Sunday, September 20, 2009

Amy Butler Inspired Knitting Bag Cake

My mother-in-law called and asked me to do another knitting bag cake for her sister who just retired after working for the railroad for 40 years and is sooo excited to go into all things knitting!!! Inspired by all things Amy Butler, I came up with this design for a more realistic knitting bag cake for her. I loved the last one I did, but wanted the challenge of the wrinkles, buldges and ripples that a real purse has in it. I also wanted to add a little bling to it! :) Aunt Leanne does beautiful work, and always adds a touch of "bling" to her pieces, so I thought a little bling was appropriate here!! Happy Retirement Aunt Leanne - enjoy your next 40 years of living life to the fullest!!!


If you're still reading and interested in the construction of the cake, here you go:

Unfortunately the handle didn't show up well in the picture...but there is one on top. I'm still getting used to lighting a black background...so the lighting isn't quite right yet. And, if you haven't noticed already, yes, I'm SUCH a dunce and totally forgot the knitting needles!!!! Sorry Auntie...they are here...but they didn't get into the cake before I helped your sister pack the cake up in her car!! :( Good thing she is family or I would have been driving to Canby that night!

Now onto the cake...I hand cut out the Amy Butler flower design from black modeling chocolate. All the black designs/elements on the cake are modeling chocolate. I hand carved the cake shape and all the contours from 5 - 9" layers of chocolate mudcake. It's filled with ganache since I needed a stable surface to carve and since it would be traveling around Portland before it's final destination. It was a little difficult to get the crumb coat really smooth since I carved in so many ripples and contours. So, my fondant didn't go on "as smooth" as I wanted. If anyone has any tips/tricks to get a crumb coat really smooth on a "wrinkly" surface, let me know! :) I applied the fondant in two pieces...one on the front and one on the back. I attached the black piping to the fondant before I put it on the cake. That was a learning experience...The front looks much better than the back as the fondant ended up folding over a bit in the back and left me with elephant skin folds. Ben said he thought it looked like the leather lines on a leather purse...that was sweet of him...but not my intention to do! :) I guess I'll know how to achieve that effect - when I want too! :)
One more lesson learned...I actually didn't dowel/support the cake. The cake layers were pretty thin and the cake ended up being about 5" tall (not including the fondant edge). So, I didn't separate out two or three layers and dowel those because it felt pretty secure with four layers of ganache. HOWEVER, what I had forgotten was that I would be putting 8 small balls of yarn (cake balls) on top of the cake and that weight would question the integrity of the cake. So, I got it in the fridge before too much sagging occurred!! But, next time, I'll have to remember to think of all the components that will be on the cake and what the weight of those components will do to the cake. Note to self and all those cake makers out there!! :)
All in all it was a great cake and I'm happy with the END result! Despite the knitting needle whoops, this is one of my favs to date!! Thanks for looking!

12 comments:

  1. Does your talent have no end?? another super-awesome cake, Jess!

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  2. Wow, Jessica, these cakes get more and more intricate as you learn! You're amazing and these cakes are beautiful. I love watching for the next creation! Absolutely amazing!

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  3. Jess, I told Kimberly that I have so much respect for your talent! I am GIVING UP cake decorating and leaving it to people like you! I made a truck cake for our grandson's 3rd birthday yesterday and it looked like Mater from the Cars movie on a really, really BAD day! I fear that it may turn up on the Cake Wreck web site! If you lived closer, I would have you on speed dial for all my cake needs!

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  4. Your cakes are so beautiful. Congratulations. I'm just starting in making fondant cakes and I can't wait for the day I'll be as great as you.

    I can see that on your cakes, you put "ganache" on them, do you have a recipe somewhere on your site?

    Keep up the good work.

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  5. Ganache is simply 2 parts dark chocolate to 1 part heavy (35%fat) cream. Heat cream, pour over crushed up chocolate, wisk/stir until incorporated. Stir every so often until it cools and is the consistency of peanut butter. Spread on cake! :)

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  6. Where did you get the shape that you used for the retirement sign?

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  7. I found it on a digital scrapbooking website and cut it out of cardstock to use as a template for my fondant. I don't have it any more or I'd send it your way. If you go here:

    http://www.twopeasinabucket.com/shop/digital-kits/kit-price-free/

    You can download free digital scrapbooking kits and use their template to make templates for fondant! :)

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  8. this is just soooo AMAZING!!!!

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  9. The only tip I have to getting a really smooth surface on icing is to put the crumb coat on roughly and stick it in the fridge for a while to chill. When you take it out the icing is more firm and it is easier to smooth out. Then again my cakes were not even close to this level of excellence. Great job!

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  10. It's beautiful and appreciate your kneat work, keep it on.
    Regards
    Rima

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  11. Flawless as always!

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