Yesterday was my birthday! :)
Not only did I get very spoilt by my lovely fiance, I also decided to spoil myself by making this gorgeous pink handbag cake. I've never attempted any shaped cakes before so I had no idea how it was going to turn out, but I was so pleasantly surprised! I loved this cake so much, I almost didn't want to cut it (but I did... it was yummy white chocolate mud cake on the inside).
I took a few pictures while I was making it so I'll try to explain the process. It was once again inspired by my favourite cake decorating book, The Contemporary Cake Decorating Bible by Lindy Smith.
First I baked a tall square cake - mine was a 10 inch square, approximately 3 inch tall white chocolate mud cake. Actually not quite that tall, that's how tall it was supposed to be! Because of this my handbag ended up a little bit stubbier than it was supposed to. Once the cake was baked (I baked it the night before) I put it in the fridge, to make it easier to cut into the handbag shape.
I started by cutting the top of the cake to make it flat, and then cutting it into two halves.
I then stacked one half on top of the other, sticking it on with some white chocolate ganache. Here is where it got a little trickier! To help me get the handbag shape, I used paper templates that I had copied from the back of Lindy Smith's book. I had a template for the front, top and side of the handbag. You could achieve a similar thing by taking photos of the front, side and top a handbag, making sure that your camera is facing the handbag straight on, not from an angle. Then just blow up the photos to the correct size and cut out the shapes.
I held my templates in place with wooden skewers stuck into the cake. I stuck the front template on both sides of the cake so I could easily glide my knife around them.
Once I cut around the first lot of templates the cake started to look a little like a handbag:
I then stuck the top template on and used it to guide me in cutting the corners off.
Here is where I got so consumed by what I was doing that I forgot to take more photos for a while! So I'll try to explain the next steps in just words.
After I cut the corners off I marked the central like across the top of the handbag where the clasp would be. I cut into the cake about a centimetre across from the central line, and about a centimetre deep, and then I cut away the cake on either side to form curved sides of the handbag. It would make much more sense with pictures I'm sure!
This was the end result:
Next I covered the whole thing with pink fondant, in four separate parts, first the front, then the back, and last the sides. I spread white chocolate ganache onto the cake to help make the fondant stick, and I used a Dresden tool to blend the 'seams' between the four parts.
To create the pleats on the front of the handbag, I stuck three rolled thin 'sausages' of fondant onto the front of the cake before covering it with fondant. I then used the Dresden tool to make the folds more pronounced.
Then came the really fun bit - decorating the handbag! I first used my fondant/clay extruder to create the trim for the handbag, which I stuck over all the seams. This gave the handbag a really real look. I used a slightly larger round disc extruder for the clasp on the top of the handbag.
I made a selection of fondant flowers to stick on to the front of the handbag, and I also cut out the curved pieces for which I also had a template. I used the quilting tool for that cool stitched effect :)
Finally I made the handles by rolling fondant sausages and covering them with long strips of fondant. I attached them to the top of the rounded bits, and also used the quilting tool to make them look like they were stitched on.
Here is another photo of the finished bag:
And one from the top:
Oh that reminds me, I forgot to mention the little silver buttons! They were really easy, I just used a small circle cutter and then painted them with silver edible dust when the fondant had hardened.
So there you go, it was certainly a challenging and lengthy process, but this cake certainly made my birthday more special this year! :)