Cake Carving Hints

I don’t do a lot of cake carving, but I’ve done enough to know what works best and what makes it more difficult. Today I’m going to share my finest cake cutting techniques.

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I’m not one of those cake designers that specializes in large sculpted cakes. I simply like to keep things on a smaller scale and make cakes that don’t take me a week to complete. So large structured cakes aren’t my thing, but I do like a little carving every now and then and making some adorable forms out of cake.

I wanted to put together some practical guidelines for carving cakes while making a 2D or 3D cake. These hints may spare you a lot of misery, particularly if you aren’t in the practice of carving a lot of cakes.

Well, let’s get right to the point!

Refrigerate the cake:

I’ve heard that certain cake decorators can slice a room temperature cake, but I’ve discovered that it’s far easier to carve a cold cake.

Some individuals keep them frozen. I’m not sure about you, but I can’t cut a frozen cake. Getting it cold appears to be sufficient for me.

It simply appears less crumbly when it’s cold.

Keep an eye on your cake fillings:

If you put too much filling between the cake layers, you’ll have a major mess on your hands when it comes time to carve.

Some individuals build their layers, slice them, and then add the filling. It undoubtedly reduces the mess, but I don’t want to pull my cake apart, add filling, and then reassemble it. I’d rather deal with the mess that comes with slicing a cake with filling.

Use no nuts, chips, or other similar ingredients in your cake or fillings. It will snag on your knife and make carving really tough.

You also don’t want to go overboard with the contents and include fruit. I’m sure it’ll taste great, but it won’t carve nicely. It’ll be a massive mess.

Make use of a razor-sharp knife:

As I previously said, I don’t do a lot of carving, so I’ve simply utilized whatever knives I had on hand. I was just using an old knife that my spouse had received from a distant relative. I had no idea what sort it was since the handle was so worn. When I needed to use it for carving, I would just sharpen it really well, and it worked well for me.

I just purchased a knife that performs well and was reasonably priced. I’m not a knife expert, but this one appeals to me: Knife ShanaSana

It’s not a big knife for a major job, but it’s a decent medium-sized knife for the sorts of cakes I make.

Ashlee Marie has another knife recommendation: Ashlee Marie’s Finest Cake Carving Knife

Use a robust cake recipe:

You don’t want to use a dry cake since you don’t want it to crumble quickly, but it should be thick. It may potentially come apart on you if it is really damp. Here are some options for extra-sturdy cakes:

Sharon’s Tough Cake Recipe To get the recipe, scroll down on that page.

Veena Azmanov’s Chocolate Cake with Carving

My homemade and vanilla cake recipes are likewise thick, but they work great for carved cakes. But keep in mind that you want them to be cool before slicing. That is quite beneficial.

Recipe for Chocolate Butter Cake Recipe for Vanilla Bean Cake

You may also add more solidity to your cakes by sprinkling ganache on top. It helps to stiffen up and keep things together.

Something to keep in mind: If you’re constructing a large structured cake, you’ll certainly need a more thick cake, but if you’re making a 2D cake that isn’t structured, you can get away with a lighter cake, even if you use a cake mix. For the heart drip cake (seen below at the cutting stage), I used a cake recipe that worked well. Just follow the other suggestions in the article and carve it while it is cool.

Let’s go on to the following point.

Make use of a template:

You might construct a template to assist you with the carving. Of course, this is entirely dependent on your design, but it is really beneficial.

I simply printed an hourglass shape from PowerPoint, blew it up, and cut it out for the corset cake below. I held this up to the cake while cutting out the basic shape. I just wrapped it around the cake as I carved it. By the way, this was one of my very first cakes, so don’t be too harsh on the photos.

I didn’t have a heart pan at the time, so I printed out some heart clip art off the internet and used it to cut out the form for the heart cake below.

The instruction may be found here: Chocolate Heart Cake Ball Cake.

I made this firemen cake for a wedding many years ago. I didn’t have a pan in this form, and I wasn’t about to purchase one just to use once, so I found some clip art online, printed it off, and enlarged it to the size I required. I printed it on cardstock paper to make it a bit more durable, then placed it on top of the cake and cut around it. (This is another from my early days. I also utilized Homemade templates for the center design.)

Clearly, they aren’t really intricate and structured cakes, but it simply goes to show that carving isn’t limited to those massively structured cakes.

