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?
From the oven, I let my cakes cool a bit before turning them out onto a rack.. I also push down the tops of them with towel while they're still warm to flatten them a bit as well as make them a bit denser.
After they've cooled, I torte them and put a layer of wax paper or plastic wrap in between the torte. (Some people don't do this because there is a higher risk of slippage due to all the filling layers when assembled, but I prefer this because I want to make sure that regardless of what area of the cake people receive, they are able to get at least a little filling). I then wrap the cake in 2-3 layers of plastic wrap, put on a cookie sheet and put in the freezer - the cookie sheet is so the cakes are flat as they freeze.
Do you stack and put buttercream between the layers before carving?
Yes and no..
I start by stacking the cakes and doing a rough carve without any filling (just make sure to account for filling height, so I usually carve "shorter" than the desired finished product if that makes sense). Then I put in the filling, using a double dam if filling is other than BC and then adjust the carving as necessary.
Do you carve fully frozen?
No, I thaw in the plastic wrap for 30min to an hour before carving depending on cake size.
You then must thaw before applying fondant but when is the best time to apply the outer layer of buttercream?
I use SMBC for my cakes due to flavor preference. I cover the cake with plastic wrap to allow it to settle before crumbcoating it and put in the fridge. I actually like to do two very thin crumbcoats when using SMBC because I find it makes a smoother and cleaner finish for the fondant.
Use a good dense cake recipe - nothing light.
Try to plan the cake layout ahead of time if possible so you don't have to waste unnecessary cake - like you can cut up a large sheet cake.
I've learned to make templates ahead of time out of paper and cut them out so I don't have to keep measuring and eyeballing - makes it so much more efficient.
Go slowly, it's hard to add cake back on, easy to take off
Make sure you exaggerate the details - after the BC and fondant is added, fine details will not come through.
Use good sharp knives - have them in several sizes - it will make carving awkward angles and details much easier.
Don't use slippery filling like fruits
I use Michele Foster's Fondant which can be refrigerated and it is a godsend since I'm able to transport chilled cakes which are much more stable.
Most of all... HAVE FUN!, cover the cake and walk away if you need a break or if you start to go cross eyed =).