I use a butter/crisco combo butter cream and cake had been iced and sat overnight in the frig. It was very dry & crusted cake. I tried to work quickly, not know what to expect when I pulled the stencil off. Everytime, I pulled some white icing off. I see flawless damask cakes all over the internet...mine was not!
Could be several different things:
1. Sounds like the icing you are stenciling with is too thick - when you pull away the stencil, the icing you stenciled with us sticking to the stencil and pulling away the icing underneath too.
2. If your stencil is sticking to the icing it could be the stencil was damp
3. Try freezing the cake and doing on section at a time and freeze between sections to firm it up again
Icing wasn't too thick, but after the first panel and I rinsed it off....it was not completely dry....but it pulled a little icing on the very first panel when the stencil was dry. I think I may only do this in the future on fondant covered cakes and stick to the edible icing damask for butter cream cakes.
I've read to rinse off stencil after each use. Is it impossible as I think to completly dry that thing after use? My towel kept getting stuck in the intricate cuts, so I was just patting it dry.
Debbie, what frosting are you using for the stencil? I stencil with a SMBC and I apply it to a SMBC that has been chilled. Both are very light and smooth. I've never had a problem with stenciling. I hold the stencil very lightly against the cake side, then I use a plastic scapula to apply the stenciling icing over the top of the stencil. If I want the stencil pattern to have depth and definition, I just don't scrape all the icing off the stencil before lifting the stencil from the cake. I rinse the stencil between applications and blot dry with a paper towel (you're right that a dishtowel rubbed over the stencil just gets caught on the delicate cuts).
Maybe you could also try lightly dusting your stencil with cornstarch or confectioners sugar to make sure it is completely dry before stencilling the next bit of cake.
I use the butter cream dream recipe for my icing and I made sure it wasn't when stenciling. I put it in a piping bag with a #12 tip and wished I'd had 3 hands. I held the stencil with one hand (I think I pressed too hard) and after I make a circle with the icing, I was able to let go of the stencil and just kinda hold it at the bottom. I may have scraped too hard when spreading it around.
I am going to try some things differently next time including blotting it with paper towel. It was definitely not completely dry in between each use.
I am just open to any and all suggestions. I've decorated hundreds of cakes, and this technique kicked my caboose!