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The secrets of cake carving

post #1 of 119
Thread Starter 
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
post #2 of 119
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
To find "THE RECIPE LINKS ARE HERE" thread, click on "Forums", then "Recipes" and it's the first sticky. Latest updates are on (the bottom of) page 10 here:
To find "THE RECIPE LINKS ARE HERE" thread, click on "Forums", then "Recipes" and it's the first sticky. Latest updates are on (the bottom of) page 10 here:
post #3 of 119
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!!
post #4 of 119
Thread Starter 
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.

post #5 of 119
I learned on CC I forgot where I went on the site but it was a picture by picture. It really helped me.
legal, not legal, I don't care
legal, not legal, I don't care
post #6 of 119
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.
post #7 of 119
Thread Starter 
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.
post #8 of 119
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.

post #9 of 119
Thread Starter 
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!
post #10 of 119
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.
post #11 of 119
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.

My free tutorial website is:
Learn cake sculpture on DVD!

My free tutorial website is:
Learn cake sculpture on DVD!

post #12 of 119
Thread Starter 
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
post #13 of 119
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:

Guess I'll just go back to freezing my cooled cake layersicon_smile.gif
post #14 of 119
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

hope i helped some!

post #15 of 119
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.
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