We started layering the sponges (alternating buttercream and strawberry jam filling), cutting each layer to an approximate width until we had the right height. Then we needed to add another 6cm to the end of the cake (the cake tins were only 30cm) so stacked these and "glued" them to the main body of the cake with buttercream. We ended up with nine layers of cake for the main part and 10 for the extra bit on the end! We then carved the bag shape out of the cake, with the top layer being about 5cm wide and the bottom being 16.5cm wide. I then carved a wedge shape out of each side of the cake, so that the finished cake would have the effect of the leather folding in, starting about 5cm down and ending about 8cm from the bottom (see photos below for a better image of this). Once carved, we put a couple of wooden skewers into the layers to help keep them together.
|I've included the tall jam jar in the photo to give a sense of size!|
I had found a tutorial on how to make the Mulberry bag cake (here) and this proved very helpful in all but the handles (more on those later).
We started off by covering the whole cake with a layer of fondant (we used Renshaw Regal Ice in Teddy Bear brown colour) - the sides individually and a single layer over the front and back of the cake.
The next layers of fondant we textured with a leather texture mat (bought from here). I was slightly disappointed with it but we just couldn't find anything else that could get close to recreating the leather effect we wanted so it did the job: it worked out expensive with the postage and you had to really press very hard to get the texture to show on the fondant.
We covered the sides first and then the front and the back with individual pieces that we carefully smoothed together at the top. We then cut another piece of fondant to fit across the top as the flap on the bag: see the images below to see how far down this came, although on the real handbag it is about 2cm higher than we had it. Before putting this over the top, we cut out two rectangles on one side where the handle straps would go on the front.
Then we tackled the handles!!! The tutorial we were following used aquatic plastic tubing covered in fondant but this proved to be a disaster ... the tubing was just not strong enough to support the fondant and even with support (see kitchen rolls below) they collapsed and cracked.
Finishing touches to the bag, to make it a Mulberry bag, where the gold clasp and padlock. My talented niece created the oval and key with the tiny screws and Mulberry logo, which we then painted gold (the key is attached to a piece of spaghetti as per the bag tutorial we were following).
The finishing touches were the writing in white fondant, the gold fountain candles pushed into small brown blocks of fondant and a gold ribbon around the board. The board had got slightly "mucky" so I used the brown lustre dust to add a sepia tone to the edges of the white board and in the white spaces. This worked well, toning down the white to blend in with the whole bag.
And here is the finished cake with the real handbag that my parents gave my sister for her birthday. So a very happy girl all round!
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