Monday, July 30, 2012

Monkey Cakes: How to Transfer a Picture to a Cake

I refer to my children as monkeys all of the time, because, let's be honest, the difference between a 5-year-old and a monkey is hair and a tail.

So, when a co-worker asked if I'd make her son's first birthday cakes with a monkey theme, I had to say yes. She sent me the invitation, and I worked from there.

I'll show you how to transfer an image from something like an invitation onto your cake.

What You Need:
Pattern/Image to Transfer
Parchment Paper
Piping Gel (similar to corn syrup, found at craft/cake stores or online here.)
Tip #1 and piping bag

Before you plan to transfer the image, you need to ice your cake using a "crusting" buttercream. A whipped icing won't work for this. It's possible you could place a cream cheese or non-crusting buttercream in the refrigerator, and allow it to set, and use this technique, but I'm not sure if that would work. (I will test it next time I have a cake iced, and let you know.)

For this cake, I needed a circle of icing in the center, so I outlined it with a large cutter, then piped a spiral onto the cake, and smoothed it with a Viva paper towel.

Prepare the image:
Getting the image to the right size can be hard. It took me a few tries to make sure my monkey here was big enough, but not too big, for the cake.
(This image is from a birthday party invitation purchased on Etsy.)

Tape a piece of parchment paper over the image, and outline the picture you want to transfer.

Make the transfer:
You want to make your transfer in a mirror image, because you will then flip it over to get it onto the cake. Using a tip #1 and piping gel, outline the image on the side of the parchment you did not trace. (Besides the fact that you need a mirror image, you also don't want pencil or pen on your cake!)

To get the image onto the cake, just flip the parchment over, line it up (my downfall), and use your finger to trace the piping gel outline.
When you remove it, you will have a clear outline to follow. I know it's kind of hard to see in the photo... you can also tint your piping gel with icing coloring, if you want, but I like the clear, just in case I don't follow the outline 100%.

Decorate the cake:

You can then use your icing and tip #3 or #5 (depending on how thick you want it), and outline the picture.

For this cake, I used a little different decorating technique that my friend, Amanda, used on her kids' birthday cakes. Hers, I think, looked better, but she's more OCD than I am. I used a tip #2, and made small lines to create the picture.

I allowed it to set up for about 15 minutes, then smoothed it (a little) with a Viva towel, and added the eyes, nose and mouth with a tip #3.

I think they turned out pretty cute, and the mom said that the cakes were a hit.

Click the Links Below to See:
Another Easy Birthday Cake Idea 
How to Ice a Cake 
Chocolate Buttercream Icing (for decorating) 

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