2- 12"x12" square cakes
Dowels or straws
Vodka (and some for the cake..haha)
Gold edible spray
Step 1: Lets Get Started!
Start with two 12"x12" square cakes. Im using carrot cake. Don't be too concerned with trying to find a heavy dense type of cake for stability because you will be adding structure and stability as you construct the cake.
Step 2: Trimming.......
Next level your cakes and trim off any crusted or imperfect edges. I usually trim all around the sides and the top, just to avoid biting into any crusty caramelized bits .
Step 3: Cutting the Strips.......
Next cut the cakes into strips.These strips will be stacked on top of each other to form a rectangle. First cut a 5" strip from one of the 12"x12" cakes.This will leave you with a strip measuring 6". I know 6+5=11, but remember you trimmed the edges in a previous step, this cut down the size of the cake. Cut the remaining 6" into into two equal 3" strips.
From the second 12"x12" square, cut a 41/2" strip. Cut the remaining cake into one 31/2" strip and one 21/2" strip. You will see by using these measurement you will have little or no wastage of cake.
Step 4: Filling the Layers.....
Using your favourite buttercream recipe, split each layer in half and fill each layer with app 1/4" of filling.
Step 5: Stacking the Layers.....
Stack the layers one on top of another starting with the widest strip(5") on bottom. Continue to stack about 3 or 4 layers ...not all! Now, as your cake starts the gain height you need to start adding structure. Place dowels, or large straws into the cake dispersing evenly. I use straws, for a number of reasons. They're easily accessible , and user friendly. No saws or industrial cutters required :)
Step 6: Trimming the Straws .......
Trim the straws by placing kitchen shears level with the surface of the cake and snipping the straw level with icing. Do this with all straws.
Step 7: More Structure!!!!
Cut a cake board slightly smaller than the surface of the cake and place on top of straws.
Step 8: Keep Stacking.....
Continue to stack largest to smallest, inserting straws and boards between every 3-4 layers until all layers have been used. NO need to put straws and boards on top. once your cake is stacked measure and insert at least 3 sharpened wooden dowels directly down through all layers.
Step 9: Chill....
Now the your cake is stacked and supported ,you need to carve it into shape. I HIGHLY recommend chilling your cake for atleast two hours before carving. A well chilled cake cooperates much better than a room temperature cake.
Step 10: Carving the Cake......EEK!!!!!
Believe me this is the fun part, in this step you'll really see the purse taking shape. Start by shaving off all uneven edges. Smooth corners, and edges to give this a more realistic look once covered in fondant. While carving the chilled cake shave it it with short sawing motion type cuts. DONE RUSH THIS STEP. Its easier to take it off than put it back on. Step back from time to time to size up the shape, and remove any bits that look like they don't belong. Be sure to round the bottom edge, again to give it a more realistic look once covered.
Step 11: Sealing the Cake.....
I sealed this cake with chocolate ganache. Chocolate ganache seals and secures all crumbs, cracks, gaps, and imperfections from the surface of the cake in a "cast" like way. This keeps the cake fresh, and looking flawless under the surface of the fondant. I opted for chocolate ganache as opposed to buttercream because sometimes buttercream can get soft and lumpy under the fondant, and "bulges" can be seen throughout the finished cake...yikes! Next... you guessed it ! Chill the cake for atleast 30 mins. Once chilled add a second layer of chocolate ganache....chill . Again, don't rush this step.This step will make or break the final look of your cake. Once the second layer of chocolate ganache is chilled, you need to smooth the ganache by, I love this part, gently rubbing your hands all over the entire surface of the chilled chocolate ganache. The warmth of your hands is just enough to slightly melt the chocolate to achieve a smooth flawless surface.
Step 12: Covering the Cake.....
You'll find using chocolate fondant as opposed to colouring fondant brown, much more efficient as I've done in this step.Measure the height and width of the cake and roll the fondant out slightly bigger than the cake. Trim edges to be straight. Cover entire cake with fondant starting with the top strip, and continuing to "wrap" the cake until cake his completely covered.
Next, you'll want to give the fondant and shiny leather type look. You can do this by mixing a little brown colour gel into vodka or a clear extract (almond,vanilla, etc.). If you choose vodka, don't worry about the alcohol content. The alcohol will evaporate over the next fews mins. Then lightly brush the the solution over the entire surface of the cake. this will make the surface sticky. And will need to be allowed time to dry. This could take anywhere from 30 mins to an hour depending on the humidity of your environment.
Step 13: Make Accessories...
While waiting for your cake surface to dry its a great opportunity to make the various accessories for the decorations. This particular cake was for a client who is a hair stylist and lover of all things fashion, so I made up some essential hair stylist tools, as well as the hardware for the purse.
Step 14: Adding the Design.....
If you choose to leave your purse simple or plain, you can skip this step. However , my client requested a Louis Vuitton pattern. Once dried, I achieved this pattern simply by using a Louis Vuitton stencil and the airbrush method on both the front and back of the cake.
Step 15: Adding the Hardware .....
Once the stencilling is dried add the decorations and hardware you made while waiting for the surface to dry. Clean up cake board and add special message if desired. And arrange accessories.
Step 16: Pat Yourself on the Back....
Once you've cleaned up the board and placed the accessories (if any), take a step back and admire your master piece! Give yourself a pat on the back for a job well done!