I was watching some show on Food network the other day and the chef was making a cake with icing similar in consistency to the one I use on my chocolate layer cake. (The icing that creates a MESS because it's liquidy at first and it runs down the side and puddles at the bottom and gets chocolate all over the serving tray.)
However, the chef on the TV was NOT making a royal mess like I do. How did he avoid this? Why - he put the cake on top of a cooling rack to frost it! What a novel idea. All the extra icing falls down through the holes of the cooling rack and then you just move the cake to a pretty clean serving tray when you're done. Ingenious, I tell you! (And if you've been doing this for years feel free to gloat in your comments. I'm a little slow sometimes.)
Now to figure out how to get my cakes to not be lopsided. . . though asymetrical cakes ARE in style these days. . .