If you get just white fondant from a supermarket you mix the colour in by kneading through drops of colouring - its hard work though and takes a while for the colour to be even and not look marbled. What sort of shape are you making the cake? If it's a large surface I'd recommend having someone to help you lift the rolled out fondant over the cake as if it is sort of hanging it stretches at that point and doesn't look as nice or can tear. Also don't roll it too thin. I always spread my children's cakes with jam before putting it on. My DS2's 4th birthday a couple of weeks ago I bought fondant from a new cake decorating shop and you could get it with the colour already mixed in - so much easier! I always decorate the day before the party, late afternoon as it always ends up taking much longer than I expect by the time you bake the cake, then carve it to your shape and then all the finishing touches of decorating.
Good luck!! oh and be careful what you start lol - it's become a tradition now in my family and my boys spend the weeks before coming up with a request for their birthday cake, we've had elmo, a teddy bear, Thomas, dinosaurs, a spaceship (UFO), rocket and curled up python...DS1 is in the process of figuring out what he wants in a couple of weeks and then I figure out the design.
I helped a friend with marshmallow fondant once - easier as you spread it on and then it kind of sets, and it has a nice shine to it so makes it look glossy - not sure of how firm it ends up as the party was for her brother the next day so I didn't get to eat it!
If you can get a hold of the Planet Cake book, it's fantastic for step by step instructions as to how to get a great finish with fondant (i.e. cake is first coated in chocolate ganache to built it to a perfect surface).....your surface underneath needs to be impeccable otherwise the fondant will just look lumpy and bumpy. It's a big job for a 'first timer' but done well the end result is great!!
PS if you're not sold on the fondant, the best feedback I ever had on a cake was by hiring a Wiltons shaped tin from a cake ship, and then using butter icing to pipe it all....so much easier and very very effective!
Spotlight here in SA sell all the stuff and their fondant is good to, so should be the same where u are
Store brought fondant will be fine for a first time. But Wilton or americolors to colour. You can buy both from spotlight. Spotlight will have everything you need to make a cake but it's extremely expensive to buy all the tools but for a once off you could get away with using house hold items I guess. Watch videos on how to use fondant.
Sorry no help here just bumping as I'm making my little boys 2nd birthday cake soon :-/ my first time and needing advice also. :-)
Depending on what shape cake you want to make, you can hire cake tins from some cake shops. Not just in fancy shapes they also do round, heart and square tins etc in various sizes. I made a care bear cake for DD1 and I hired a teddy bear tin for $6 and then just piped buttercream in stars all over it to give a fluffy effect and then used fondant to make the decos of eyes, nose tummy design etc. Wilton gel colours give the best intensity of colour.
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