Buttercream to blow your mind

What do Hello Kitty, Spiderman and Peppa Pig have in common?

Apart from the fact that they are all popular requests for FCFK Hackney cakes, the answer is: we can recreate them in buttercream like pros. And we’ll let you into a secret: we most certainly aren’t pros!

So how to we do it? Well, it’s all down to the humble fridge-freezer. All hail the star of the show, the fridge-freezer!

Confused? You soon won’t be. Grab a cup of tea and a slice of cake and settle down for a masterclass. Don’t say we never give you anything!


(Full disclosure: we didn’t come up with this ourselves; we are not that awesome and don’t have those skillz. This was taught to us at our Christmas bakers’ social by Super Jess of Cakes 4 Fun fame; she is that awesome and does have those skillz.)

IMG_20140223_223650You will need:
– The image that you would like to adorn your cake with printed/drawn on to a piece of paper. (If it matters which way round the image is, ie. if it includes lettering, then you will need the image in reverse, ie. a mirror image of the true image. Still following?!)
– Some wax paper, or grease proof paper should do the job.
– Some piping bags. Disposable ones are great – you can cut the hole in the end to whatever size you want and a nozzle isn’t necessary.
– Buttercream dyed in as many colours as you want to feature in your image. Note: you don’t want your buttercream too sloppy so go steady if you use milk to loosen it. Also, top tip! If you want black, it’s easier to start with a chocolate buttercream. Yum yum!
– A freezer, and maybe a baking sheet or something stiff and flat and freezer-proof.
– And a cake. Never, ever forget the cake!

What you do:
– Get your printed/drawn image and cover it with your wax paper. If you put a tiny blob of buttercream between the two sheets it can stop them moving around and mucking up your design.
– Fill each of your piping bags with the separate colours of buttercream; twist the ends down; and cut the tips off. Note: you can always cut off more if you need more buttercream to come out, but you can’t stick it back on. Less is more. Didn’t your parents tell you that?!
– Take the piping bag of buttercream colour you’d like to outline your image in. If we’re using the example of Peppa Pig, we’d use a dark pink as the outline.
– Carefully, with as steady hand as possible, trace the outline of your image.
– Build up the rest of your image, using other colours where necessary. Peppa, for example, likes a nice rosy pink cheek, a dark pink smile and black dots in white eyes. Remember that your iced image will eventually be turned out so you need to build it up in layers from the outside in. This would mean doing the black pupil of the eye first and then piping over the top with white.
– Once you’ve created your outlines, you can pipe to fill in the design. Back to Peppa and we’d be using pale pink to fill. To get a nice flat design, or a slightly more 3D image, you can pipe over the entire back of your image.
– Then you just need to pop the wax paper with icing on into your freezer. (This is where a baking sheet might come in handy.) And wait for it to set hard.
– And then? Get it out the freezer; peel the buttercream away from the wax paper; place it carefully on your (iced) cake; and step back and admire your handiwork. You are a pro; queen (or king) of the buttercream; give yourself a pat on the back; you’ve earned your place in the FBCT (frozen buttercream transfer to those not in the know!) crew!

Here’s Hello Kitty (in miniature) step-by-step form (but do bear in mind that the larger the image, the easier it would be, unless you are a Borrower):

IMG_20131206_214750And if all that sounds as clear as mud, go and Google videos of frozen buttercream transfer techniques made by someone who actually knows what they’re talking about.

But do trust us on this one!

We may suck at writing instructions, but the icing itself really is relatively easy to do and the results are pretty spectacular, as demonstrated by the Spiderman face on this cake made by one of our bakers for one of our Hackney children shortly after she learnt the technique at our workshop. See! It’s so good that you’ll want to try it out immediately!

FBCT FTW say FCFK Hackney!

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