Complete beginner here....
I made a cake for Mother's Day from petal shaped pans. The list of beginner-disasters that ensued is lengthy, with many, many lessons learned. The most important lesson: Put the piping bag down, go to bed, come back in the morning.
Anyway: by the time I got enough icing on the cake to hide the crumbs, the shape of the petals was COMPLETELY gone. I had to 'guess' where they were and kind of unevenly 'sculpt' them in the icing.
How do you keep the shape of the cake intact under all that icing, or should shaped cakes be reserved for fondant cakes?
I have to admit that I usually use fondant on shaped cakes... With that said, I think that if you did a THIN crumb coat, and put it in the fridge to set for about 1/2 hour it would be fine. Come back with a good stiff buttercream like IndyDebi's or Sugarshack's and used the Melvira - Faux Fondant (Viva) method you could gently shape the petals as you smoothed...