Surrounding each cake layer was a generous coating of milk chocolate ganache (I used Trader Joe's Pound Plus bars, which are just $5 for 17.6 oz. and taste seriously amazing). I recommend a milk chocolate-to-heavy cream ratio of 2.8 or 2.9 to 1 so that the ganache will set up firmly and provide a sturdy, smooth (and decadent) base for your fondant covering. And I calculated the total amount of ganache needed using this awesome tool called The Ganacherator. Now if you've read anything about fondant, you'll have heard that a cake covered in fondant will only look as good (read: smooth and straight) as the buttercream or ganache underneath. This is absolutely true, and ganache is much easier to learn with as it will set really firm at room temperature (unlike buttercream). Making celebration cakes is really an art-form and I've got a long long ways to go (as evidenced by the elephant skin, not-quite-straight sides, and drooping of the corners in the above cake). But for anyone interested in going down the rabbit hole, I've shared some of my favorite video tutorials below of ganaching, covering, and smoothing the fondant to get a clean professional look to your fondant cakes. I hope this helps the other beginners out there, and I'd love to get feedback on improving my fondant work from any cake experts out there! Cheers!
Making Ganache for Decorating Cakes by Inspired by Michelle
Covering a Cake in Ganache with Smooth and Straight Sides by Inspired by Michelle
Rolling out Fondant, Covering, and Smoothing a Ganached Cake by Planet Cake
Smoothing Cake Covered in Fondant to Get Sharp Edges by Inspired by Michelle