Alright - here it is. The last cake before "the big one"
With this cake I remembered to take some photos as I went, so I'll be sharing some of the "pro tips" I got from my friend Megan, as well as a couple things I've learned along the way!
This cake I made just for fun to bring to work as more practice. After my last cake I learned how important it is to make sure that you have a really good base. When thinking about fondant think of it like a coat of paint on your walls, not as something that will hide the imperfections (it won't, and then your lumpy cake will haunt you!)
Next I rolled my fondant out.
1) She had this sweet Wilton non-stick mat that she rolls her fondant out on. They stopped making them for a bit, but apparently started again. I used my scrapbooking "splat mat" which is pretty much the same thing - teflon sheet that's non-stick, and heat resistant, etc. This way you don't have to piddle around with icing sugar/cornstarch on your countertop! AND instead of trying to roll your fondant around a rolling pin or pick it up, you can flip the whole mat onto your cake!
2) When rolling out your fondant it doesn't need to be quite as big as you think. The directions I first found said height x2 + top diameter +2". I always had a gratuitous amount of fondant and it was hard to work with. But remember that you will be gently stretching your fondant down and it will also stretch a bit under it's own weight. So height x2 + top diameter is probably sufficient. This method has worked much better for me since then!
I got this little turn table (Wilton, from Michael's - with 40% off coupon of course!) after using one at Megan's. It made it so much easier to work with the fondant.
This is what I meant about flipping your whole mat onto your cake!
When you take off the mat you get a bit of a cake ghost!
Start at the top, working your way around (that's where the turntable comes into play) and smooth your fondant to your cake, a little bit at a time. Basically it should look like your cake has a tutu as you work towards the bottom.
Now for a bit of how I got the lace imprint. I tried a couple different things. First I was going to do the whole cake lacy. But I found as I smoothed and stretched my fondant to my cake, the pattern got stretched out and lost.
So I just did a section on the top.
After rolling my fondant, I placed a doily on top and using my rolling pin rolled that into my fondant, praying that it didn't all stick to the doily and ruining everything. It didn't. It looked quite good actually.
I took just the best middle part and used it on top of the cake.
I decided it was a bit too plain, so I added a border to the bottom of the cake too. This time just the scalloped edge of the doily.
All in all it was really fun to play with!