Yes...we always want to learn more....that's a good thing. Keeps us on our toes to what's current and from boredom ....always challenging... Happy wedding cake season! Best, Kathy
I routinely roll fondant out super thin with just my rolling pins. First, roll it out as thin as you dare with a large pin, then cut your shapes and roll them even thinner with a small, 1"- 1 1/2" pin. I roll it as thin as (construction) paper and thinner.
I don't like the messy look on the upside-down method ruffles, personally. I've done a bunch of ruffle cakes and I use a chocolate clay/fondant mixture that stays stiff enough to ruffle nicely and stand up off the cake. You can do it right side up and it looks neater. The first time I took one it took three hours to put the ruffles on a three tiered cake, but the more you do the faster you get. If you estimate an hour per tier, then add one for good measure, you can figure out how much more you need to charge.
I just did a similar cake. I am in the mid-west and I charged $6.00 per serving, but we are lower than alot of other areas of the country. You do not tip the cake upside down to decorate, you simply start at the top and work your way down to the bottome of each tier.
that is a really lovely execution of the ruffles there in the OP.
One thing to remember when comparing prices to a Maggie Austin cake is that she has some serious cake going on under the fondant as well. (i always keep an eye out for mentions of her cake flavors because they are so interesting). She has said in interviews that one of her most popular flavors is vanilla and sour cream cake with peach-apricot preserves and milk chocolate Earl Grey buttercream. Part of her price (starting at $10 serving, surely for a basic cake with the ruffle work being higher) also reflects the premium cake and filling choices.
I just tried this last weekend. I googled and YouTubed everything I could think of on the techniques, then just started rolling and fluffing (Not upside down) I too was worried about cutting- I used 50/50 fondant and gumpaste. I tried both ruffles and waves! Would space both types a bit closer together next time, and leave my waves standing upright more rather than have them stick out so much. I had no trouble at all cutting with a sharp knife.
Different strokes for different folks....
... I prefer the ruffles this way. To me, to have them the other way looks a bit too 'frou-frou'.. too busy like a tutu skirt.
Yours is a gorgeous version of this cake - the ruffles are beautifully thin and delicate!