Saturday, March 13, 2010

FBCT "Tutorial"

Okay, finally here is the Frozen Butter Cream Transfer (FBCT) step by step that I promised!

First let me start by saying that I learned how to do this from research on the internet, so I can tell you there are a LOT of resources available to you, and the way I do things is definitely not the only/right way to do it!

First thing I do is find a picture that I want to use.
I google the subject and coloring pages or clip art and many options come up. Here is one coloring page resource that has many subjects.

So for this picture I googled "horse clip art".
If you are just trying this for the first time, you should pick something that has limited detail and minimal colors. Just to make it easier on you for your first try.

This is the picture that I decided to use.
When I print the picture I choose the printer option of mirror image. Because you are working on it upside down, you need a reverse image for the final project to be the correct orientation.

Then I tape it down on a flat surface that can be moved into my freezer.

Cover the image with parchment paper. Making sure you have room around the edges.
(Some people use wax paper....I have always used parchment.)
Now you have to think back to your coloring days! First thing you want to do is get a good outline. I will use the Wilton black in a tube for 2 reasons: it is a much truer black than anything I could mix, and I get to avoid the mess of black food color!
(Also, it is quick and easy ~ your tip and fitting screw right on the tube!)
You want to layer your colors backward. By that I mean, the colors that you want on top of your design are the ones you are putting on first (which seems like the bottom).

Here you can see I added white to the horses eyes.
Then I took a dark chocolate brown for the mane and the highlights of the horse. I didn't trace every single line, but used the picture as a guide for the direction and volume of color to add.
Finally, I fill the rest in with a lighter chocolate brown color. You can cover the whole area, or just do as I did. The most important thing to make sure of at this point is that your icing is all the same depth. If you have some areas that are thinner than others, they will sink inward on the final finish.
Now is the waiting time. You need to place the board in the freezer. I keep them in the freezer for a minimum of 1 hour, and I have even kept them in overnight. The thicker your icing, the longer it needs to freeze. You can base ice your cake while you are waiting, making sure you have a smooth surface to lay the FBCT on.

The next step can be the trickiest part. You have to work fast once you remove it from the freezer. Because it can really start softening quickly. So plan your positioning on the cake and remove the parchment from the board and flip the FBCT over onto the cake. Then pull the parchment off carefully but quickly.

It will start to soften and as it is doing this, it will become wet and tacky. Don't mess with it! Let it come to room temperature and form it's normal crust before you manipulate it any further. (Probably at least 20 minutes, depending on your icing recipe.)

Embellish your artwork in whatever way suits the overall design. And have a completed FBCT on your cake!
One of the main reasons I like this method, is it looks COOL!
You can slice through it just like all the rest of the icing when serving. And if you don't have access to an edible printer, this is the best way to get a subject to look like the original!

Here are a few more FBCT that I have done.
Buzz was my first FBCT.


  1. Those look great! Thanks for sharing your technique.

  2. Thanks for sharing! I've never done this before, and going to give it a go soon! Love all your transfers!

  3. I am so excited to try this! Thanks so much for sharing.

  4. I can't wait to see your creations!

  5. Thank you so much for sharing this technique Karen!

  6. I am fairly new to cake decorating and I love this method...It totally amazes me when I flip the transfer over to put it on the cake....

    1. Thanks for looking Carolyn! I would love to see some of your creations!

  7. I love your work. I was just wondering if there is anything special you do to avoid airbubbles. Do you smooth them out after you flip the transfer or haven't you had any issues with bubbles?

    Does your buttercream recipe contain shortening for the transfers?


    1. Amanda ~ I don't usually have air bubble issues, but I do sometimes have "lines" in areas with large amounts of the same color, and I definitely smooth after the FBCT has come to room temperature. The buttercream I use is a crusting recipe and contains both butter and shortening. Hope that helps!