How do I go about making a 3D cake? I know some people make templates. Are there any basic instructions for 3D cakes? Any tips you have?
If you are carving the best tip I can give you is to stack, level and fill then put it in the fridge or freezer to firm it up very well. Don't fully freeze it though. This helps me to carve mine out a little neater with less breakage.
Other than that a lot of what I do I draw it on a large paper (like posterboard) then transfer that onto wax paper and lay it over my cake to make the initial cuts. Then you have to just carve the rest by what you know you want it to look like.
Takes some practice but if you see the horse and guitar and harley emblem in my photos that is how I did those.
I make quite a few. They are a lot of fun! Firstly, just make sure you use a dense cake (chocolate pound cake or WASC or Hershey's choc cake in recipes). I usually don't make a template for a 3D but I do draw my design. And I like to carve it frozen, as well. I feel like I have more control. And carve only a little at a time... I use a little steak knife. I"m not good with really big, sharp things! Also, remember structure and support are equally important. Even a little cake on top of a bigger cake needs dowels and a board. It will sink without, esp if you're using fondant. When you think about your design, try to use the pan shapes that come closest, so you have to do the least amount of carving. For example, for my caving helmet, I used a 1/2 soccer ball on a 10 inch round. Have fun!
I bake cakes in shaped pans to somewhat replicate the shape of the finished anatomy. It cuts down on sculpting. Ball cakes for heads, heart cakes cut in half for haunches, wonder pan for upright dog body, etc., etc.
okay so this is all great info thanks. So I am planning to make a pirate ship. I am guessing it will be 3 layers. Should they be okay stacked without any support and if not what do you suggest I use? Also, does anyone have any experience with rice treats and any suggestions for that? I was thinking they could be used in the tip of the bow?