Cakes shaped like guitars, cars and animals have surpassed the popularity of standby layered birthday cake with sprinkles. Whimsical wedding cakes are now overshadowing the popularity of the standard white wedding cake. Novelty cakes are now the stars, but making them yourself can be a challenge. They are more difficult to make and more complicated to decorate than traditional cakes, so knowing a few tricks before you begin will be a lifesaver as you create your edible work of art.
Bake the cake, and let it cool entirely. Assemble layers as desired, adding a layer of frosting with a spatula between each layer for filling.
Cover the cake with a thin layer of icing, using a spatula to spread it over the smooth surfaces. This is known as the crumb coat and keeps crumbs from appearing in your final layer of icing. If your cake has dips or bumps on it that are difficult to frost, use the back of a spoon to apply the frosting more precisely so the details will show through the icing. Place the cake in the refrigerator for a half hour before adding the second layer of icing.
Add the final coat of icing. If you want to apply buttercream icing, use a spatula to apply the icing liberally around the cake and a spoon to help accent the detail much like with the crumb coat. When you finish applying the butter cream icing, move on to the instructions on doing finishing touches (Step 5). If you want to decorate the cake with fondant, go to the instructions on fondant (Step 4).
Roll out a piece of fondant that is large enough to cover your cake. Use cornstarch on your rolling pin, hands and counter tops to keep fondant from sticking as you work. Pick up the fondant with both hands or a spatula and lay it gently on your cake. Use a fondant smoother to smooth the fondant over the cake and work it into the dips. In spots where the fondant folds, pull it down gently while smoothing the fold with your other hand. Cut the fondant away from the bottom of your cake.
Add finishing touches to transform your cake into a work of art. You can use frosting in a pastry bag to "draw" on the cake. Fill the bag with frosting and hold the bag at the opposite end, applying even pressure as you move the bag to decorate the cake. You can also decorate the cake with fondant. Dye it and roll it out. You can use cookie cutters or a knife to cut out shapes, or shape it like clay to create fondant figures to decorate the cake.