Happy Sunday! Another summer birthday came our way this week. This little beach bag cake is filled with everything Jayne can wish to take with her to the beach. There's sunscreen, her travel journal, her sunglasses and her towel all sticking out of the top.
I learned a great many things making this cake. It is a standard 8x2 inch cake that has been cut into thirds and then trimmed down to 5-1/2 inches across by 6 inches high and 2-1/2 inches wide with the trimmings adding height to the cake. Yellow cake filled with chocolate brownie buttercream is Jayne's favorite combo so that is what is inside the vanilla fondant "bag". It is staked twice down into the cake board with wooden skewers, one on each side of the cake from top to bottom. Then it was crumbcoated with vanilla buttercream and allowed to set up.
I then started on the stripes. What I found out is that they don't "glue" together easily. I finally took the strips and laid them out onto a parchment covered rack and brushed water in between so they would glue together in pairs of two. Then I was able to put them on the cake, trim them down to fit the cake two at a time. One of the reasons I give myself plenty of time to decorate a cake is due to set backs like this one. It added 6 hours of wait time to this cake.
Once I had the front strips on and the back strips on and trimmed down I added the white side panels. I mainly let the front semi-hard strips help hold the soft white fondant to the sides since it, like the hard strips, had to stand up, like a bag, but couldn't be stiff because I needed them to look like fluid fabric billowing on the sides. So I brushed water, not just on the cake but also the fondant edges of the hard front and back strips and then smoothed the side fondant on pressing it gently to the front and back wet edges.
After they were dry and allowed to set up for a bit it was time to do the cording. I have an extruder that I simply love. It has many different screens with different size and shaped holes so I can just change out whatever I need to whenever I need to do it. The screen for today is the one with three small holes in it that allows me to make long thin "snakes" of fondant. I made white and blue snakes and then just twisted them together. Then I brushed on a thin line of water to act as glue and ran it along the edges of the front and back panels. I used just one strand of white to edge the top and bottom edges of the side panels.
I used this same screen to make the snakes I needed for the braided handles for the front and back. You have to work really, really carefully or the snake will break and you will have to start all over again. Once the braids were done I set them aside, the U shape of a handle, to firm up. While they were drying, I made the "grommets" for the bag. Just cut out with a piping tip and then punched with a smaller tip, I just painted these silver and let them dry.
While everything was drying I began working on the items to go into the bag. Keep in mind that they are supposed to be peeking out of the bag so you do not need full sized items. The panels stick about an inch or so over the actual cake so you only need a few inches of the item to stick out. The towel is only 4 inches long, the sunscreen is only about 2-1/2, as is the book. The sunglasses are fronts only with one partial earpiece folded under. For the book I took a block of white fondant and then rolled out a marbled piece of blue-green fondant really thin to cover it. Lastly I used my xacto knife to score the "pages". The towel is a thick piece of pink and white marbled fondant that was rolled and then texturized using scrunched up plastic wrap. Both the sunglasses and the sunscreen are just hand molded until I thought they looked right.
The last touches were painting the SPF 30 on the sunscreen and Jayne's initials on the journal in silver paint and then adding the grommets and braided handles to the bag. The grommets went on quickly but I did have to use toothpicks to hold the braided fondant onto the cake. I put them through the folded over braiding and then pushed them into the cake gently, making sure to hide the tip of the toothpick. The sand is just gold sanding sugar that I sprinkled onto the board using a small spoon.
Smaller cakes are sometimes the most challenging but being a "Beach Baby" myself I was very happy to do this cake!
Next week is time to Party with Barbie! See you then!