Tuesday, March 4, 2014

CTR Shield Cake Tutorial

NOTE: Sara’s blog has moved to a new location: http://saraelizabethcakes.com. Feel free to browse around my tutorials here, then come check out my new site!

"Choose the right, when a choice is placed before you" . . .  wise words, right? Easier said than done sometimes, but a simple goal we can all aspire to! 

CTR is an abbreviation for "Choose the Right." The words to the song quoted above belong to a hymn sung at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  Children learn this phrase in Sunday school (aka Primary), reminding them to stop and think before making a decision, similar to the WWJD ("What Would Jesus Do?") reminders that we've seen on jewelry, bumper stickers, etc. This abbreviation is seen frequently, most often in the form of a ring.  A ring with a green shield. The shield represents the armor of God -- protection. The green represents the unwavering colors of an evergreen tree, despite changing seasons in it's life. 

If you've ever been a Mormon or known a Mormon, odds are high that you've seen this around! They're given out in Sunday School to young children; I will always remember the excitement of receiving my own real, adjustable, green and silver ring, reminding me to be the best I can.

In the LDS church, children are baptized on or near their 8th birthday. It's a big event, where the child officially becomes a member of the church, and makes a promise to be a witness of God, to serve others in need, while always serving God and keeping His commandments. Choosing the Right. Needless to say, there are a lot of green shields to be seen at a baptism! Which is where cakes come in  . . . 

Don't look too close--this one's bottom corner got knocked by the client during transit.

CTR themed birthday cakes are huge around baptism times! I'm happy to provide them, but I'm also happy to provide a tutorial so you can make one yourself any time you like. :)

I begin by printing off my design: a fantastic one by Becca Allred, found here.  Visit her site, leave her a "thank you," and print it off to the size you would like. I use a 10" square cake, so I printed mine off to be about 9" tall. 

Place it on your cake (I've fake-laminated mine with Contact paper so I can re-use it). Carefully cut your cake to the shape with a sharp knife, making sure to hold your knife straight up and down so as to have a nice, straight side. 

I either do two layers, or I torte my one layer cake (slice it in half to create 2 layers) and fill it with buttercream. It adds a little height, and extra yumminess! To fill, using a Ziploc or piping bag of your buttercream, and pipe a dam around the sides of your first (bottom) layer of cake. Then, fill with buttercream, smoothing with your angled spatula. 

Buttercream filling
Piped dam on bottom layer
Stack your top layer carefully on it, adjusting it for a perfect match. Using your piping bag, pipe buttercream around the seam of the 2 layers, filling in any gaps and creating a nice solid connection. Smooth this frosting ridge down by running the back of your angled spatula around the side of the cake.

 I love using Ziploc bags for this step!
If you have time, chill your cake and let your buttercream set up, giving you a firmer surface for your next step. Next, apply your "crumb coat": a light layer of buttercream applied to the entire cake. This layer traps all the crumbs that you don't want showing! Chill your cake again. Either 10  min. or so in the freezer, or 15-20 min in the fridge. This will firm up the crumb coat, again making it easy to apply your final coat and maintain a good shape and crisp corners.

The food coloring I used for my green: Wilton Leaf Green, and some generic yellow drops.
Smooth on your final coat, taking careful note of corners, and chill your cake again while prepping for your final decor. 

For the lettering, you can go with fondant or buttercream. I think fondant looks the nicest. Using a nice firm fondant, (or fondant/gumpaste blend), cut out strips that are as wide as you want your letters to be. Then, using your template as a guide, cut and arrange the strips to match the lettering. Disposable scalpels or very sharp knifes work to round corners and cut the fondant. Or very sharp, very clean thread scissors work as well. I have some I use only for fondant, and would be lost without them!

The bottom edge is rolled balls of fondant. Also cute is white and green gumballs!

Here it is in Buttercream:

I believe I used a larger, open star piping tip for my buttercream letters. I first etched out my guide with a toothpick. I opted not to do a top border because I was worried it would run in to the letters. Choose a smaller tip if you'd like to fit both on the cake!

And that's it! One super-cute, evergreen CTR shield ready to go make someone smile. Let me know how yours turns out! 

Happy Caking! 


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