I'll be carving a fish out of a flat 9x13 stacked cake. I plan on putting a cutout drawing on top of the cake and carve 'around' the drawing. I've never carved a cake before and what I'm planning to do I have to believe is probably on the easier side of cake carving, but would still like some tips. How should I prep the before I carve? Any other tricks of the trade that would help me?
I think the best thing to do is make sure you refridgerate the cake first, it will be firmer and less crumbly when you carve it.
When I did my bass cake I did a stencil too, just like that. It worked great.
The most important thing (I think) when cake carving is to remember that the cake itself is only the basic shape, the frosting/decorating adds the details, so don't worry about all the little details when you're carving. The cake won't hold up to it, and you'll just end up frustrated.
Like the others said, refrigeration is a must. Another thing I learned is that I like my knife to be finely serrated. Bigger serations tend to pull off pieces of cake while smaller ones tend to glide through the cake.