Happy Sunday! This week brought our 25th Wedding Anniversary Party! It is tons of fun to be able to work on your own cake as a cake artist. You get to choose everything that YOU like. Since this is our party we also did all the planning work on it as well. We picked a "World Travelers" theme since we both love to travel and have, together and separately, traveled a good part of the world for either business or vacation.
The mans Valise is modeled after a real one that sells on Amazon for $1200...yup, someone out there is actually buying this beat up looking valise for that kind of money. We know that they are buying them because there is a big "Only 2 left" sign on the post as well! LOL! Anyway, I wanted a small masculine looking case that looked like it had traveled the world, been bumped and beaten along it's way.
I started with a 6x10 shallow cake pan and baked two layers of chocolate cake. I filled that with chocolate brownie buttercream and then, because I knew the covering fondant was going to be dark, I also crumbcoated the cake in the same buttercream. When it came to the fondant I tinted it a medium brown and then "paneled" the cake using long strips of fondant rather than a full covering. I find I get sharper corners this way and wanted to construct the case more like the real case would have been constructed. Once I had all the base panels on the cake I started working on all the little details from the little leather "posts" to the straps to the lock I let it sit up for about an hour to let the sugars bond before I started painting it.
When it was time to paint I knew I wanted a very very dark brown with black overtones so I mixed up some vanilla flavoring with a bit of water and brown gell color. I then added a "hunk" of black gell into the container and stirred it up just a little bit. I wanted to pick up the almost pure gell so that there would be really dark patches here or there on the cake. I didn't want a uniform look to the finish since it's supposed to be well weathered leather. When mimicking wood you want to make a "grain" so you paint all in one direction, but with leather you want to paint in all different directions, let it dry a short bit and then paint it in all different directions again. This gives you layers of color and patterns rather than a flat or grained surface.
The last things to do is to make the handle, which I painted and let sit overnight before attaching it to the case, and the lock. The lock was painted with some bronze luster dust mixed with vanilla. I then went over that with the other brown/black color to make it look worn.
Now onto the Train Case. Much easier than the valise the train case is just a 6 x 3 inch cake that has had a bit cut off one side to make the "bottom" of the case. With it lying on it's side I then cut the cake into vertical thirds, not horizontal like you would normally. I then stood that up on the flat edge, with a cake board under it, and filled it with vanilla buttercream so that the filled and crumbcoated cake was a standing round. Just like with the valise I paneled this cake. I put on the rounds first and then added the strips for the sides. Once those were in place I added the white strips. These were punched with a pronged tool to make it look like stitching before application and then applied with water. The last pieces were the lock and the handle. All of that was made from the light blue fondant and then the handle and lock were painted silver, let dry and then placed on the cake. The handle was then inserted into the button and the final piece of fondant panel was placed on the base where the handle meets the button and painted on the cake.
The final step was the banner. This strip was a 14 inch long piece of fondant rolled out really thin. Then I gently stretched out the sides here or there before I handpainted the wording on. The saying "No Matter Where In The World I Travel, The Best Part Is Coming Home To You!" is because, even after 25 years, we still miss each other greatly while we are apart. I handpainted the saying to match the seating cards which are in a similar font. Piping it would have given too clean of lines and not matched the concept as well. I just used a fine tip brush and black gell paint that has not been watered down at all. If you use clear alcohol to thin it then it's going to spread into any cracks or pits that are part of the fondant surface so you need to use it in pure gell form.
The only non edible parts on this cake are the keys and tags. The keys are part of the overall party concept and the tags match the Seating Cards and Favor Tags. To see the entire party plan just hop on over to the Party Blog: http://thecherryontopevents.blogspot.com/ where I have posted the entire event.
Next week is Halloween so you know that there will be treats to share!