katharry Posted 12 Jan 2007 , 4:25am
post #1 of

Okay, all you fabulous cake carvers can you share with the rest of us your tips/secrets to successful cake carving?

I understand freezing the cake is a great method, but Id really like to know from whoa to go how is the best way to do this.

What and how do you wrap a cake in for freezing?

Do you stack and put buttercream between the layers before carving?

Do you carve fully frozen? You then must thaw before applying fondant but when is the best time to apply the outer layer of buttercream? Do you do this after you carve but before you defrost to avoid cake crumbs?

Oh its such a mystery but I am hoping the cake carving gurus will come out to help us.

Thanks in advance icon_smile.gif

118 replies
bobwonderbuns Posted 12 Jan 2007 , 4:32am
post #2 of

Yes, do tell. I've never carved a cake or done anything like a purse cake or a pillow cake which require some carving. I'm watching this thread with baited breath... icon_smile.gif

mjs4492 Posted 12 Jan 2007 , 4:32am
post #3 of

I've only carved 2 flowerpot cakes which is nothing compared to the other carved cakes on here! I didn't freeze either one. I filled the layers, put a crumb BC coat on and then let it set up really good before carving. Then applied the fondant layer.
What kind of carving are you doing? What design? Please post!!

katharry Posted 12 Jan 2007 , 4:44am
post #4 of

Well I have two handbags I need to do in the next month. I did a practice run the other day but the cake was so fresh that it felt really wobbly and I didnt end up with the shape I intended, but I was too scared to keep carving as I thought it would get smaller and smaller. icon_redface.gif

I know that there are cake carving masters on CC and thought that they might share with us their secrets. I think its such a cool skill to have, it just would open up a whole new avenue of cake decorating if you could master this.

I know that CC has been quite quiet over the last few days with the server problems, lets hope that we get some good ideas.

Cheers
Kathryn

Janette Posted 12 Jan 2007 , 4:44am
post #5 of

I learned on CC I forgot where I went on the site but it was a picture by picture. It really helped me.

cakeladydi Posted 12 Jan 2007 , 4:48am
post #6 of

I can't help with the carving info but I freeze all my cakes. Immediately after I take them out of the oven I turn them out on Glad wrap and cover completely then place on large sheet of foil (sometimes it takes two sheets side-by-side)(same with the plastic wrap) and cover completely, put on a cakeboard and place flat in the freezer. My DH even bought me an upright freezer when I started doing cakes for that reason. I know some people think they aren't "fresh" but I think they are more moist and have never had any complaints. I have 1 wedding cake and grooms cake a month for the next 7 months.
I'm gonna check back to find out about the carving methods also.

katharry Posted 12 Jan 2007 , 4:57am
post #7 of

Thanks heaps cakeladydi. Ive always been really scared to wrap a hot cake as I thought it would sweat, but I have read that people say it makes a moister cake too.

And you dont find the cakes softer, and they dont break-up when defrosted then?

So interesting!! Gosh it would be so handy to have a few cakes frozen away to pull out when needed.

karennayak Posted 12 Jan 2007 , 4:59am
post #8 of

I carved my Nike shoe cake (in my photos) from two loaf tins and a small rectangular cake

1) I didn't freeze, just foil-wrapped and cooled the cakes over-night in the refrigerator.
2) Stacked, with filling, dowelled, cooled agin.
3) Carved (fine serrated knife) and then covered with crumb-coat icing.
4) Cooled again.
5)Covered in Fondant

The one thing I noticed when carving is that you need to exaggerate the shapes, as one layer of crumb-coat and one of fondant means you lose some of the detailed shape you have carved earlier

I had multiple pictures of the shoe, from all angles as reference.

My pirate ship, and pop tate's cake are also carved using the same method.

About the freezing v/s cooling part, I can't comment as that will depend on the type of cake you make. Mine was a devil's food cake from scratch.

Karen

katharry Posted 12 Jan 2007 , 5:09am
post #9 of

Okay Karen you are definitely a carving guru as Ive always loved that Nike shoe!

