Fondant here, is the white pliable paste that is used to cover cakes in prep for decoration. Fondant covered cakes used to be more popular for weddings, but are now popular and demanded for all sorts of occasions. It creates a velvety finish that looks very elegant, and allows for various decorations in order to carry out various themes. Fondant is firm, and can easily be rolled out on a board dusted with equal amounts of icing sugar & cornstarch to prevent it from sticking to the work surface. Once rolled it can then be used to cover cakes, or can be used to cut out shapes (using templates or cookie cutters) which are then used in the decoration of the cake. Fondant can tinted to any shade you like, best using gel-based food colours. It can also be made more pliable, and hard upon setting by adding Gum Tragacanth to it, Kind of a recreation of Gum Paste. This is usually used for modelling, basic flower creations, and decoration structures that need to be hard and hold shape.
Actual Fondant recipe carried out by bakers, is mainly heating sugar syrup to soft ball stage, then turning this sugar over on a marble work surface and working this sugar with metal scrapers (hard spatulas) till it forms a white paste that is smooth and pliable.
Please be cautious when working with heated sugar, to prevent risk of severe burning!
An easier adaptation of Fondant, suitable for domestic production is Sugar Paste. It is hardly any different to fondant in texture and function, but easier and less hazardous to prepare at home. Sugar paste is treated exactly like fondant, can be tinted, is pliable and used to cover cakes as well as in cutouts...etc
So if you do not own a candy thermometer, or if you are worried about working hot sugar, don't fret! Just make Sugar paste. No one will know the difference! Of course there are many variations and recipes, this one is a simple recipe that you can easily make, it requires a bit of work but works every time...