Back-to-school time is always met with mixed emotions. End of summer, boo. Order restored to life, yaaaay!
This hectic time of supply shopping, schedule making, and lunch packing calls for a simple, but fun dessert. Something #EasyAsSheetCake! Just two quick cuts and a little bit of doodling turn an ordinary sheet cake into an adorable backpack.
My friends over at Wilton asked me to take part in their Back To School campaign and I was more than happy to add this cake to the mix! You can find tons more back to school snack and treat ideas here. Their sugar sheets were absolutely perfect for making patches. The only alternatives I could think of were to pipe the patches (pass) or use wafer paper. I prefer the sugar sheets over wafer paper for this, because they’re actually icing! They hold their shape, take color beautifully, and blend in nicely with buttercream. I tried both Wilton’s Edible Color Markers and the Candy Decorating Pens and found the candy pens worked much better on the sugar sheets. I’m guessing that’s because the sheets have a little bit of fat and sugar in them. I would have received product from Wilton to create my cake if I had gotten my act in gear, but I didn’t. I went to the store. Totally my fault. #badatspon ??
How to Make a Backpack Sheet Cake
If you whip up this cutie, tag me! @erin.bakes on Instagram and add the hashtag #erinbakes .I love seeing your awesome work!
- 9″ x 13″ sheet cake (but any rectangular cake would work)
- 1 batch of American Buttercream tinted with gel food coloring in the shade you’d like your backpack to be
- Offset icing spatula
- Piping bag
- Basketweave piping tip
- Wilton Sugar Sheets
- Candy Decorating Pens
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Make the Backpack
Turn your baked and cooled sheet cake onto a cake board or platter. Position the cake vertically in front of you. Trim away the upper corners of the rectangle. Start your first cut about 2 inches away from the corner along the top edge and end the cut about 4 inches down from the corner. You’ll be left with two little wedges of cake. Save those corner pieces to make the backpack’s pocket. Trim up the sides to even out your cuts or until you have the backpack shape you’d like.
Ice the sheet cake with the American buttercream. Bring the long sides of the two corner pieces together to form a rectangle. Trim off the points if they hang over the edges. Place the rectangle on the sheet cake to make the backpack’s pocket. Sandwich the pieces together and finish the rectangle with a layer of buttercream. Reserve at least a 1/2 cup of the buttercream to make the handle.
To create the illusion of zippers, drag the tip of an icing spatula or small knife through the buttercream about an inch down from the top edge of the pocket to create a line. Do the same thing around the outer edge of the backpack. Pop the sheet cake in the fridge to chill while you work on your patches. Patches will be easier to apply to chilled buttercream.
Fit the piping bag with the basketweave tip and fill it with the remaining buttercream. Pipe a handle coming up off of the top of the backpack sheet cake. Hold the bag so that the flat part of the tip is facing up.
Make the Patches
Draw your favorite shapes, sayings, mascot, emojis, foods, etc. on Wilton Sugar Sheets using Candy Decorating Pens. I found that the candy pens worked much better on the sugar sheets than the traditional food coloring pens. The color was far more fluid and saturated. Cut out the shapes and leave the plastic backing on until you’re ready to apply them to the cake. Shapes can be made well in advance and stored in a zip-top bag or air tight container.
All Together Now
Just before serving, peel the backings off of your patches and stick them to the backpack wherever you’d like. If you’ll be leaving the cake at room temperature, then you can apply the patches well in advance. If you’re storing the cake in the fridge, then wait until it’s out at room temp. The humidity in the fridge can cause the sugar sheets to warp and the color to bleed.
Serve to your hungry little bears after their first day of school and enjoy!