Good tip about exaggerating the shape, wouldnt have thought of that!
thumbs_up.gif

Ksue Posted 12 Jan 2007 , 5:16am

I've done it both ways, frozen and non-frozen. The purse and shoe cake in my pictures was done in June -- with 110% humidity, high heat and drizzly rain -- so I absolutely HAD to freeze the filled layers first, then sculpted it frozen and applied a crumb coat. Did a buttercream coat after it came to room temperature, then covered with fondant.

Recently did another purse, but didn't have to freeze it to carve it, since it was chilly outside.

Also -- I freeze ALL my cakes at least overnight before decorating. Pulled a 6" square out of the freezer Tuesday to test a new icing recipe on ... it had been in the freezer for 3 months. All my neighborhood "samplers" said it was the best cake they'd EVER tasted.

My cakes are always frozen first (and wrapped as Cake Lady Di describes), never taste frostbitten or dry, and are always super-moist.

Non-frozen cakes are too wobbly for me.

TooMuchCake Posted 12 Jan 2007 , 5:18am

I never carve a frozen cake, I carve mine at room temperature. Be sure to carve them smaller than the finished design should be, because the buttercream or fondant will take up room, and beginners sometimes forget that. If you accidentally take off too much, it's okay, you can add more icing to fill in the design. I prefer to do my coverings in buttercream since I like the detail I can get in it.

Remember to board and dowel any cakes that will be more than two layers tall, even if only part of the cake is going to be tall.

Deanna

katharry Posted 12 Jan 2007 , 5:54am

Okay this might sound really dumb but what does board a cake mean?

Also to dowel a carved cake do you just push a dowel through the tallest part? icon_redface.gificon_redface.gif

JanH Posted 12 Jan 2007 , 7:33am

JMHO, but I did try freezing the hot/warm wrapped cake layers and thought the texture was slightly gummy and wet upon thawing (in the wrappers).

I also wrapped hot/warm cake layers and let cool (in the wrappings) before frosting and got pretty much the same result icon_sad.gif

Not sure if it was because of the recipes used, or just because wrapping retains the steam vapor...

This link on freezing does advise complete cooling to prevent soggy baked goods:

http://lancaster.unl.edu/food/ftnvdc99.htm

Guess I'll just go back to freezing my cooled cake layersicon_smile.gif

sweet_as_tisse Posted 12 Jan 2007 , 10:46am

hey kathryn

i only work with frozen cake's, the mud cake is the best to carve when frozen. i dont fill with ganache until i have carved. i also wrap them straight from the oven in cling wrap and put them into the freezer.. i just had a lady order a mud cake today (she had tasted one of mine from another order) and she said it was the best mud cake she had ever tasted, that one was frozen straight from the oven and even filled with ganache and iced when it was still half frozen..

i will garantee that if you use the mud cake frozen you can carve it til your hearts content and it will not fall apart.... i flip them, turn them upside down and round and round and have not had one fall to bits yet....lol

hope i helped some!

kylie

boring Posted 12 Jan 2007 , 11:22am

I would have thought that the plastic would slightly melt a bit with hot cake straight from the oven especially if you don't have room straight away in the freezer. I have also do this type of thing but like JanH with the slightly gummy and wet, almost soggy effect when thawed but not enough that you can't cut off.

Wrapping straight from te oven is certainly worth trying. I too would likke to know the ins and outs of carving a cake as I have 10 feet to make for a wedding cake for March next year and that is the only way I am going to get them.

cakeladydi Posted 12 Jan 2007 , 1:23pm

The only time I have had the plastic wrap melt just a little was when the pan touched it as I turned out the cake. I use the Wilton recipe for pan grease and my cakes always pop out easily. I also unwrap the cakes to thaw. Sometimes there will be ice crystals and I brush them off or if there are some that won't come off I blot with a papertowel before I decorate. And I don't usually wait until they have completely thawed before I start. I only use DH cake mix. Butter Recipe and Devils Food. I have never had anyone ask for other flavors. In the south we are pretty much just meat and potatoes.
A question I have is are cake mix cakes heavy enough to handle fondant? I think my choc would be because I add pudding and choc syrup but I'm not sure about buttercake. I haven't use fondant yet because most people around here think they don't like it. But I am really wanting to try MMF. Would the cake have to be completely thawed to use MMF?

