Fridge v Freezer for Buttercream Stencilling

Differences between refrigerating a cake prior to stencilling, and freezing a cake prior to stencilling.

To achieve the best results when stencilling onto a buttercream cake, it is always ideal to start with a very cold cake surface. 

If you are lucky to have freezer space it would be the ideal option to ensure your stencilling finish is clean and smooth, meaning less issues with your stencil sticking to your cake surface and your design being impacted.

Picture A: FRIDGE

The stencil has been applied to a cake that has only been refrigerated. The buttercream is firm, but not firm enough to instantly set the applied buttercream to the cakes surface.

The stencilling is unclean and smooshed in places and the warmth from holding the stencil onto the cake has left a fingerprint indentation. 

The stencil was not scraped with a cake scraper to remove excess buttercream, which leaves an uneven buttercream surface.

As the cake was not cold enough, some of the buttercream has come away from the cakes surface when the stencil has been removed.

Picture B: FREEZER

The cake has been in the freezer for 25 minutes prior to applying the stencilling.

The buttercream has been applied evenly to the stencil, the excess buttercream has been gently removed with a couple of passes with a cake scraper (I prefer the Caking It Up scraper). This has resulted in clean stencilling! The stencilled design has adhered to the cake’s surface and the stencilling has not pulled away from the cakes surface when the stencil has been removed.

  • Freezing the cake prior to adding any stencilling, and using a cake scraper to remove excess buttercream is recommended if you’re wanting to achieve clean stencilling on your cake. 
  • Medium consistency buttercream applied. See Stencilling Basics tutorial for more detailed information on buttercream consistency.
  • If your stencilling doesn’t turn out the way you envisioned you can try to scrape away the stencilled area neatly, otherwise there are a few ways to hide small imperfections.

Here are some suggestions:

  • Gold leaf
  • Sprinkles
  • Buttercream applied with a palette knife
  • Piped buttercream
  • Florals (non toxic)
  • Chocolate decorations (shards, spheres etc)
  • Fondant decorations
  • Macarons/cookies
  • Preserved fruit (lemon/orange slices etc).

Produced by Casey from Cake by Casey Lee