My 7 year old son requested a Homemade Super Mario Wii Cake with the characters and scenes from his favorite levels. He definitely had to have lava, the bone dragon rollercoaster, squids and a pipe. So first I set out to find pictures of cakes (most I found on this site to inspire me and I also used screen shots from the game). I also found a "lot" of characters on Ebay and that has been worth every penny. I ordered the figurines 3 weeks ahead of time just because I like to be sure things arrive. They only took 1 week. They looked awesome and he has been playing with them non-stop since his party. The ones my son liked the most were the fondant covered variety. I had been told that fondant is extremely hard to work with, but I was prepared to give it a go to see him smile on his 7th birthday.
I printed out the pictures we liked and taped them to a poster board for ideas while creating the cake. 2nd I found the simplest recipe I could for fondant and I used it. I colored the fondants and added different flavorings in the mixer and wrapped them in saran wrap. (They dry out very fast if they are not covered). Do not refrigerate the fondant because it will get VERY hard and be useless. When I rolled out the fondant I used cornstarch to keep it from sticking to the table. Also, when covering the cake initially, I first covered it with a thin layer of store bought frosting.
I rolled the fondant out on saran so that I could pick it up and flip it without tearing it. If it does tear, do not use water, that will dissolve the sugar. Use cornstarch and patch with more fondant, using the heat of your fingers to smooth the cracks. Mine didn't turn out perfect but I was able to hide bad spots with decoration. I figured out how much fun fondant is when I started covering the sheet the cake was on in order to make it look like lava. It is just like working with Play-Doh or clay. The raised lava was store bought red decorator frosting and a star tip.
I made the cakes out of round spring form pans and store bought cake mixes. I thought I would need 3 mixes for the cake but ended up using only 2 cakes and cut the 3rd cake up into blocks that I used for the platforms the characters stood on. I wrapped the blocks of cake in fondant and decorated them with fondant. Everything I put fondant on I first dabbed with frosting to create glue. My trick to cutting the cake was to let it cool completely and then use and electric knife- I had no crumbling at all. I created the fondant clouds by using a tiny juice glass as a cookie cutter and layered the circles to make the effect of Mario clouds. All other creatures made of fondant were simply cut out of fondant.
The coolest part of the cake for me was making the pipe Mario stands on. It is non-other than a toilet paper tube, covered with 2 contrasting colors of green. I stuffed some tissue wrap inside so Mario could stand on top.
This was my first experience making a fondant cake and a cake in a shape other than traditional. It took me about four hours. The kids LOVED helping and eating fondant. I recommend having pictures for reference, lots of cornstarch and cover areas as you work so that they don't dry out. I left the cake out overnight and the fondant did not crack, it looked great at the party the next day. I wouldn't prepare any more than 24 hours ahead of time so it doesn't dry out. I think it was a fun and relatively easy project.