Step 1: Carve the cake
Start with two rectangular slabs of cake each measuring 18cm x 10.5cm and 4-5cm (2″) tall. You could also use Template A to cut out the two pieces. The templates for this project can be found here.
Sandwich the slabs together with chocolate ganache to end up with a rectangular piece of cake with a total height of 11.5cm.
Attach a cardboard cake board to the bottom of the cake with a dollop of ganache (this makes it easier to move the cake around without having to handle the cake itself).
Place a template onto each side of the cake and carve around the template, as shown in photo, using a serrated knife. Be careful not to cut off too much at a time (although if you are over-zealous, you could always stick the cake back on with ganache). Refine the shape by shaving off small amounts of cake.
Remove a small amount of cake along the bottom edge, going all the way around the base.
Step 2: Ganache the cake
Using a small palette knife, spread ganache over the cake, making it as smooth and even as you can, but it need not be perfect at this stage. Set cake aside for 10-15 minutes to enable the ganache to firm up. In hot weather, refrigerate cake for 20 minutes or so until the ganache firms up a bit.
Once the ganache has firmed up, use a hot palette knife to smooth the ganache, removing knife marks. Again, set aside to enable ganache to firm up (or refrigerate for 20-30 minutes), while you prepare the fondant.
Step 3: Make the zipper
I made my own zipper mold using Amazing Mold Putty because I found it really fun to make molds of everything I could get my hands on, but if that’s not your jam, it is possible to buy ready-made zipper molds: check out etsy.com.
To make your own mold, knead together equal parts of the Amazing Mold Putty, quickly and firmly press your object into the putty and leave for a set time. The putty isn’t readily available in Australia; try ebay.
To make your zipper, press some tan coloured modelling paste into the zipper mold, then remove from mold and trim the sides and edges of the zipper so that it looks neat. If your zipper mold is shorter than what you need, make another zipper and join them together on the cake. I find a pizza wheel is great for trimming strips of modelling paste and fondant.
Roll tan modelling paste approximately 1.5mm thick and cut out:
– one zipper pull using the template; and
– 5 circles of approx. 6mm diameter (I used a #3 or #5 piping tube).
Step 4: Buckles
Roll tan modelling paste into a rope approximately 2-3mm in diameter. Shape into a square buckle (side length 2cm) and stick ends together with a little water. Set aside to firm up before painting gold.
Step 5: Paint with Gold Lustre
Make some gold paint by combining gold lustre dust mixed with a little cake decorator’s alcohol or vodka. Paint the zipper, zipper pull, circles and buckles. Set aside to dry. (You can buy ready-made gold paint from cake decorating supply stores but I prefer to mix my own.)
Step 6: Cover cake with fondant
You will need 400g of dark brown fondant. I make this from 380 grams of chocolate fondant, which is a brown colour but not as dark as I’d like, and mix in 20g of black fondant. Kneaded together they make the perfect dark brown fondant for the Speedy leather colour. I would not recommend starting with white fondant due to the huge amount of brown and black colouring you would need to achieve the right colour.
Roll a strip of dark brown fondant to approximately 2mm thick. The strip needs to be at least as long as the cake and approximately 2.5cm wide. Attach strip to the top of cake using apricot glaze or water. Stick the zipper in the middle.
Brush a little apricot glaze all over the cake. If the ganache is tacky, you do not need the glaze. It is important not to use too much glaze, otherwise it will seep out under the fondant.
I cover the cake with dark brown fondant in four separate sections (ie. 2 ends and front & back). When covering the front and back, you will need two rectangular pieces of fondant each measuring at least 19cm x 16cm. (Check exact size needed by measuring the length and height of your cake.)
For the 2 largest pieces, trim one long side using a pizza wheel and ruler. This straight side is attached next to the zipper.
Brush a little glaze or water on the edges of each fondant piece to ensure a neat join at the seams. Attach the 2 largest pieces of fondant first, followed by the 2 ends.
After each piece is attached, trim excess fondant neatly with a paring knife. Tuck in the bottom edge of fondant with a palette knife, ensuring that no ganache is visible. Smooth the fondant using a piece of acetate (or a blob of fondant) and remove any air bubbles with a pin.
Step 7: Painting the Logo
If time permits, leave the iced cake overnight to allow fondant to firm up before painting logo.
I made a stencil out of acetate for the ‘LV’ logo. Print out the logo, place a piece of acetate over the top and trace it with a ballpoint pen. Cut out the stencil carefully with a craft knife.
For the other motifs, I made stamps out of craft foam. Print out ‘Reference for Logo Placement’. Trace each motif outline with pencil onto baking paper. Place the baking paper onto foam (pencil side down) and go over the outline to transfer the image onto the foam. Carefully cut out the shape with a craft knife or small pointed scissors.
Glue stamps onto a piece of styrofoam.
Transfer cake to the final cake board, using a blob of ganache or royal icing to secure the cake to the board. Using ‘Grid for Logo Placement’ as a guide, make pin pricks to mark where each logo goes.
Make the ‘paint’: Place approximately 15 drops of icing whitener into a small container and tint it a gold-bronze. I like to add some Antique Gold lustre dust.
To apply LV stencil: brush paint onto a (new) makeup sponge. Do not load the sponge with too much paint. Holding stencil in position, lightly and evenly dab with the sponge.
For the other motifs, brush the paint sparingly onto the stamp. Do not apply too much paint otherwise the result is messy. Press stamp onto fondant lightly but evenly. You should be able to make around 3 imprints without re-inking the stamp. Go over the image with a small pointy paintbrush to improve the outline and fill in the colour evenly.
Step 8:Leather Trim
Roll tan modelling paste approximately 1mm thick. Using templates as guide, cut out the leather trim shapes. Run a tracing wheel around the inside to create the stitching effect.
Cut a hole out of the triangular tab using #3 piping tip. Attach tab to one end of the bag.
For the piping, I use a fondant smoother to roll tan modelling paste into a long rope approximately 3mm diameter. This could also be done using a sugargun/extruder. Stick piping around the ends of the bag.
Cut out 4 leather pieces for the handle tabs. Attach buckles and leather pieces as shown in the photo, using glaze or water to glue the leather pieces. The buckles should be spaced 10cm apart (refer to photo).
Insert wire into plastic tubing. Using floral tape, tightly wrap a toothpick onto each end of the wire. Roll tan modelling paste approximately 3mm thick and attach around tubing. Trim off excess paste with a pizza wheel. Trim the ends so that the paste overhangs the tubing by about 4mm. Mark stitching effect with a tracing wheel.
Brush a little glaze onto the end of the handles. Bend handles and insert into cake. Attach gold circles to leather trim.
Using royal icing, attach zipper head and zipper pull as shown in the photo. Finish by attaching a gold circle on the zipper pull.
There it is! I hope you have a try using my method, and if you do so, I would love to see a picture of your handbag cake.