There are a couple of things I've said I'd never attempt to show using still photos: piping drop strings and covering a cake in fondant. I figured one of these days I'd recruit my husband to play videographer and have him record me doing these techniques that rely on motion more than most. Well, today I was covering a cake with chocolate fondant, and I figured I'd snap a few shots and try to convey the steps involved. Perhaps a video will be forthcoming, but in the meantime, here's what I do.
The VERY first step is to bake a cake, level it, tort it, ice it, and chill it. The fondant goes on best when the icing underneath ("undercoating") isn't squishy. Also, don't ice the cake all the way to the base; leave a margin of a little less than half an inch. You'll avoid icing squishing out at the base when you get to the step of cutting away the slack. So, here's the setup I use: a sifter loaded with powdered sugar (the fondant may need it if it's very sticky), a teaspoon or so of Crisco (if the fondant is dry and crumbly, you can knead some in), a fondant smoother, a small pizza wheel or a sharp knife, a rolling pin (I prefer the Wilton Wide Glide Rolling Pin), a ruler, and a mat (I like the Wilton Roll-N-Cut Mat; it's essential for rolling out the right size for the cake).rolling pin guide rings available that take all the guesswork out of rolling out the correct thickness of fondant. I almost always use the medium-thickness orange ones.
Sprinkle your mat with some powdered sugar. Be prepared to use more after each flip of the fondant.
…before running the pizza cutter or knife around to cut away the slack. Wrap the excess fondant tightly in plastic wrap twice, then store it in a plastic container away from heat and light. At this point, don't put this cake in the fridge or cover it; stash it in a cupboard away from temperature extremes. All there is to do now is decorate and eat it!