There are many ways to learn new skills in today's technological age. Because I have a good amount of cake knowledge but don't have the opportunity to go to pastry school, I've been exploring my learning opportunities. Have you ever heard of Craftsy? Craftsy takes online classes to the next level, offering creative classes in everything from cooking to woodworking. For a little over a year, I told myself I'd buy a cake decorating class. I couldn't bring myself to spend the $29.99 for the class I wanted: Clean & Simple Cake Design. Since leaving the corporate world, I've realized that you need to invest in yourself. Spending $30 to learn new skills isn't that much if it's something you want to learn.
If you sign up for Craftsy emails, you probably won't pay full-price for a class anyway. They frequently have flash sales and coupon codes.
A few weeks ago, I did it; I bought my first cake decorating class. Baking for a wedding, I didn't have time to bake cakes and learn how to cover them in fondant. That's the great thing about Craftsy--my class never expires. I can watch it when I want, as many times as I want. As I prepared to bake for a baby shower, I learned how to crumb coat cakes in buttercream and ganache, then cover them with homemade marshmallow fondant. I covered a cake in fondant once before, but I needed to know some tips and tricks.
My second batch of cake cooled on the cooling racks (I broke my first cake when I flipped it out of the pan). I watched the lessons on crumb coating and fondant covering. Jessica Harris walked me through the steps and demonstrated how to cover a cake successfully.
What if I covered my cake and it looked like a cake made by a five-year-old playing with play-dough? I whipped up a batch of lemon raspberry cupcakes just in case.
Although my fondant covered, gluten-free, vegan coconut cake didn't look perfect, I deemed it pretty enough to bring to a baby shower.
Lessons learned when covering a 6-inch round cake in fondant
Make your fondant at least a day before baking. This allows your fondant to rest and not stick to your rolling pin.
Patience is key. Your cakes should be chilled before you try to do anything with them.
Level your cake. This step is more important than you'd think. If your cake is level, you'll have a nice, flat top. I forgot this step, so the top of my cake was slightly lopsided (I think I'm the only one that noticed).
Trim the sides of your cake so they're all even. When you're baking, some cakes end up wider than others. This is natural and easy to fix by going around your cake with a knife.
You want the fondant to be thin, but not quite see through. Looking back at the fondant covering lesson on Clean & Simple Cake Design, I realized my fondant was too thick. It wasn't bad, but it could've been better. Also, make sure it's larger than the cake so you can drape it.
Spray your cake with a little cornstarch-water. This will help the fondant stick. Of course I forgot this step. The fondant stayed, but again, it could've been better.
After you get the fondant on, smooth it all out like crazy and cut off the excess.
If you've never covered a cake in fondant, watch some videos beforehand. My tips will make more sense then.
The most important tip I can give you is be proud; be proud of the work you do even if your fondant rips or the cake looks hideous. You did it.