This week, I'm going to be blogging about cake, and since fondant is usually my first step when making a cake, I'm gonna start the week with it. I'm not good at piping icing, but I am good at sculpting. So, when it comes to decorating cakes, I use fondant. I sculpt it into flowers, shapes, animals, etc., but I don't cover my cakes with it. I'm a big fan of my icing (it'll be another blog topic), so I like cakes smothered in swiss meringue buttercream, with beautiful sugar flowers on top.
I was going to do a step by step guide, showing how I make the flowers . . . but there are a lot of books and kits to tell you how to do it, and a lot of them come with the fondant equipment anyway. So I'm going to just do an overview. I buy my fondant from Wilton. You can make it, I know someone who does (looking at you, Duckie!), but I like the ease of purchasing it, knowing I have a quality product. It's like sugar play-dough, so if you have fond memories of sculpting in your childhood, I recommend fondant. You do need some special equipment, and Wilton makes some great ones. (If you want roses, go get the Wilton Rose Step-Saver Kit, it's amazing!)
Now, you don't have to be an awesome sculptor to use fondant either. It helps, but it's not necessary. Beautiful fondant designs and decorations can be made just cutting out shapes in rolled out fondant, and attaching them to the cake. You can make a really pretty cake just cutting out circles in different colors and putting them all over the cake.
A few caveats: it does dry out quickly while you're working on it, so be sure to keep the fondant you aren't currently working on wrapped up, you sometimes need to give delicate pieces (like flowers) a good 24 hours to dry into the proper shape, and you need to use gel food coloring to color it. I'm a big fan of gel coloring in general, because it gives you more vibrant color, with less "color taste", so I don't see this as a drawback, but I know some people are addicted to squeezing drops out of tear shaped bottles.
I will be posting pictures of my finished fondant, but I'm going to wait to reveal them with the whole cake. Because it's cake, and it deserves a big reveal. ;)