Arsenia - from Hemingway, SC
No, it's not necessary to spatula ice the cake before decorating. Follow the step-by-step instructions provided with the pan. Most will tell you to first spatula ice the sides and other flat background surfaces only, at first. The next step often is to outline key areas. Since most shaped cakes are decorated with stars, it's easy to cover the complete cake surface with stars and no cake showing through!