Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Mario Party! & Royal Icing Transfers

Birthday parties are a big deal at our house.  And I mean BIG.  Pinterest suddenly becomes my best friend for a month beforehand (and my worst enemy as some things become fails).  This past year, Pickle wanted a Mario themed birthday, and he was pretty specific about the cake.  Two layers, sky blue, Bowser, Larry and Bowser Jr. included. High expectations for a five year old, I think.

Not to pat myself on the back, but I'm pretty good at modeling chocolate figures - I did go to culinary school for patisserie for a while, and seemed to have a knack for it.  But numerous figures in such a short amount of time with that amount of detail?  I had to go a different route.  I settled on royal icing transfers for the characters and wording.  

If you can trace, you can do a royal icing transfer.  All it takes is a print out (I used the Bowser above), wax paper, royal icing tinted to your desired color, tape, and the correct size decorating tip with bag.  I prefer a #2 round tip from Wilton for this project.  Find the image you'd like to trace and print it out at the size you want your transfer to be.  There is no resizing once its printed - the size you print is the size you get, since you are tracing!

Take your print out and tape it to whatever surface you are working on.  Next, cut a piece of wax paper larger than your printout, and tape it over your print out with the shiny wax side up!  If you don't use the wax side, you'll have one difficult time removing your transfers in one piece.

I prefer to pre-color all my royal icing before I begin drawing.  To keep it from drying out, simply dampen a rag and drape it over the bowl of icing, or cover the tip of the piping bag if you have pre-bagged all your icing!  Now you're ready for the fun part. I always begin with the darkest colors first, in this case it was the black outlines.  Patience is going to be key here.  Simply trace all the outline, then wait for it to dry completely (usually about 15 minutes for me).  Then it's just like coloring, but with icing!  Fill in each color, once the outline is dry.  I usually let each color dry before moving on to the next.  You can see where this can become time consuming, but the end result is worth it.

Let the finished transfers dry at least overnight to be sure they are dry all the way through.  I sometimes even let them sit an entire day if they are rather large, like the Bowser.  Once they are dry, you should be able to pick them up very gently and peel away the wax paper.  These will be incredibly brittle!  You may want to make spares of any important pieces just in case they decide to break during the wax paper removal.  Despite them being prone to breaking, I prefer these decorations to 3-D figures for many reasons.  They take less time overall, create a great identifiable character, and can be created a few weeks in advance and stored carefully in a cool dry place (not a refrigerator!!).

The cake seemed to be a hit, and I didn't want to tell everyone my secret of how easy transfers actually are.  Let's just let them be amazed by my tracing talent!  Pickle loved it, which is what matters most!

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