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Killer Kake

11/01/2012

About that cake

I wanted something creepy as a reference and found this image. Thanks to my dad for suggesting the idea of a Killer Klown. You can really use anything as a source for your cake-decorating template, but the flatter and more “cartoony” the image, the easier it is to reproduce. Note that I did not fully heed the “flat” recommendation in selecting my source this time, and that’s what tripped me up in the end.

Killer Klown

The basic technique that I use to transfer the image to the cake surface is one I made up several years ago when I had to make a double-sized sheet cake with a giant mallard design. Maybe there’s a better way. I don’t know, but this one works for me.

First, print your image out on paper to scale with your sheet-cake size. If you want to rim your cake with a scalloped edge (I didn’t this time), make the design a tad smaller than the top of the cake. In this case, I had to split the image across two pages and then tape them together.

Next, I laid the printout on a flat surface and lightly taped it in place.

Klown Kake Image

Then I put a layer of waxed paper on top, taped just at the corners to hold it in place. (Tracing paper would work just as well, but I don’t usually have that in the kitchen.) Then I used a fat Sharpie pen to trace the outlines of the design. You don’t need every single line on your template, only the ones that will separate frosting colors. It’s a good idea to simplify your image because you’ll lose detail when you fill it all in. You can also make changes where desired.

Cake Template Tracing

And now the “trick.” Lift your waxed paper up, remove the original printout, and then flip the traced image over so you are looking at the backside. Using a glue gun, trace over the black lines with glue, taking care to squeeze out enough glue to create a raised outline but moving smoothly to avoid blobs. You should now have a relief template of your cake design. Let it dry thoroughly. You can expedite this if necessary by putting the paper in the fridge.

Cake Template

Several steps in this cake-making process can (and should) be done in advance. One of those things is the frosting, especially if you need many colors. I’ll discuss frosting further in the next post. For now, let’s assume that you’ve made it and spread a base layer on top of your cake. In this case, I used a dark teal.

Gently lay the waxed-paper template on top of your cake with the glue-side down. Lightly press along the glue lines to make an impression in the icing. Try not to press the paper between lines, only the lines themselves.

Cake Template Pressed

Lift the paper, and you should see an imprint of your outline on top of the cake.

Cake Ready to Frost

The rest of the process is like painting by numbers—but messier. It’s also time-consuming, not so much for the act of filling in spaces but because of the waiting time between rounds. You’ll need to put the cake in fridge now and then to let the frosting set up. And depending on how many tips, spatulas, and other tools you have, you might have to clean up a lot. Clean-up needs also depend on how many frosting colors are involved and how similar those colors are.

Frosting in Progress

I frosted this cake in one evening, but I made the cake and mixed all my colors the night before. It came out well enough, but I did have some problems that added both time and annoyance to my evening. Most notably, I tried to replicate the shading and shadows shown in the original design. This was just too complicated a concept to pull off in such a small space. If I’d doubled the size of the cake itself and blown up the image more, it could have worked. But not on a 9″ x 12″.

I ended up overloading the right-hand area with frosting, scraping off the excess, and doing it again. You can see in comparing the photo above with the final product that I had a nice pattern of rosettes going in the lighter aqua area. But later, I ended up switching to a palette-knife technique to resolve the whole shading error.

So the moral of today’s lesson is: Simplify your design. You can pick a complicated original as long as you distill it to an appropriate fit.

Next time: Fun with Frosting. And cupcakes!

Cake Presentation

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From → Crafty, Desserts

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