I eventually learned that refrigerating the layers before icing them helps with that process.
Recently, the mother of one of my wonderful little students told me that she likes to decorate cakes as a hobby. She is a full-time professor at a school of pharmacy (and a former pharmacist herself), a wife, and a mother of 2 young children, and she says she want to be "well-rounded." So, she took a cake-decorating course, and look what she can do for her children's birthday parties!
This party was a Mario Brothers theme. I was astounded at how fun and clever this cake is. It's so inspiring to meet people who are striving to be "well-rounded" and creative, even outside of their busy, demanding and professional careers and home life, don't you think? Seeing that she branched out and did this makes me think there is hope yet for my cake decorating skills!
There are a lot of how-to cake decorating books available. I'm thinking about it...