Sunday, February 19, 2012
Kids Birthday Cakes: Creating Characters
Looking for an easy (semi-easy) way to transfer a design onto a sheet cake. Look no more. As promised in my last post, I am going to share my technique for translating line drawings into icing characters. I've done Elmo, Thomas the Tank Engine, and some of my own designs using this technique. While it is pretty straight forward it does take some practice. I'd suggest starting with a simple design like a flower or a happy face to get a feel for how to build up the icing plaque.
First you need a pattern. Coloring books work great, but any relatively simple image will do. In this case, my nephew wanted an Indiania Jones Lego cake. I found an image online and traced the major outline with a sharpie marker to simplify it. I also reversed the image so it would appear normal when transferred onto the cake. (Image 1)
I placed the pattern image under a sheet of glass from an old picture frame. Then I taped a piece of wax paper on the top side of the glass. (Image 2). The next step is to trace all of the lines in black icing ontop of the wax paper sheet. Canned dark chocolate frosting can also be used for this step.
Personally, I like to use a tube of Wilton's prepared icing. They carry it at all of the major craft stores. You can screw your tips right onto the tube. I do this for small amounts of red and black because dark colors are a PITA to mix.
After you have everything outlined. then you start filling in on top of the outlines. You have to think in layers. I usually start with small areas such as the eyes and then work to larger color areas. (Image 1)
Once in a while hold the image up to the light to see if there are any gaps that you need to fill in. After all of the colors are added, make sure you have a thick layer of icing behind the whole image. Place the icing plaque in the freezer until totally frozen which may take a couple of hours.
When it is frozen, untape the wax paper layer and flip in onto the cake where you want the image. Gently pull up the wax paper and smooth any areas where the icing sticks with powdered sugar or cocoa.
Good luck and send me pics!
You might also like my post: How to Make a Star Wars Cake. It shows a more 3-d cake decorating style.