|How much of that is edible?|
I was talking to the catering manager at a reception site, and he made a comment about the cake they'd had there the night before. He said it looked good, but it was so full of PVC and styrofoam it was impossible to cut, and there wasn't much cake in it. He said that they weren't impressed with it.
When I do a 3-D cake I try to make them out of cake, not styrofoam. Sometimes there are structural elements that have to be used, though, but I still try to use more cake than supports.
I blame television and the stupid "extreme" cakes that they love to show. You'll have bakeries who shall not be named making PVC structures that are covered in fondant and modelling chocolate and referring to them as "cake." No, that's not cake.
It's one thing to make a cake that looks like something else. It's something completely different to deliver a "cake" that is plastic, styrofoam and fondant, then have to bring additional sheet cakes to actually eat.
Why not just call it what it is? It's a sugar sculpture. People are always complaining that clients don't want to pay for elaborate cakes. Well, if you called it a sculpture then maybe they'd stop thinking of the price of the sheet cakes at Costco when they talk about what they're ordering.
So next time you make a 3-D cake, try to actually make it out of cake. It seems to be a dying skill.