Sunday, November 18, 2012

Frozen Buttercream Transfers

Back again!

I promised on my Facebook cake page that I would post about doing frozen buttercream transfers.

The invitation below was what I was given as a guide for a bridal shower cake.

I thought it was very pretty and fitting for fall. So my first thought when I saw this was brush embroidery with royal icing. I was excited about trying out a new technique, but when I sat down three days before the deadline to actually do it, the icing was not cooperating with me. I will win that battle, just not this time around. :)
So then I figured I would freehand the flowers using the invitation. No matter what I did, I couldn't get the flowers to look the same, plus there was no guarantee that the flowers would survive the transfer from waxed paper to cake, which is why I did three sheets of random flowers! LOL While they did look cute and were the right colour scheme, it just wasn't cutting it in my eyes.
In frustration, I messaged a friend from cake decorating class. Mostly just to vent, I still wasn't sure what the heck I was going to do. I explained the issue and asked if she had come across anything similar. In her reply to me, she mentioned doing a search for frozen buttercream transfers. So I did. I was wowed. Why didn't they teach us this in our classes? I felt kinda dumb to be honest... like the kid who doesn't get told that school is cancelled for the day. There's me, standing at the doors wondering where everyone is! LOL I need to be doing more research clearly!
So here is how to do it, if you don't already know.
I scanned the invitation and blew it up. I wanted it to be bigger, to cover the cake and so that it would be easier to pipe overall. Bear in mind, my hand and wrist were still in pain from the royal icing episode. Once I had a printout of the size I liked, I placed in on a flat, edgeless cookie sheet (airbake!), and placed a sheet of waxed paper on top. I had made up a new batch of buttercream, made my orange and brown, and reserved half of it as white.
WOW! Soooo much easier to trace it! I could have used piping gel, as we were taught in class but I was never a huge fan of that technique. The results were never great.
I traced all the flowers and leaves in their appropriate colours, filled them in and piped the delicate lines in the leaves (probably the most detailed part of the project). Now if I had listened to the tutorial I had viewed online, I would have tinted the white to match the icing I planned to use on the cake, which was a slight off-white to match the invitation. But I'm clearly a rebel, as you can tell from the photo:

The next step, after the main design has been piped, is to cover the entire piped area with matching buttercream and spreading it carefully on top, using light pressure to fill in the cracks. This would be the white I used instead of the actual colour I was going to canvas the cake with. I should have used a bit more pressure, but I was afraid of smearing the piped icing below. Lesson learned. Do it anyway!

Leaving the waxed paper with buttercream on the baking sheet, the entire pan went into the freezer overnight. You could freeze it for 45 minutes to an hour if you don't have that kind of time to wait.

The next day, I put the cake together. It was scratch lemon cake with lemon buttercream. The cake would have looked great with just being canvassed and adding brown and orange trim but that wasn't the goal here.

When everything was ready, the transfer came out of the freezer, and some of the edges were trimmed off of the frozen buttercream, to make room for the trim I still had to do around the top. invert the transfer and place it on the cake. Use VERY light pressure, as you don't want to break it if you can help it, gently press into the cake. To be honest, I'm not sure you even need to, because as the buttercream thaws, it should settle.

I filled in some areas I had missed and applied thin piped buttercream to the outer edges to secure it to the cake better. Then I applied the top trim and applied some drop flowers on the trim.

I am so thankful to Pauline for suggesting this method... I have learned something valuable and even though my first attempt was not perfect, I will definitely be doing this technique again.

You can see where I should have spread more white icing... I ran out of icing! I filled it in with the off-white a bit but it didn't camouflage anything! LOL

Overall, I am happy with the cake and it was a terrific learning experience! The next one will be better!

Until next time, stay sweet!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Sugar 'n' spice...

Hey my sweets, what's happening?

It's been quieter in my little cake corner lately but it's been a good thing, as we've been going through some transition as a family unit. It's definitely a positive thing, but it's taking some time to get our groove, know what I mean?

My amazing husband has been working overnight shifts for close to six years, to be at home during the day with our youngest son, Caleb. We've never liked the thought of putting our kids in day care, for several reasons I won't get into, so he made the sacrifice and since Caleb has begun grade one this fall, he has been able to switch to day shifts. Bonus for us! Our oldest son, Tyler has just been amazing. He is growing up to be quite a responsible kid and helps out sooo much. Without him, we wouldn't be able to make this whole thing work, as he helps Caleb get ready for school if my husband has to go in before they leave for school.

But getting back to cakes, it's just been good that there has been some free time for us to adjust. However, now the season is upon us and the orders are coming in... it's exciting, seeing what's on the horizon :)

So this is the most recent big cake I've made:

The cake itself was simple. The bottom was white cake with vanilla buttercream, and the top was chocolate with chocolate buttercream. Nothing fancy there. The fanciness was in the decorating.
This cake was for a young lady turning 16... and I haven't seen her since she was about 5, so imagine how old I felt taking this order lol! She has a love for music and girly things. I browsed several pictures and sent some to the client, who was arranging the party for this young lady. This one was the winner, and I was excited to recreate it.
I will quite openly admit, I am definitely my own worst critic. I know where all of the imperfections are and I just hate that point when I'm putting things together and it's "done" but I don't feel it's truly DONE... but there comes a point where you just can't do anything more, and time runs out and the client is coming to pick it up.
This cake was deceptively heavy... as are most fondant cakes. My biggest fear with tiered cakes like this is that the top cake will sink and the bottom tier will collapse. I was so worried about this cake, I checked it again the morning it was being picked up, before work just to make sure it hadn't collapsed. And of course again upon returning home from work lol. I used three pieces of wooden dowel to help support it and I realized that I need to do this to all my tiered cakes, there is just no support without it, and you can't get away from needing that support.
All in all, I am proud of it, and it scored me two more cake orders! Speaking of which, I need to finish up an order for tonight :)
Take care all, stay sweet!