Sunday, May 06, 2012
Mhana's Purse Cake
I made my sissy-in-law this purse cake and shoe for her birthday. We had a rare occasion to celebrate her day together, so I went all out on the cake. Fun, huh?! It was so fun surprising her with it. She loved it and it made all of the effort totally worth it. I have posted pictures on facebook, but I wanted to write out a few of the details, in case anyone is interested, but mostly for my reference.
Mhana requested chocolate cake with chocolate frosting. I used this recipe for the cake. It's a recipe to gussy up a regular box cake mix and make it more sturdy and easier to shape and carve. The recipe calls for vanilla-flavored everything, but you can use any flavor w/ the corresponding pudding flavor.
I filled the cake layers with chocolate buttercream frosting. (You just have to scroll down and look for the powdered-sugar-based buttercream recipe.) One weird thing: the recipe calls for 3 T. vanilla! Do not use 3 T. vanilla! It will change the texture of the frosting entirely, and then you'll have to add twice as much powdered sugar to fix it. I only put in 1 teaspoon, and it was fine.
I topped the cake with chocolate ganache. (Again, scroll down and find the ganache section.) It was my first time making ganache, and I will definitely try it again. It's very versatile. It can be poured over the cake while it's thin and warm, spread over the cake while it's slightly cooler, or used as filling between the layers when it is even cooler.
I used this tutorial to make the purse cake. She gives very detailed instructions on how to do it, and it's a whole lot easier than I thought it would be. I wish mine looked as good as hers, but for my first one, I don't think it turned out too bad at all.
The cake is covered in marshmallow fondant.
The brown details on the purse are made of modeling chocolate, rolled into pipes. My sister made the flowers.
I found a pattern I liked online, printed it out, made the heel, then rolled and cut out the pieces of modeling chocolate. Then the pieces are place together in the shape you want them using water to hold them together. Piece of cake! Well, it would have been if my modeling chocolate had set up like it should have. It never really did fully set, although I don't know why. Too much corn syrup and not enough chocolate? I don't know. But I did create a very elaborate support system for the shoe to sit on and dry for several days before giving it to the Sis.
What I learned:
Making cakes it time consuming. I liked it, but I will like it even more if I am more prepared next time. I will read up on any techniques I want to use in advance, and I will make the fondant, modeling chocolate, ganache, and frosting several days ahead of time.
Gunner got into the cake-making spirit while I did this. He played "Cake Boss." He squished and rolled out fondant like play dough, and he made a Shark Cake. It was really just three oval-ish pieces of pink fondant squished onto the table, but to him, it was a monster-sized Cake-Boss-Style cake with a life-sized moveable shark coming out of the center. It was pretty awesome. The kid's got talent, for sure.