It may need to be chilled again before being covered in buttercream or fondant:

You may be aware that I seldom refrigerate my cakes before coating them with buttercream. This is one of those rare instances.

You’ve just sliced the cake apart, and if you attempt to add buttercream, you can end up with a collapsing disaster. I don’t usually enjoy frosting cooled cakes, so I’d try it first. Cover it with a crumb coat, and if it’s really crumbly, cool it before proceeding.

When you go to apply the crumb coat after it has cooled, make that layer of buttercream a thinner version of the final buttercream layer.

After adding your buttercream or ganache, smooth it out using a pliable smoother. Particularly if you’re going to put fondant to it. It has to be really smooth.

I just cut an acetate folder into a square and rounded the corners. It’s flexible, which is useful since it easily slides over the cake, particularly curved cakes. I usually simply use a piece of plastic.

Here’s a picture of it:

Keep the cutoffs:

You don’t want to throw away all that sweetness that you just chopped off, do you? Some of it is in too little bits for me to save, but there are times when large chunks are sliced off. You can use these to create cake pops or simply eat them as is! It’s also delicious crumbled over ice cream. Inquire as to how I know.

Don’t worry about it:

So, my last piece of advice is to try not to worry about it. I realize it’s easier said than done, but don’t believe you have to go to extremes like these renowned cake designers. Their cakes are stunning; yours does not have to be. Mine certainly aren’t.

My approach is just more straightforward, and I want to remain inside my comfort zone. Indeed, it’s exciting to attempt new and tough things since that’s how we learn, but don’t get too worked up about it.

I simply don’t do crazy cakes. I felt I needed to at one point, but they only freaked me out. To each their own, though. If that’s your thing, go for it; if the concept stresses you out and you simply want to make something entertaining that others will appreciate, don’t worry about it being a master showcase.

Were meant to be having a good time, right?

I sincerely hope this was useful, and if you have any recommendations for carving cakes, please leave them in the comments!

You may also be interested in these posts:

Fondant Cake Coating Techniques

The Structure of a Decorated Cake

Typical Cake Decoration Issues and Solutions

DIY Cake Decorating Templates


What is the best way to carve a cake?

9 Crucial Cake Carving Hints
Make a Cake Plan.
Choose the Best Basic Form.
Choose the Best Recipe.
Fillings should be avoided.
Fresh cakes should not be cut.
Make use of a sharp knife.
Fondant requires clean edges.
Make the cuts bigger.
Additional information…•May 20, 2019

Should you chill a cake before carving?

Check that the cake is firm.

Remove any extra buttercream and lay the filled cake in the refrigerator for approximately two hours to cool and firm up. This makes carving more simpler and cleaner.

How do you carve a cake without it crumbling?

Not only can you bake the cakes ahead of time, but you can also cut more elaborate forms without the cake breaking and falling apart. The hardness of your cake depends on the settings of your freezer. Let your cake to thaw somewhat before trying to slice it.

What is the trick to cutting a round cake?

2 inches in length. This leaves you with a 6 inch circular cake that you will simply cut into sections. The ideal technique to cut a round cake, according to Wilton, is to first cut a round circle approximately 2 inches in from the outside border of the cake. Next you cut the outside circle into 1 12 inch segments.

How long to defrost a cake before carving?

The foil is made of aluminum. The cakes must be refrigerated for at least 8 hours before serving. Remove them from the freezer but leave them covered in Press & Seal to defrost. When ready to defrost, remove the wrapped cakes from the freezer and place them in the refrigerator for one day before decorating.

How long to let cake cool before shaping?

How Long Should You Let Your Cake to Cool? Your cake will need to cool for 10 minutes to several hours before you can handle it without danger of it shattering. Cake may be stored in the refrigerator or freezer if wrapped in aluminum foil or plastic.

Should you shape a cake when it’s hot or cold?

What you’ll need. A tiny paring knife and a big serrated knife are required. The layers you want to cut should be cooled since a cold cake is considerably sturdier than a room temperature cake.

Is it better to frost a cake the night before or day of?

Q: Is it okay to frost a cake the day before? A: Of course you can! The following day, an unsliced, frosted cake will taste just as good. A cake covered with any fresh whipped cream icing would be the lone exception.

Why does my cake fall apart when I cut it?

Overbaking is one of the most prevalent causes of a cake breaking apart. What exactly is this? Overbaking can dry out your ingredients and leave you with a cake that isn’t moist enough to stay together when you cut it.

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