Welcome back to Foodie Tuesday! Did you enjoy your holiday weekend? I know I did. 
I'm excited about today's food tip; I've been meaning to share it with you for a long time now!
We've all seen (and coveted) gorgeous cakes like these before:
But did you know they are much easier to make than you would've ever thought??
It's true…
All you need is a little fondant!
I took a continuing education basic cake decorating course here in Salt Lake recently and learned a few tips I thought I'd share. Soon you'll be a cake-decorating pro yourself!
Making your own fondant is much cheaper than buying pre-made fondant at the store. And trust me, it tastes way better too.

First off, here's the easy (and surprisingly yummy) recipe:

Marshmallow Fondant
16oz package mini marshmallows (use a good brand)
2-5 T water
2lb (8 cups) sifted confectioner's sugar
Solid vegetable shortening
Put mini marshmallows in a microwave safe bowl with 2T water. Microwave on high for 30 seconds. Stir. Microwave on high for another 30 seconds, stir, and repeat until marshmallows are melted and smooth (about 1.5-2.5 minutes).
Mix 6 cups of the sugar into the melted marshmallows and carefully fold; mixture will be lumpy. Flavoring and/or food coloring can be added at this point if you'd like. 
Keep vegetable shortening on hand. Grease hands and workspace GENEROUSLY with shortening. Dump marshmallow mixture onto workspace. Start kneading like you would bread dough. Re-grease hands and add more sugar if mixture starts to stick. If mixture starts tearing, add a little bit of water. If it's too sticky, add more sugar. Knead until it forms a smooth, elastic ball that can stretch without tearing – about 8-10 minutes.
It's best to let fondant sit out over night. Roll fondant into a ball, coat it with a thin layer of shortening, wrap in plastic wrap, then place in a plastic bag and remove as much air as possible. When ready to use fondant, knead it again until it once again turns smooth and elastic. You might need to add more water or sugar, but knead for a while first because the warmth of your hands should make it just fine. Roll to 1/8in thick when ready to use. When not using, keep fondant wrapped so it doesn't dry out.
Fondant will keep in your fridge for several weeks.
Pretty easy, eh?
Click HERE to watch the “how to” video it on Youtube, or watch it below:

Once you have your fondant here are some fun things you can do with it:
  • To add color:
Break off the amount you want colored, 
Add food coloring (drops or paste work great). Start with a little, you can add more as you go.
Knead and “squish” the color into the fondant. Yes, your hands are going to get stained.
Keep kneading until the color is evenly distributed and not marbled-looking like this:
Yes, your hands will get tired.
And voila, there you have it!
Roll it out to 1/8in thick and have some fun with it!
  • To make curly-cues (like this one):

Take some plain ol' drinking straws, 
And cut your rolled out fondant into little strips. Wrap the strips around the straws like so:

 Let them stay out in the open for at least 24 hours to dry. They won't get crusty and nasty, I promise. BUT…you do need them to be pretty dry and firm or else they will lose shape once they are on your cake.

  • To make a big ribbon to go on top (like this one):

 Roll out your fondant, and cut it into small sections

Take each section and fold it in half on itself, pinching it slightly at one end to form a loop.

Open up each loop as much as you'd like. Place them out in the open to dry for at least 24 hours.

Once your loops are dry, place them on top of each other to see how you would like the ribbon to be arranged.
Use thick icing to stick them together on top of your cake once you know how you'd like it to look. Easy!
  • To make a bow (like this one):

Cut a strip of fondant, 

And fold it in half to make a loop like you did the ribbon.

Put a rolled up paper towel (NOT toilet paper, it tends to come apart) in the loop to keep it big and open.

Pinch one end of the loop together to make it look like the folds of a bow.

Repeat with the other side.

Cut a tiny strip of extra fondant,

And place in the middle of the bow.

**Trick – you can wet your fingers slightly to get the pieces to stick together better. GO LIGHT on the water, though!
Leave your bow to dry for at least 24 hours.
  • To make a ribbon for your bow:

Cut a small strip of extra fondant,

And cut two triangles on one end to look like the end of the ribbon.

Stretch it out slightly to be the shape you want.

Let it dry over the edge of a plate or dish to get a “flowy” effect!

  • To cover your cake with fondant:
Put your cake on the cake stand or plate that you would like to serve it on FIRST. Next, roll out your fondant to 1/8in thick, and roll it to be quite a bit bigger than you think you need! 
Cover your cake generously in frosting (whatever kind is your favorite). Pick up your rolled out fondant and place carefully, centered on your cake. Once it touches your cake you can't move it, so make sure to aim well the first time! 
It's easier at first with two people, so grab a buddy if you can.
Once it's on your cake carefully smooth it out so there are no wrinkles, bumps, or cracks. 
**Trick: Rub your hands together first to create friction. The warmth of your hands will smooth it out and make it look nice.

For a square cake, do the same thing but make sure to smooth it out in the corners:

 Carefully cut off any excess, and there you go!

Use the blunt end of the knife to smooth out the bottom edge and tuck it slightly under your cake.
Have fun with decorations, colors, textures, and just be creative! Here is what some of the other cakes from my class looked like:
Remember, we are all beginners and had never worked with fondant before!

Use wire to make cute spring-y decorations.

Use the curly cues you made with straws and have them stand on end on your cake for a fun effect.
 Roll fondant into little balls for a fun border.

Use cookie cutters or shape cutters to make flowers, stars, or anything else you'd like!

Wrap strips of fondant around your cake for lots of color.

Roll fondant to make flowers.

Mix icing and fondant to make cute polka dots.
Decorations like stripes, polka dots, and things that lay flat on your cake do NOT have to be dried for 24 hours. You can simply put them on your cake the day-of. In fact, that's recommended because it sticks much better.
Isn't that cute, easy, cheap, and fun???
Told ya.
Enjoy, and happy savings to you!