That was a mouthful of a title but the cake was for a murder mystery party with an escape room.  It was for my daughter’s 13th birthday party and, as you can imagine, we were quite busy with the planning. This was the invitation and, by the way, if you’re interested I highly recommend the kit we got from  I’m not going to lie — it was a lot of planning.  The night before the party my husband and I were up studying the script like we were preparing to defend our PhD thesis but it was a lot of fun.

The most important tool I used for this cake is this silicone impression mat for the wood grain effect that I got from Amazon:

Elisa Strauss has a great tutorial on Online Cake Decorating Classes“>Craftsy on how to do a wood grain effect on fondant in her class, “Designer Handbag Cakes.”  It looks like I made a lid for the box but that is actually just one panel on the top and one panel on each side.  I have been experimenting with different fondant brands lately as I have stopped making my own (too time consuming, messy and difficult to get dark colors).  Satin Ice was, of course, the fondant I started making cakes with five years ago.  Its hard to avoid the elephant skin with that fondant so I wanted to explore other options.  I recently tried Renshaw but found it way too soft.  This time I tried Dream which so far has been quite successful but I only used it for paneling this cake.  I will let you know when I use it for draping a cake.  It is firmer than Renshaw or Satin Ice making it very easy to move onto a cake but harder to cut out decorations.  I had to use Satin Ice to cut out the ornate gold deco on the sides of the box.  I used an acrylic swag cutter from Fat Daddio’s like this one:

I was actually super excited about the stencil . I got it from
They had a 4″x4″ binary code stencil but they custom-made a 6″x6″ stencil for me and got it to me super quick!  The first time I airbrushed it onto the black fondant I tried to do it in blue like the invite but it was barely visible.  But then I had a stroke of genius and went over it one more time with white and, lo and behold, it showed up blue!

For the “CODE” wheel I happened to have a macaron tray that I used to mold some modeling chocolate and then airbrushed it gold. I shaped the lock by hand with modeling chocolate and attached it with toothpicks and wrapped floral wire.

The cake was four 1-inch layers of chocolate cake with chocolate ganache.  No matter how much experimenting I do with cake and filling flavors everyone tends to favor the chocolate cake with dark chocolate ganache. The girls loved the cake and thought it was an actual box when they first saw it.

Since DH always feel slighted when he is not given some credit for MY cakes I will note that the poor guy was stuck in the escape room with 11 teenage girls for close to an hour while I finished prepping dinner.

Action shots AKA pics of me in funny positions whilst caking:

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