How do you get this cake from a photo of a vintage tapestry purse?
Well, I had to figure it out. I'll show you the basics of how I got there.
Plan out your design and all the components on paper first. Make a list of the parts you'll need. For example, fondant purse handles that stand up, fondant around base and top for leather structure look and gold tone fondant for purse opening and clasp.
The purse handles were made ahead of time so they would be dried and stand up on their own, just like the real purse. I made a comparison, by looking at the photo, of how tall the handles were in relation to the height of the purse. Also I made note of how far in from the edge, the handles are attached.
Satin Ice Rolled Fondant - Brown - Chocolate - 2 lb
I looked around my kitchen and pantry to find something round, the right size to dry my handles on. A large cardboard oatmeal container served perfectly. The handles (chocolate fondant and then black gel icing color kneaded in) were draped over the container with wax paper underneath to prevent sticking.
To carve out a purse shape , always start with mostly frozen layers of cake stacked on top of each other into the approximate width and height of your finished cake. This is where eyeballing comes in handy, if you're good at it. A ruler is great too if you don't trust yourself. You can always carve off more, so go easy when you start cutting. A large serated bread knife works great.
Work quickly because as the cake defrosts, it will get softer, you want to get your final shape and dirty icing layer on while its very cold.
Wilton 2104-7778 Master Tip Set
As you can barely see in the photo above, I have inserted two tall Bubble Tea Straws (found on eBay and cake supply websites) to give support because of the narrow width and the height. Icing between the layers for "glue" and taste, of course.
Shown at left is the cake with a thick layer of icing because it will be covered in a small star decorator tip design, not fondant. The fondant pieces for leather and hardware have also been added. I simply measured the circumference around the bottom and made two long fondant pieces which were scored at the edges to look like stitching. (a rolling wheel fondant tool) A wooden ruler made the perfect item to trace for width.
The gold tone fondant at top was brushed with Wilton gold dust shimmer, found at any store that sells cake supplies. I recommend it highly, it really adds a fabulous realistic touch to your fondant. It also comes in silver and pearl.
Wilton Fondant 20 Inch Rolling Pin
Next comes the outlines for the tapestry design. I was going for overall effect here, not exact copy. The black lines serve as the coloring page to fill in between and around. I predetermined which side would be the front, so made an extra effort on the design on that side, since it will be the first impression and show in photos.
My colors had been pre-tinted. I ended up putting a touch of black into them to tone them down and give a more vintage look rather than bright. Experiment with a little at a time, you can always add more color. Once the outlines had been made, the filling in went very quickly. It was really fun to see it come together and I got more exited with the results as I went along.
As a side note, if you are making a purse cake, that does not have a tapestry or floral design, you can follow these instructions up to the outlining part. The basics are the same for most all purse cakes.
When filling in the tapestry look, I recommend doing one color at a time rather than each flower, that way you can see that each color is even distributed in your overall design.
Filling in the background to cover the chocolate butter cream goes quickly. I used very dark black icing. (I was laughing to myself imaging birthday guests with black stained tongues)
The purse handles were supported with a toothpick in each end that went into the top of the cake. I also pressed the handles together slightly as an additional precaution. For the shiny effect, I simply brushed the black "leather" parts with watered down black gel coloring.
Wilton Disposable 12 Inch Decorating Bags, Pack Of 24
I hope you enjoyed this simple tutorial and you are inspired to perhaps try it out or something similar. Leave a comment if you have. I'd love to hear from you! For the butter cream recipe, go to my blog about the Perfect Cupcake.
So here to the left, is the photo I worked from.(I know, not too much information, right?) and again, the final product, to the right.
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Liz Corbett is an experienced cake baker decorator and hostess. She has been planning and hosting parties and designing, decorating and delivering cakes for over 20 years. Her hope is that everyone will be inspired to more creativity and to gain the confidence to host events big and small with success.