Fondant is a flexible, moldable icing made from sugar and gelatin. If you want to use strong colors for your cake, buy the fondant ready-made. It is difficult to get the color intensity with homemade icing. If you have never worked with fondant, the good news is that the process can be easier than you think. Warming the fondant up a little beforehand will make it more flexible and easier to handle. Coating your hands with powdered sugar will prevent it sticking. To cover a cake board with a dramatic checkered design, either paint the design, using edible food paint, or create the design from pieces of different colored fondants.
Melt a little apricot jam in the microwave then brush evenly over the cake board. This will help the icing stick. Sprinkle the work surface with a little powdered sugar, then dab your fingers into it.
Roll out the white icing until it fits over the cakeboard. Roll it onto the rolling pin, transfer to the cakeboard, then unroll. Smooth the icing out with your fingers. While the icing is still soft, use a ruler and the back of a knife to mark equally spaced horizontal lines. Don't press too hard or the icing will ruck up. Mark vertical lines to form a checkered pattern. Allow the board to dry for a few hours, then carefully paint each square with edible food paint, working up to the edge of the imprinted lines.
Take equal amounts of white and colored fondant and roll out the first color. Use a ruler and knife to cut straight strips, then cut the strips into squares. Repeat the process with the other color. Lift alternate squares of each color with a palette knife, then press into position on the board. You can brush the whole thing with an edible glaze thath will help to keep all the pieces level.
Use equal amounts of white and colored icing. Roll out the first color and cut it into strips. Lift the first strip and position the end on the edge of the , lining up the strip so it lies along the edge of the board. Trim the end off square, then gently fold the strip back on itself. Lay the next strip next to the first one, leaving a gap the width of one strip. Bend it back in the same way. Continue until you reach the other edge of the board. Roll out the second color and cut into strips. Lay the first one at right angles to the strips already on the board. Weave it carefully over and under the other colors. Take the second strip and treat it in the same way. Continue until the board is completely full, then gently press down on the icing with your hands to flatten it out a little.
Work as quickly as possible, as fondant dries out when exposed to air. Warming it up a little should soften it again enough to work with.
Take care when using knives, and always use a suitable cutting surface.