Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Pattern Transfer Cake

I began taking the Wilton cake decorating classes at Michael’s in December of 2008, which means I have been decorating cakes for about a year now. This is the first cake I made during Course 1.

I baked and frosted the cake at home and brought to class to learn how to do a pattern transfer. I still have problems getting the butter cream frosting smooth but I think I have definitely improved over my first cake! Because I didn’t want to do the standard rainbow with clouds, I decided on a different pattern before class. Pattern transfers are easy and coloring books make great patterns for transferring onto a cake.

 How to do it
  1. Decide on a pattern that fits the cake. Use a copier to shrink or enlarge your image.
  2. Draw or trace the image onto parchment or wax paper.
  3. Prepare your cake with a smooth frosting finish. Meringue powder in the recipe helps the frosting to “crust” and chilling the cake will help keep the frosting firm.
  4. Trace the pattern on the reverse side of the parchment paper with a thin line of piping gel or frosting. Tip 1 or 2 works best, or you can buy the piping gel already in tubes. (You will be tracing the reverse image of your design) Use a color that you will easily be able to see on the frosted cake.
  5. Carefully place the paper, with piping gel side down, on the cake.
  6. Trace the lines with a small brush to make sure the gel transfers to the frosting surface, careful not to smear the lines together.
  7. Carefully remove the paper. If you have used parchment, and your frosting is chilled and/or crusted, it should not stick.
  8. You now have an outline of your image that you can trace and/or fill in as you desire. Stars are the technique most commonly used to “fill in” a design.
For this cake I used a white piping gel (it comes in many colors and also clear). After I applied the pattern I outlined it with black butter cream, just outside the white to “hide” it. As you can see my pattern was fairly simple but I didn’t have to try to do free hand circles and rectangles. And the placement of the design was figured out in advance. My Wednesday night card group thought it was great. They asked how I managed to get such nice circles and straight lines…I guess the secret is out now!

Depending on your design you could also use cookie cutters to imprint a design in your frosting and trace or fill in as desired.

Wouldn’t it be great to draw your child’s favorite cartoon character on their plain rectangular sheet cake?

 Give it a try; it’s a lot easier than you think!

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