My True Passion: Cake!

I am an amateur cake decorator. I absolutely love to make cakes, if I could do it full time, I would. I have no formal training of any sort, just a decent set of Wilton icing tips and a passion to spend my free time making sweet stuff.

I thought I’d show you this technique I used to make what turned out to be my most awesome creation to date. My nephew turned 6 and for his gift I made him a cake I hope he’ll remember for years to come. As per his request, it was a chocolate Wolverine cake.

I made the cake and icing from scratch and I’ll post those recipes shortly.

Ok, step one:

Find the art you want on your cake. Now this wolverine image was quite detailed and the most difficult one I have attempted. I don’t really think this technique takes a whole lot of skill, just a heck of a lot of time and patience. This cake took me about 8 hours, but that includes baking time and making my icing from scratch. When choosing your art, keep in mind how many lines there are and the level of detail.

Step 2: Size the picture to fit on the cake you are going to make. Get a piece of wax paper, a fine tip pen, and your picture.

Step 3: Trace the picture onto the wax paper. Using the cake pan, make sure the image will fit on your cake.

Step 4: Flip the tracing over so it is a reverse image. Tape it down to a cutting board. Don’t forget to flip it, the icing will soak up the ink of your image and the finished product will be backwards from your original print. Keep your original print nearby for reference.

Step 5: I know I said I made my icing from scratch, but for the tracing purposes, buy a can or tube of black frosting. You will not be able to create the texture or even color needed for this part. For this cake, I used this stuff:

This can came with tips for piping right out of the can. Don’t waste your time. You will need the finest tip Wilton makes, tip 1, and a piping bag.

Step 6: Carefully trace the image with icing. I’d recommend starting from the top down or from the center, out. Careful not to rest your hand in it or you’ll be starting over.

Because this was such a detailed picture to work with, with icing at least, I used a toothpick to clean up my lines and make sure important parts, like his face, were perfect.

Step 7: Start filling in your image. Think of it like a stained glass window. I started filling in the black since I already had it going.

*After you are done tracing and after filling in the tiny spots, you can use a bigger tip to speed up the process. I used a number 3 tip for most of the filling in.

Then using your prepared butter cream frosting, fill in the rest.

Keep in mind, what you are looking at will be the back, so keep layers in mind. Under the face I already filled in his mouth and the black lines of his face are still there.

After you are done filling in, put one more layer over the entire thing and make it all as even as possible.

Step 8: Put it in the freezer for 2+ hours. You can make this a day ahead and keep in the freezer overnight. Prepare the cake for decoration.

Tip: freeze your cake before you frost. It is 10 million times easier to frost a frozen cake than it is a non-frozen one. Put a ‘crumb’ layer on your cake. A crumb layer is a very thin layer of frosting, and then frozen. This will keep all crumbs off of the surface icing.

You need a perfectly flat top of cake. To achieve this, make a cake from scratch, they do not rise the same way box mixes do and you’ll have a more level cake to work with. Use a knife to even out the top if needed. When stacking layers, make sure your top layer is “bottom side up.”

Step 9: Take your frosting transfer out of the freezer and carefully put it on the top of your cake.

Carefully peel off the wax paper.

Finish up by frosting the sides of your cake.

And, we are all done!

16 responses

  1. Nicely done! I have no formal training either. You can go pretty far with that when you’ve got skill (which you clearly have) and drive. I know from experience, even with this sweet subject himself. 😉

    See if your area has a local cake club, join it, and share your passion and talent with others and you can flourish with tons of fun. Wishing you the best!

  2. Thanks for blogging this and walking us through step by step. I plan on making this exact same cake for my son’s birthday in 2 weeks. I practiced the technique tonight. I was wondering if the lines smush/smudge with the pressure of the other layers (my practice one did a little)? Do I need to let each layer dry before adding the next one? Thanks! I’m excited to see my son’s reaction.

    • Hi Suzy,
      If the lines are smudging too much, it may be because the outline frosting is too warm. Try popping it in the freezer just long enough to get it to thicken up, about 10 mins or less, depending how much frosting you have in the pastry bag. As you continue to work with the bag, it will probably get melty again from the heat of you hands so just keep cooling it down as needed. Make sure you are using store bought frosting for the outlines, the texture is better. You can use a toothpick to clean up the lines as needed.
      I don’t let each layer dry before moving on, as long as the frosting isn’t too runny you shouldn’t need to. If it is too runny, add some powdered sugar to thicken it up. That said, if you need to take a break, letting it dry wouldn’t hurt, either.
      Good luck! Thanks,

  3. Absolutely beautiful. Not only that, but the pride, effort and knowing this is your cake, makes it worth while. Thanks for sharing and I will attempt the same as well. Las Vegas, Nevada, Yassie

  4. Thanks so much for posting this step by step.. I would love to take lessons some where just dont know where to look. My 6 yr old told me told that he wanted this one for his cake! His birthday is Sait Patricks day.. He is going to love it.. Thanks so much!

  5. Just stumbled upon this as and so happy I did. I said I would make a wolverine cake for a friend and was in bit of a panic as to how I was going to make it. Your step by step directions are a huge help and inspiration. Thank you!!

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