I tried to do my first carved cake this morning, and I messed it up royally. It doesn't look anything like Darth Vader. Part of that is because I used 8 inch cakes and should have used bigger ones, then I started carving and got worried about how much I cut off. I don't think I created big enough facial features either. What makes it worse is that I made chocolate mmf and tinted it black. When I started rolling it out it was sticking all over the place even after dusting with cocoa powder and sugar, and it cracked and tore every time I moved it. I tried to add a spritz it with water and then it worked better until I placed it on the cake. It ripped and when I was trying to get it off it took most of the icing off of the cake. After reicing and chilling to set the icing I tried again and same results only this time I was having to put Darths face back on. I ended up running to the store and used Wilton fondant but it still looks just aweful. Any ideas of what I did wrong? Or tips, this cake is supposed to be for my cousin's grooms cake in March so I have plenty of time to try again. It is the first cake that anyone has aske me to make for them and I want to knock it out of the park.
When I'm having this kind of trouble with fondant (which is always where I live), I try to work a little shortening into it - about 2 teaspoons per pound. It helps the drying and also it doesn't tear as much. Since you have time to experiment (although I know you don't want to keep making the same cake over and over), you might try that. I find chocolate fondant to be stickier than regular, and then you have to add kind of a lot of food coloring to get a true black, which makes it even stickier. The shortening helps, and maybe a little more powdered sugar to get it back to the consistency it was before you added the coloring. If you can get just the right balance between the shortening and the extra PS you can generally make your fondant do what you want it to do and not what it wants to - LOL!
When I have problems with colored MMF (which is quite frequently when it's darker in color), if working in a bit of shortening doesn't work, I add cornstarch! Also, for black fondant, I know you said you made chocolate MMF, try making dark chocolate MMF (I use hershey special dark cocoa), it gives you a darker brown to start with, so you won't have to add as much color. Also, what brand of color do you use? I've found the americolor super black works best, you don't need to add as much gel so it doesn't change the consistency of your fondant as much.