So I just finished my first (second sort of) fondant cake and while there are a few blemishes I am not proud of (I hid them in the back!) overall it wasn't so bad. However I did have some questions:
1. I think I used too much buttercream underneath but was afraid that if I didn't put enough people who don't eat fondant would just have cake and filling, so how much should I use? (It kept coming out under the fondant when I would smooth the fondant out.)
2. I have impression mats that I have used on buttercream but I couldn't get them to work on the fondant, any suggestions? I was using a brick pattern by Duff and I pushed hard (at least I thought I did) and all I managed to get was dots. When I used it on a strip to test it out I also had to push really hard but how hard is too hard?!
3. How quickly should the fondant be drying out once it is on the cake?
Thank you VERY much for your help! I bought 20 lbs of white fondant for this cake and then the idea changed so now I am going to practice, practice, practice!!
I can't answer all of your questions, but for the first question, I know quite a few of us like to put plenty of buttercream under the fondant. There are a couple of tricks I think, to doing it without the buttercream squishing out. If you use a crusting buttercream, that will set up and should not squish, or if you prefer not to do that, then chill your buttercream coated cake well so that it is set before you put on the fondant. If it still is squishing even when chilled, then you probably need to make your buttercream a thicker consistency so that it will hold up. I have had some trial and error in this area for sure. I have also heard a lot around here about using ganache instead of buttercream under the cake- a lot of the decorators on CC swear by it. I have not had opportunity to try it yet, but I am planning on it some time.
As for the other questions, I am afraid I can't help you- not experienced enough there myself yet, but hopefully you will get some answers. HTH!
1. I make a thick crumb coat under the fondant. Not as much as I would use if the cake were only buttercream with no fondant, but not as thin as a crumb coat, either. I'd classify it was a thick crumb coat.
2. Impression mat: What size is it? Is that one of those little ones that you impress after the cake has been covered, or a bigger one?
3. Drying times: Depends on what type of fondant and where you live. I live in very dry Colorado and there is so little humidity in the air that it dries rather quickly. I make my own fondant.