 c. flour
    2 lbs. sifted powdered sugar
    1 Tbsp. vanilla (clear if you need white icing)

    Cream together Crisco and Dream Whip. Add water and flour alternately. Add powedered sugar on low speed, then add vanilla (sometimes I add it before the sugar). Beat for 10 minutes. Voila!