boonenati Posted 12 Jan 2007 , 1:40pm

Kath
I freeze most of my mudcakes because i find that they are more moist when they are defrosted. But when i carve my cakes I never carve them frozen, I also never carve them fresh out of the oven cause they fall apart. I find that if Im short on time, the soonest they can be carved is the day after baking and it's best if they are cold. This works well for me icon_biggrin.gif
cheers
Nati

aundron Posted 12 Jan 2007 , 2:57pm

I'm not a cake carving guru, but I've done it before!!! I ALWAYS freeze my cakes!! I let the cake cool some (almost room temperature, but they've been warm) and then wrap it about 5 times with Saran Wrap!! My husband loves how they taste when they are thawed out, he says I should always use pudding in the cake or bake from scratch and I should always freeze them for a least 24 hours!!!

As far as carving a cake is concerned; just do it!!! On last night's episode of "Ace of Cakes", Duff said, Don't be afraid of the cake, don't let it intimidate you!! If you have to smash it to get the shape you want, then do it!! (He's smashing the cake and smacking it as he's saying this)

While he was doing this, I kind of figured that's my problem; scared to "hurt" (mishandle from fear of it breaking) the cake!! HTH icon_biggrin.gif

karennayak Posted 12 Jan 2007 , 3:42pm

Thank you Kathy! icon_redface.gif

That's a good tip from TooMuchCake.

When I was carving a milk-shake, (Pop Tate's/Archie cake) I forgot about reducing the size. Then once I added the buttercream and the fondant it looked ridiculous! I had to strip off the icing and start over.

Karen

DianeLM Posted 12 Jan 2007 , 4:00pm

I'm no expert, but I've done a fair bit of carving. I prefer my cake chilled, not frozen solid. You really can't carve anything that's frozen solid! Sometimes I frig overnight or I'll pop the cake into the freezer for a couple of hours.

For less intricate carving, I prefer the cake at room temp. I always use a dense, sour cream recipe and I never carve the cake the same day it's baked. I always fill with buttercream before I carve, too.

I do the crumbcoat as soon as possible, while the cake is still chilled (if applicable). I can then add the final fondant or buttercream coating because I don't freeze the cakes solid.

I've added a couple of carved cakes to my gallery so you can determine what my advice is worth. icon_wink.gif

katharry Posted 12 Jan 2007 , 7:45pm

All great ideas & suggestions, thanks so much to you all.

Diane thanks for posting your carved cakes amazing but even MORE amazing is how you get you buttercream so smooth over a carved shape it looks like fondant. That is mind blowing to me (someone who cant even get a flat round cake smooth!) icon_cry.gif .

aine2 Posted 12 Jan 2007 , 8:19pm

This has been so enlightening for me. I am no carving expert either and my best advice about it is "avoid it at all costs!" ha ha ha icon_lol.gif I know my own limits and I won't lose sleep over something that gives me a headache. Though reading all these tips I think that I am going to be less hard on myself and be more open in future....maybe! I can carve round, square and anything non specific. I so admire the car cakes on this site and would love to have the confidence to do it too. My excuse is I am too busy modelling.....with paste, not on the catwalk! I'm saving this post for future reference and when I make my first car I'll sure let you all know....don't hold your breath! thumbs_up.gif

As for you Kathryn, you'll do it no problem! icon_wink.gif

cakekrayzie Posted 12 Jan 2007 , 8:57pm

i am like all of you i frezze my cakes, i put the hot cake in the frezzer for about 2 hours uncovered then torte in the middle because this is easier to do when its not forzen, then i wrap in frezzer foil and no frezzer burnt or complaints to date "Knock on wood" i am no carving expert i have only done one so far but the one thing i did learn is i carved the cake semi frozen which i had no problem but then i brain farted and appied the fondat to a semi frozen cake and let it sit overnight because it was a class project cake and when i woke up in the moring the cake had thawed out and the fondant settled and made this huge very noticble bubble in the cake icon_cry.gif

