I would like to start making carved cakes for window display, but I need them to last for quite some time.
I'm a scratch baker and don't mind using a mix for these type cake since they won't be eaten, but the most important thing is that a: it won't shrink and b: it is very cheap to make. Anyone have a recipe for this they can share?
No matter what recipe you use, baked cake will deteriorate.
I've done a carved competition cake using the white cake mix from GFS--a just add water mix. It took about 1 month for it to begin to fall apart & it spewed mold when it was taken off of the internal structure. It was a very dry cake. A much more moist cake that I did took less than 2 weeks to begin to weep & mold.
You really need to use styrofoam dummies in order to get any real use out of the cakes for your time & materials investment.
I always use styrofoam for my dummy wedding cakes, but how do you carve styrofoam to get details, for say like a dog? Do you use something like a Dremel tool to whittle down the details?
I use all kinds of things: serrated knives of different fineness, varies grits of sandpaper, nail files, a dedicated Ped-Egg, and bits of the stryofoam itself will also sand down details.
Another option would be to do some, or all, of the sculpture with rice krispie treats.