Designer Handbag Cake
by Julian Harris
(Durban , South Africa)
I began with a 14 cm square carrot cake which I divided into 4 strips measuring 10 cm, 8 cm, 4 cm, and 2 cm. I stacked them on top of each other, with the widest piece at the bottom and the narrowest on top, with a layer of buttercream between each layer. I inserted two skewers from top to bottom to hold the layers together for stability.
Next I trimmed the edges to give a smooth surface. To create the natural ridges that you find in a handbag. I used the trimmings to add texture and shape. I then covered the entire bag with marzipan and set it aside to dry.
I started the trimmings a few days earlier. I planned to add two strips with buckles, a clasp, some contrasting colored panels, a length of chain and the designer logo. To create the chain I used flower paste - fondant with a hardener added ( Tylose or C.M.C. powder ). I rolled the paste to about 0.5 cm thick and cut strips about 1 cm wide . I made these into little circles, threaded them into each other, one at a time, and stuck down the ends with egg white mixed with icing sugar to form a thick paste.
I then cut out the shapes of the buckles and clasp, and allowed them to dry till they were hardened. I painted them with edible gold glitter, mixed with a touch of Vodka. All that was left was the assembly (and no Vodka !).
To assemble the bag I added a layer of fondant over the marzipan, and shaped the ridges, folds and creases. I fitted in the panels, and the trimmings.
The sandals in the foreground were made by hand - I just shaped out the soles, the heels and the uppers and left them to dry in the required shape. When they were dry, I stuck the bits together and painted them in the required colors.
The sense of satisfaction that I felt was amazing when it was done. The customer that I made it for was thrilled - she said it exceeded her expectations. And that, to me, was reward enough!