Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The Anatomy of  A First Attempt
 at Making a Purse Bag Cake

It was to be my  sister-in-law's surprise 50th birthday and her husband , my brother-in-law requested me to make a cake for her. I thought this would be a wonderful gift for her plus a chance for me to hone my skills in cake decorating ..... perfect.

I've baked and decorated a cake full of Kit Kat bites and fingers and made cupcakes with different 3D cupcake toppers  using gum paste and fondant before. I have also made a cake with fondant/gumpaste baby for my infanticipating sister's birthday.

This was to be my first time to make a 2-tiered cake with an edible Purse as topper and it excited me and filled me with anticipation. I didn't have any blue print  unlike some pro friend-bakers-bloggers I know. I just try to visualize how my cake would look thus my difficulty.

I go by feel. Impractical I know. But that's how I did my previous cakes. I just know I wanted to make a purse cake but I didn't know the colors I like, the kind of purse it would be,  its size etc.

pound cake batter
pound cake in the oven
A week before the event and  I'm feeling the pressure. So I went to the fb pages I like to try and choose a cake that would inspire me. I also visited You Tube to watch tutorials on how to make a purse cake. 

Three days before the event and I have baked  and crumb-coated 3 chocolate cake and 3 pound cake. But I still haven't decided on my final colors and final design....hopeless me. I know I wanted roses and the purse bag. But I haven't consolidated the final design in my head.

So off I go and I decided to make my "bottom cake".  My bottom tier would consist of 2 layers of chocolate cake  ( see my Kit Kat Overdose Cake Recipe) crumb-coated with chocolate ganache with chocolate buttercream in between.

1 layer brownie cake, 2 layers chocolate cake

I made an extra layer of chocolate cake which was to be my "just-in-case-cake" or my plan B in case plan A (which didn't exist..lol) doesn't work. I'm still waiting to be "inspired" you see.

I wanted to make a rose but I didn't know how to incorporate it in the overall look of the cake. I made a pink rose initially and before I knew it ended up making roses of different colors and sizes. Ah inspiration at last.  I enjoyed myself making the roses.  It felt zen-like. My hands were busy molding the roses while my mind traveled elsewhere....nice and relaxing.

finished bottom layer
I wanted a clean camvas, so I had to cover my bottom cake with textured white fondant. Actually, this was a calculated move on my part. Im still honing my skills in making a smooth fondant  finish and failing. Thank God  for Wilton mats. Textured fondant is the way to go if you can't hack making a perfect fondant finish. But it's still hard work-- rolling the fondant on the mat and unrolling it on the cake.  The heat and humidity is affecting the fondant making it tear in some places. I got lucky on my nth attempt ( sorry lost count ) Note to self: work in an air conditioned room next time.

So I finished the bottom layer in  about 7 hours more or less. I knew this because only daughter left with ardent suitor at about 1 pm that afternoon for some errands I requested for her to do,  and I was still not finish with the bottom layer when they came back around 6pm and till we finished dinner  around 8 pm. I packed everything up and had the bottom layer in the ref before 10 pm I think. And by that time, I was dead tired and ready for bed.

The next day, I was still vacillating between doing an echo of the bottom cake for the top layer or going ahead with the purse cake idea.  Frankly, I was a bit terrified that I wouldn't be able to pull off making a cake bag. So my idea was to make a smaller round fondant cake for the top layer for insurance. But I was running out of time and energy.  I had to decide.

I conditioned myself to do the purse cake  and started carving the pound cake to the shape of the bag.  I watched the tutorial again and affirmed to myself  " Yes, I can do it and it will turn out beautiful". I hovered on the edge of the cliff, closed my eyes and jumped. I was committed and gave it my 200%. Here is the finished product....whew!!! Next time, I'll make a designer bag -- Hermes or Channel would be nice :))))

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