Frozen Buttercream Transfer
Frozen buttercream transfer is a method of transferring a design to a frosted cake. You are, in essence, making a buttercream "plaque" to apply to your cake.
To begin, use a piece of 3/8" non-flexible Plexiglas that will accommodate the size of your art, and will fit into your freezer. Using a piece of clip art or other not copyright protected art that you wish to transfer to your cake, cut the art to fit the Plexiglas and tape to the bottom of the pane. You want to be able to look through the Plexiglas and see the art clearly. Cover the Plexiglas with a piece of waxed paper or food-safe clear cellophane, and securely tape it at the corners. Be sure there are no bubbles or ridges.
a fine round tip, such as a #1 or #2, begin to outline your art
using black icing or other dark color. Start with the most difficult
sections, or those with the most detail, such as facial features.
(It is much easier to take off and begin again when you have not
completed most of the piece.) Keep in mind that the work will
be flipped over onto the cake, so your outline will be the very
front, and anything you pipe on top of the outline will be in
When you have finished outlining, you are ready to fill in each section with color. Using thinned buttercream, fill in each colored section completely. Be sure the background touches the outline or the outline may break when you remove the wax paper. You will be covering up the detail work you just did, but that's the idea - you want the details in front of the bacckground when the plaque is flipped. Complete all of a color before moving on to the next.
When you have filled in your entire piece, untape your printed art, lift the plexiglass off of your work surface and look through it from the bottom to see if there are any air bubbles or gaps. If there are, press gently with a clean finger and/or fill in with icing. (You can let crust a little or firm in the freezer before pressing if necessary)
the piece into the freezer for 10-15 minutes to firm up the frosting.
Build up the thickness of the piece with a thin layer of white
(or base color) frosting and smooth the entire piece with a spatula.
Freeze. For small pieces 30 minutes may do, but large ones will
take longer. You can also freeze overnight.
Frost your cake, leaving off the top border. Allow the icing to crust for a few minutes. Remove your frozen buttercream plaque from the freezer and working quickly, remove tape from plexiglass. Flip the frozen piece onto the top of your cake. Add a border to the transfer if you wish, and do any additional necessary decorating. Then pipe the top border for the cake.
Frozen buttercream transfers can also be used for lettering and numbers, but be sure to reverse your art before you make your plaques. You can also make several pieces in advance, wrap them will with plastic, and freeze them for later use.