the domestic tales of four sisters

the domestic tales of four sisters

Character Cake Technique w/ Buttercream

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My husband’s birthday was a smashing success. He was delighted when he opened up the most exciting gift I have ever purchased him. A bat signed by his favorite baseball player. He held it pretty much the rest of the night until he went to bed. It was pretty funny because he really looked like he was opening the all-hallowed Red Ryder BB gun in A Christmas Story.

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This post is picture heavy, so I’m going to get right to it. 🙂 It’s kind of become a tradition that I make a baseball cake for my husband’s birthday. However, I think next year I am going to switch it up and do a football cake. (Even though he is a Ravens fan and that hurts me to my very core.) I think I enjoy doing baseball because I love the Orioles as much as he does.

About 3 years ago when I made the very first baseball cake I was actually quite proud of myself, but this year? This year I was ecstatic. Not only did the decorating turn out next to flawless, but I have successfully tweaked my vanilla cake recipe just enough that it TRULY tastes like delicious bakery cake. (Which is probably a good thing, because I sell them now for a small living … ) I’ll include the recipe at the bottom, but understand that isn’t what we are focusing on today. I’m going to take you through a mini-step by step to taking a beloved character and creating a cute little cake. The reason why I went this route is I don’t like messing with fondant. I stick to my regular old frostings (buttercream and Swiss meringue) so working with fondant is out for me. I don’t trust my skills in that area. Though, I’ve never tried. By using this technique I can have a great cake AND it taste flipping delicious in the meantime!

Let’s get to work …

Step #1 – We need our products:

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In the “keeping it simple” theme – I only used 3 icing tips for this.

The #3 will be used to outline your character, #17 will be used to fill your character in (and I used it for my laces), and #21 will be used to do your entire cake (The most laborious process of this whole thing – took me about 15 minutes). I have A LOT of icing tips that I’ve accumulated over the years. Because of this I have duplicates of many. If you do not, you’ll have to switch your #3 and #17 around – a good rinsing with some hot water will take care of it. For each color you use I recommend having a disposable icing bag and a coupler. (In my case that would mean 4 different bags and 4 different couplers.) This will avoid having to switch out anything other than your tips. Make sense?

Make sure you choose your picture before you go shopping for colors to tint your icing. 🙂 I’ve made that mistake before.

Step #2 – Put your cake together and crumb coat it, then pop it in the fridge.

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Step #3: Get a piece of parchment paper, your lap top, and a Sharpie.

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Head over to trusty Google (or Bing, if you’re one of those guys … ) and search your image. Now, I could have printed this image off, but I skipped this step and just traced directly on. However, I didn’t want to be piping icing onto Sharpie ink, so I needed to invert the Orioles logo. I saved the image to my desktop and headed over to www.picmonkey.com.

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Inverted – awesome.

Step#4 – Tracing time!

Place your parchment over your *inverted* image (can’t stress that enough) and trace it onto the paper with Sharpie (or pen – but sometimes they smear on the parchment).

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Ta-Dah!

Step #5 – Line & Fill in your character – then pop it in the freezer. Just trust me.

Now I have to apologize because I didn’t take step by step photos of this. I got so into it that I completely spaced and forgot all about pictures at this point. Here’s what you should do – FIRST place your parchment tracing on a plate and then take your MAIN color and line (with #3) each line you traced. It’s important that you establish “boundaries” or this will look like a complete mess. With #17 fill your character with appropriate colors. For parts that are too skinny to stamp icing into (like the Oriole’s mouth) just pipe it with your #3 tip.

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Isn’t he so cute? Now place the character in the freezer for 35-45 minutes.

Step #6: The Transfer.

This may be the part that scares you, and you shouldn’t be. This technique is VERY forgiving. I even broke part of his hat off and you couldn’t tell! I used an icing spatula to help with the transfer, but what I’ve found the most easy is to peel the parchment paper off of the back of the character. Like you’re removing the back of a sticker. The warmth of your hands will melt your buttercream, so you have to move pretty quickly. Again, if you break it – don’t freak out. Just place the broken piece on last so that you are sure your character is centered. After you remove the parchment, place the character on your *crumb coated* cake.

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Broken hat piece :/

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Give your character a little smoosh down into the cake. Don’t Hulk the crap out of it, just a light touch to help it to adhere to the cake better.

Step #7 – Cover the rest of the cake.

With the same technique you used with #17 to fill your character you’re going to do ALL OVER the cake with #21. If you have a larger star tip – go on with your bad self. This is the most irritating part, but truthfully it only took me about 15 minutes and I can’t complain because it really turns out great. After the cake is covered you can put some dots around the base to make it a little fancier. I also added stitches to mine – after all it is a baseball cake. 🙂

If you’re piping and your icing is softening and not maintaining shape you can pop it in the freezer for a few minutes and then get back to it.

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Awesome, right? And simple. Even better.

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Now watch your hard work be hacked to death …

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If you plan on using this technique I’d love to see what you did! Post it on our Facebook page! (4SistersBoutique)

Happy Cake Decorating!

-Kelsea

Perfect Vanilla Cake:

*two 9″ round cakes

  • 2 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cups vegetable oil
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (recommend Kosher)
  • 4 extra-large eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3 tablespoons vanilla pudding mix, dry

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix dry ingredients together.
2) Add eggs, one by one.
3) Add vanilla and dry pudding mix.
4) Slowly incorporate milk.
5) Mix well, but don’t beat it up.
6) Pour batter equally between 9″ round pans (that have been buttered and floured – I recommend putting a parchment paper circle on the bottom as well.)
7) Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes. Checking at 25 minutes for doneness.
8) Allow cakes to cool for 15 minutes in their pans, and then turn out to cool entirely.



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