I made my cakes out of standard yellow cake mix (read: boxed mix) since I was more interested in the fondant practice than the end result. Turns out the cake tasted great anyway. Good job, Betty Crocker.
The recipe was very easy; marshmallows, lots of powdered sugar, water, and vanilla. Melt marshmallows with water and vanilla, add powdered sugar, and mix like a mo-fo. It goes from goop to super sticky dough quickly, but it was easier to mix with my hands than with a spoon.
This is my log of fondant cooling down. As a side note, when you put the fondant in plastic wrap to cool/rest, for the love of all that is holy - grease the plastic wrap with Crisco. Ask me how I know this. Its a good rule of thumb to just grease everything this stuff will come in contact with. Bowls, hands, counter top, etc.
The recipe I used said to let the fondant cool for an hour, but several people have suggested over night is best. I didn't realize it at first, but this is something that you can easily make ahead and store in an airtight bag/container. It stays fresh for weeks!
Once I peeled the sticky mess off the plastic wrap, the real mess began. I used the glass stove top since it was a big open space that would be easy to clean. This was the end result of the rolling and cake covering. Do you think if I left this, J would clean it up? No, the answer is no he wouldn't. A girl can dream.
I used cornstarch to prevent sticking, but have since heard recommendations for using Crisco or powdered sugar instead. Sounds just as messy, but if it works better I don't care. The fondant would stick unless I used literally handfuls of cornstarch.What. a. mess. The whole covering the cake part wasn't too bad aside from the occasional lump. In the future, I need to use buttercream frosting instead of regular whipped frosting (its a bit sturdier) and make sure its a bit smoother before putting on the fondant.
Behold, the ugly cake. I got to practice making, rolling, coloring, and cutting fondant. I'm happy. I asked J what he thought of my ugly cake and he said, "Its nice! I mean, you couldn't like sell it or anything, but its good!" Thanks, honey.