Yesterday, I took a beginning fondant course at the Cake Art Party Store.
To start off, we learned the basics of covering a fondant 'cake,' but for learning purposes, we used an 8" styrofoam dummy tier.
We coated the dummies with a thin layer of buttercream, then carefully applied the rolled fondant. In class, we used Pettinice fondant, which was quite a bit softer than the Satin Ice I had worked with previously. I don't think it tastes as good, but at least it was easy to knead.
We rolled out the fondant on large pieces of upholstery plastic with a little shortening to prevent sticking. This way, we didn't have to roll the fondant back on to our rolling pins; we could simply apply the fondant directly from the upholstery plastic and gently peel it away.
After we got our cakes covered, we worked with some stiffened fondant to create the roses and leaves on the top of the cake.
To stiffen our fondant, we kneaded in a little bit of Tylose powder. This makes the fondant a little more like gumpaste; in fact, stiffened fondant can also be created by mixing one part fondant to one part gumpaste.
After the roses, our instructor demonstrated different molds. The course included a few plastic molds, but she also had some silicon molds to demo. Also with stiffened fondant, you can simply press the fondant into a mold dusted with either cornstarch or luster dust, and then gently remove the fondant. We applied the molded pieces to the cake by simply brushing the application surface with a little water to make the fondant sticky. This is how I made the fleur-de-lis on the sides of the cake, as well as the filigree molds on the top.
I finished my cake with pearls that I rolled out of fondant and rolled in luster dust. There is a piped string border with royal icing, but everything else on the cake is just fondant.
Too bad this cake can't be eaten...