Kind of thrown myself into the deep end and offered to make my friends wedding cake for her in a few months. Seemed a good idea at the time, now I'm actually quite scared. I'm self taught at cake baking and only ever get my information from the web. Is it correct to say that I cover the cake in regular sugarpaste/fondant? The only reason I ask is because whenever I use this for my novelty cakes, I always get cracking no matter how much of the stuff I use, and obviously you can get away with it for novelty cakes but not for wedding cakes as they need to be immaculate.
Any help or tips would be GREATLY appreciated
Maybe you are not kneading it enough before you place it on the cake. If you pinch a small section and it cracks keep kneading until it is smooth or you may not be putting it on fast enough and it's drying!
I agree with Divine .You need to work pretty quick as once it starts to dry it will crack. Using too much icing sugar wil do it too. I am self taught too and my sons wedding cake was my first I was as nervous as you. I kept it simple staying within my skill level and it turned out ok. I got lots of compliments. I would suggest Keep practising on small cakes and even buying some quality sugarpaste(Says me who only uses Asda's(Walmart).
Ask to see what the proffesionals recommend.
Don't panic I am sure you will do fine.
I feel that homemade marshmallow fondant never has that perfect smoothness that store bought ones have like wilton or satin ice.
So, maybe try using those for the wedding cakes. I still recommend doing a practice cake before the actual day just to see which fondant is working well for you.
I make my own with the recipe i found here and it never cracks or looks dry! i wouldn't cover a cake with gumpaste only fondant.
I'm guessing from your pictures that you're in UK, although I may be wrong there.
If you are In UK, then I would say you need to try some of the professional fondant, the difference between that and the Tesco or Asda or Dr Oetker is like night and day.
I'm in much the same boat as you, self taught, all through web, like CC and youtube etc, and was having the same problem with fondant drying out and cracking, and it doesn't look good.
A couple of tips that I've picked up are, to use Trex white vegetable fat for rolling out fondant instead of icing sugar, it makes an unbelievable difference, and you only need a wee bit of it. A sillicone non stick rolling pin also seemed to make a difference to me, not as drying as wooden ones.
And best of all, I have discovered a different brand of fondant which is used by professional decorators, called "covapaste" which is a much softer fondant and gives you just a wee bit longer to work with it, which has made a huge difference to my cakes. I dont need to use anything when rolling it out actually, it doesn't stick like the supermarket brands do.
It's not that much more expensive than the supermarket ones, but I think the little extra is sooo worth it, especially when it's for something like a wedding cake.
I get mine online from cake-stuff.com they also have an ebay shop too. Although there are other sites that sell it. HTH