I always seem to end up with bulges. It's like the BC underneath goes really squishy and so every time I have to touch the cake, I leave dents that I can never smooth out again. Here is my process:
1. Bake from scratch, 2" pans, torted, so 4 layers of cake, 3 of BC.
2. Crumb coat. Fridge a couple of hours, or overnight.
3. Top coat of crusting BC, into fridge to firm up a bit.
4. Fondant, rolled to about 1/8", maybe a little more. I use Dawn Decorice brand (Canadian, I think, as I've never seen it mentioned here. I like it but it's quite soft)
By the time I've finished smoothing the fondant, it always seems to be thicker around the base of the cake, and I've either pushed the cake off level (Leaning Tower of Pisa), or I have creases, or I have lumps and bumps which I cannot smooth out because they just seem to move around under the fondant.
I would really love to know what I'm doing wrong. I'm sick of making extra flowers or decor bits to cover flaws, and desperately want to make beautiful, clean, elegant cakes. I've read books and watched videos and cannot see where I'm going so wrong.
Maybe I will try the ganache trick (just been reading that long thread...)
I'm no expert by far....but here is what I do.
perpare your cake as you've said....roll out fondant, lay over cake, etc, ect.
Now that you have it draped over the top...I use one hand to lightly hold one side in place and lift and tug (gently!) with the other hand. I run my palm over the top to make sure its flat. Now on to the sides.
Again, holding one side of the top down, I run my hand from the top all the way down the side to get a start point.
If you have a smaller cake pan (but not much) place your cake on top of it...allowing the fondant to drape past the bottom of the cake. This will make it much easier for you to get it smooth.
Then just slowly work your way around the cake. Smoothing a side, redo the top, smooth more side, redo top. You will have to adjust your fondant quite a few times.
If I didnt help, just tell me to shut up...It ok! LOL
A thinner coat of BC might help too...I just do a thick crumb coat.
I also put the cake on something smaller so that the fondant will hang past the cake board. It's a lot easier to get it smooth that way.
Ganache all the way. Once you go ganache, you will never go back.
I used to stand the cake up a bit higher, but found that the weight of the fondant dragged little holes into the top edge - not right through to the BC, but almost little open bubbles. Maybe I roll too large a piece of fondant - I hate finding it doesn't quite reach the bottom of the cake, so maybe I overcompensate..? Ok, will try that next time.
I will definitely try a thinner BC coat - I did wonder if this was part of the problem - I can feel it squishing around under the fondant, and I know that can't be right. There's a fine line between enough BC that the cake lumps don't show through, and so thick it causes problems. When you do this, can you see cake? Also, how do you stop a smaller cake (like, 6") wanting to do the leaning Tower thing without putting a hand there and making a mark. Am I too rough with my cakes?
I will also give the ganache a try.
You can measure the piece of fondant that you roll...for a round cake that's a normal height add 10" to the diameter of the pan, for example a 10" cake you need 20" circle...that's 4 up one side, 10 across, 4 down the other side, and 2 for the oops factor. What I do if my fondant is too big and seems to be dragging the cake down is that I cut the excess off with kitchen shears before I start smoothing. Obviously I have to trim again but that way it's not going to rip.
Also, I do my crumb coat thick enough that you can't see cake and I do it with regular consistency frosting, not thinned down at all. Push it into the cake with the spatula, like buttering bread. Lately I've been chilling my cakes and it's amazing how much easier it is to fondant a cold hard cake than a warm wiggly one.