This glue bottle back to school cake is simple to make with a printable template and an easy method for decorating with your kids’ names and grades.
Finding annual family traditions can be such an integral part of being a connected family. Memories and storytelling are where it’s at when it comes to having a close family bond.
Usually some of the best memories and stories are ones that you never planned for, they just happened.
Since we never know when those spontaneous storytelling moments will happen though, it’s important to create these experiences for your family as well. Annual family traditions are an easy way to do this.
The best are those annual traditions that stick year after year and never seem to get old. One tradition we’ve had for 10+ years, and is still going strong, is an annual back to school cake. Every cake is decorated with the names and current grade for each of our kids.
After it’s finished, I take pictures of the three of them together holding the cake (which is always a little dangerous!) and then individual pictures of each of them holding it.
We start having conversations two or three weeks before the new school year begins about what the cake will be this year. We have made just about every school related shape or supply that you can think of. A pencil, chalkboard, piece of notebook paper, ruler, school bus and more. A calculator is one we’ve talked about but haven’t tackled yet. Maybe next year.
This year it was a bottle of glue back to school cake. Here’s how we did it:
9×13 cake– baked and completely cooled (I used this recipe, but a box cake is fine too; whichever cake recipe you choose, be sure to use one that has directions for greasing the pan or using parchment paper so the cake can be turned out of the pan without sticking after baking)
5-6 c. white frosting (Homemade or store bought- I used this recipe, making a 1-1/2 times recipe)
Orange food coloring (This AmeriColor soft gel food coloring is my absolute favorite. These give you beautiful, bright vibrant colors, including true red….no more red food coloring that actually only turns the frosting dark pink!)
Scrapbook paper for “label” (Using the same technique as detailed in my customizable printables post, purchase a light colored piece of scrapbook paper in the color and design of your choosing; I chose a solid color light blue)
Wax paper and tape
Step 1. Download, print and cut out the glue bottle back to school cake templates (or you can do this freehand if you feel comfortable). If you are already a subscriber, use the printables library password included in your welcome email to get the printable from the library here. If you would like to subscribe to gain access, you can sign up here.
Step 2. Place the templates for the bottom and the top of the glue bottle on the cake as pictured. After both pieces have been positioned as needed, take away the top piece and leave only the bottom piece in place. Cut away the portion of the cake that is outside of the template. Be sure to keep the piece you are cutting away intact as it will be used to cut out the top of the glue bottle.
Step 3. Position the top piece of the template on the piece of cake that you cut away from the bottom. Cut out the top piece.
Step 5. Put both pieces together to form the glue bottle.
Step 6. Frost the cake lightly and let dry. You can also place the cake in the fridge to speed up the process. This is the crumb coat layer to seal the cake crumbs and prevent them from spreading as you put on the finished layer of frosting.
Step 7. After the crumb coat layer dries, apply your finish layers of frosting of white on the bottom and orange for the glue bottle tip. I mixed 2-3 drops of orange food coloring into approximately 1/2 c. of frosting for the glue bottle tip. Let frosting dry (again you can put the cake in the fridge to speed the process along).
Step 8. Type up your kids’ names, grades and the year and print onto your scrapbook paper. Be sure to load the scrapbook paper into the printer so that it prints on the right side (for instructions on how to determine whether your printer requires paper to be loaded face up or face down see Step 1. of this post). I used the Lucida Handwriting font in Word at a font size of 44.
Step 9. Print another copy of the template for the bottom portion of the glue bottle and cut out the grey center section. Use this piece as a template to cut your scrapbook paper. Use this piece again to cut a piece of wax paper to the same size. Tape the bottom side of the scrapbook paper to the piece of wax paper. This step forms your glue bottle label.
Step 10. Apply the wax paper side of the label to the cake, pressing lightly so that the label sticks to the cake. To prevent the frosting from possibly seeping into the scrapbook paper and the scrapbook paper then bleeding into the icing, I recommend only leaving this on long enough to take your photos. After you’ve taken your photos, gently peel the label off the cake and enjoy!
Tips when making the glue bottle back to school cake:
- Although making this in one day is very doable, you can easily make this in steps over a period of a couple of days. For instance, the cake can be baked on day 1 and decorated on day 2.
- I have many times baked a cake and frozen it a week or two ahead of when we plan to decorate it. Just let the cake cool completely and wrap tightly in plastic wrap and then aluminum foil before placing in the freezer.
- In a pinch when I didn’t have time to bake a cake, I went to my favorite local bakery and they were happy to sell me an un-iced cake (they were actually nice enough to sell me frosting in the colors I needed to decorate it with too). There is nothing wrong with not baking the cake at home, this one is about the memories!
- Don’t feel like you have to make this cake before school begins. I used to stress myself during the busy couple of weeks before school started to squeeze in the cake. Finally, I realized it didn’t matter whether I made the cake before school started, it just mattered to me that we made one.
If you decide to make this glue bottle back to school cake, I’d love for you to send me a pic!
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