My favorite cakes to decorate are children’s birthday cakes, which often revolve around a theme or a favorite character. In my quest to figure out how to get these characters onto my cakes, I discovered the frozen buttercream transfer. So, the frozen buttercream transfer is a great method for transferring any image on the top of a buttercream cake. Also, do not worry about the difficulty of the process! As long as you can trace, then you can make one!

Frozen Buttercream Transfer Recipe

The Recipe

  • Use an American buttercream recipe that has approximately a 50/50 butter to shortening ratio. I’ve had good luck with this recipe by Peggy Does Cake.
  • Search online for coloring page images to find clear designs.
  • Place your transfer in the freezer for a minute in between piping each color to keep outlines firm and strong.
  • Also, make your transfer level so it will sit nicely when flipped onto your cake. If the back is not level, it may settle as it thaws.
  • Make your transfer the day you are decorating or up to a week in advance and store it in the freezer.
  • Use a crusting American buttercream (like the one referenced) so you can smooth the final transfer with a Viva paper towel.

If you want a full step-by-step tutorial on all things buttercream, check out this free course to become a buttercream pro.

What You Need for Making the Transfer:

Frozen Buttercream Transfer: Essentials
  • The flatwork surface that will fit in your freezer (I really like plexiglass for this purpose);
    SOURCEONE.ORG Premium 1/4 Clear Acrylic PlexiGlass Sheet
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    ;
  • Parchment paper;
  • Image printed to the desired size;
  • Fine-tip marker;
  • Buttercream;
  • Gel icing colors;
  • Piping bags with varying-sized tips;
  • Small offset spatula;
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  • Small paintbrush;
  • Iced cake;
  • Tape;
  • Viva paper towels (not pictured).

How to Make Frozen Buttercream Transfer Tutorial

Now, we will make the transfer step-by-step, together. It’s really important to keep in mind that the next steps are mandatory (except the ones that I’ll say are in fact optional). So, this is a method and recipe that I strongly recommend closely following, rather than improvising. However, you’ll yourself that is not as hard as you may think now.

Therefore, without further introduction, let’s get it started!

Step 1:

First of all, place the parchment paper over the image and trace it with the fine tip marker. Moreover, I drew a 7-inch circle around my image because I planned to have it fill the top of an 8-inch round cake, leaving room for a border.

Frozen Buttercream Transfer: Step 1
Step 1

Step 2:

Second, flip the traced image over and tape it, drawing side down, on the flat surface.

Frozen Buttercream Transfer: Step 2
Step 2

Step 3:

Third, trace the outline of the image with black buttercream. Furthermore, I used a #1 tip for a fine outline.

Frozen Buttercream Transfer: Step 3
Step 3

Step 4:

Then, begin to fill in the other colors. Remember the final product will be flipped so you are working in reverse order. For example, this chick has an orange blush on her cheek so I applied that color before the yellow background color.

Frozen Buttercream Transfer: Step 4
Step 4

Step 5:

Occasionally hold your plexiglass up to check your work from underneath. However, if you see thin spots, add a little more icing. Also, if you see bare spots where light is peeking through, use your small paintbrush to gently press the icing against the outlines.

Frozen Buttercream Transfer: Step 5
Step 5

Step 6:

Then, continue filling in all of the colors on the image.

Frozen Buttercream Transfer: Step 6
Step 6

Step 7:

Since I wanted my transfer to be a 7-inch circular shape, I piped my desired background color all the way out to the circle and smoothed it with my offset spatula.

Frozen Buttercream Transfer: Step 7
Step 7

Keep checking from underneath during the process to make sure it looks good. Adjust with your small paintbrush as necessary.

Adjusting
Step 7

 Step 8:

Pipe an even background on your transfer that will blend in with the cake color. Then smooth it gently with your offset spatula and place it in the freezer for at least 90 minutes to overnight.

Piping an even background
Step 8

Step 9:

When it is frozen, gently place it on your cake and move it to the desired spot.

Frozen Buttercream Transfer: Step 9
Step 9

Step 10:

Next, gently peel off the parchment paper to reveal the frozen buttercream transfer.

Peeling off the parchment paper
Step 10

Even with all of the careful work, I’m still not happy with the line marks that are visible in my transfer. However, these are from air bubbles between the piped icing.

line marks
Step 10

Step 11 (Optional):

If you’d like to refine the look of your transfer and eliminate those lines, there is a solution. Wait for your crusting buttercream to thaw, then gently smooth it with a Viva paper towel. Thank you to my friend CorrieCakes for this tip! It makes a huge difference.

Much better!

Viva Paper Towel
Step 11

Step 12:

Add your border and any final piping or embellishments. I added some tiny fondant flowers to my frozen buttercream transfer for added interest.

Final Result
Final Frozen Buttercream Transfer

Finally, serving time is fun since you can cut right through the frozen buttercream transfer and serve your guests the part of the picture they’d like to eat!

How’s Your Frozen Buttercream Transfer?

All in all, this is the whole recipe! Was it hard? Did you manage to create the frozen buttercream transfer that you’d desired? Also, was the celebrated person impressed by your work?

Tell me everything in the comment section!

Moreover, that is the place where you can also ask all your further questions on this topic. So, do not hesitate to ask anything that is still confusing about the transfer technique.

Happy caking and let me know what you think about this frozen buttercream transfer recipe!

Renee

Last update on 2022-08-11 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API