aine2 Posted 12 Jan 2007 , 9:00pm

icon_lol.gificon_lol.gificon_lol.gif I'm so sorry but this last comment made me laugh! This post is well worth being a keepsake! It's cheered me up no end. icon_lol.gif

boring Posted 13 Jan 2007 , 10:58am

Cakeladydi,

I have used Betty Crocker cake mix and put fondant (Satin Ice) on it with no problems. The cake mix was Choc Fudge. You could always try. I thought the same thing about people and fondant but the cake I did last July, I made sure that I had buttercream under the fondant and it was ok. I figured if people didn't like the fondant than they could take it off and still have buttercream. Guess what they ate the fondant as well which the Bride was very surprised tht they did. She insisted that they have frosting on them, didn't want fondant but caved.

mamacc Posted 13 Jan 2007 , 1:38pm

I've carved quite a few cakes and have kind of got a system going now. I give myself two days to do a carved cake-one night to carve and the next to decorate.

I take all the frozen cakes out of my freezer and arrange them on the board just to get a feel for how it's all going to come together. Then I start carving and stacking up the cakes where I want them. I start cutting with the cakes completely frozen but they thaw out fairly quickly. Once the carving is done I cover the cake un-iced in saran wrap to sit overnight and thaw. I haven't had good luck with fondant on frozen cakes, so I like to wait a day. The next day I ice in buttercream, then cover with fondant and finish decorating. This works pretty well b/c the frozen cakes get to "settle" overnight before icing and covering. Also, If the cake is carved in an intricate shape then I might ice the cake with a large basketweave tip used like the cake icer tip.

I use the WASC recipe all the time for carving and it usually works fine and tastes yummy. The only time I've had problems is when I'm trying to cover a shape that's wide on top and narrower at the bottom. The WASC cake is just not firm enough to support fondant on this shape. For example, my topsy turvy and baby in a cradle cakes were starting to sag a little from the fondant pulling the cake down.

Happy carving!
Courtney

mamacc Posted 13 Jan 2007 , 1:46pm

Wow Diane! I like your new cakes!! The puppy is really cute. icon_smile.gif What method do you use for getting the BC smooth over curved shapes? You do a great job getting it smooth!

Courtney

jguilbeau Posted 13 Jan 2007 , 2:04pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamacc

I've carved quite a few cakes and have kind of got a system going now. I give myself two days to do a carved cake-one night to carve and the next to decorate.

I take all the frozen cakes out of my freezer and arrange them on the board just to get a feel for how it's all going to come together. Then I start carving and stacking up the cakes where I want them. I start cutting with the cakes completely frozen but they thaw out fairly quickly. Once the carving is done I cover the cake un-iced in saran wrap to sit overnight and thaw. I haven't had good luck with fondant on frozen cakes, so I like to wait a day. The next day I ice in buttercream, then cover with fondant and finish decorating. This works pretty well b/c the frozen cakes get to "settle" overnight before icing and covering. Also, If the cake is carved in an intricate shape then I might ice the cake with a large tip used like the cake icer tip.

I use the WASC recipe all the time for carving and it usually works fine and tastes yummy. The only time I've had problems is when I'm trying to cover a shape that's wide on top and narrower at the bottom. The WASC cake is just not firm enough to support fondant on this shape. For example, my topsy turvy and baby in a cradle cakes were starting to sag a little from the fondant pulling the cake down.

Happy carving!
Courtney




What does WASC mean?

mamacc Posted 13 Jan 2007 , 2:12pm

WASC is White Almond Sour Cream cake. It's a really yummy doctored mix cake. I doctor it even more and use yellow cake and vanilla extract. The recipe is posted here on CC. icon_smile.gif

Courtney

cakeladydi Posted 13 Jan 2007 , 3:43pm

I'm sitting here with pen in hand taking notes on all the great tips. Thanks "boring" for the info and "mamacc" for the recipe tips. It is good to hear from someone that a recipe is "really yummy". I'm gonna have to give it a try. Everyone is so good about offering their expertise and advise. I really appreciate it.

Diane

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