Need to make a sponge (two layers with something in between) and cover it in fondant icing. Have ready made things to stick on top of that. We usually use the all-in-one sponge recipe with equal quantities of fat:sugar:flour. That is too sweet if you stick jam in the middle. I looked at Madeira cake recipes and can see they'd have more flour. Would that be the right recipe to use?
Also, sticking the jam in the middle.... Do I buttercream both layers then jam between that, to stop the jam seeping all the way through the cake? And I put buttercream on the top under the icing, don't I?
I'm used to making chocolate sponge, sticking choc spread in the middle and choc icing on the top - job done. Plain sponge is much harder than I thought it would be!
Yes, you need a madeira recipe, Delia Smiths is a good one
Personally I would put jam in the middle then buttercream around the cake under the icing. Putting jam and buttercream in the middle can cause it to slip. Have a look on youtube for "crumbcoating" to show how to do it under the icing. If you need any more help just shout, I make cakes all the time
1) the most important thing about a fondant covered sponge is to have a moist recipe which can be hard if you're a novice maderia baker - he uses this one which includes a dousing of vanilla syrup - www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/10860/easy-vanilla-cake - but if you were concerned about sweetness you could make a maderia and then add the vanilla syrup.
2) cake assembly - Sponge, then buttercream, then jam, then other Sponge on top.
3) good Buttercream layer sticks fondant icing to cake and is a good opportunity to smooth out the join between the cake layers. Put buttercream in a thin layer (but enough that not Sponge is showing) using a spatula - Dh uses a cake turntable because he's a bit of a gadget nut
4) fondant wrangling - knead it to make it soft, roll on an icing sugared surface until it's big enough to drape over the whole cake in one go. Lift over with a rolling pin to drape over the cake, then use something flat and plastic (like a fondant smoothing tool - apparently there is such a thing!) or a very smooth spatula to smoothe everything into place. Try to do fondant in a cool room, it makes it easier.
Oh and his final tip is don't panic, always have spare icing, and if in doubt, YouTube is your friend
Good tips from KnitFast's DH - I would disagree with him on one thing though, roll out your fondant on cornflour not icing sugar. Icing sugar is absorbed into the fondant and dries it out, making it more likely to wrinkle and crack. Cornflour doesn't get absorbed in, you can just brush it off afterwards. Oh and in lieu of an icing smoother you can use a ball of icing and rub that over the surface to smooth it out.