Let me start off by saying that the Craftsy class I took–  Designer Handbag Cakes — to learn how to make a purse cake is one of the best I have taken on Craftsy.com.  The instructor/cake designer, Elisa Strauss, is very thorough and meticulous which I love. You should definitely check it out.

I decided on this cake for my mom’s (Viva) birthday because she loves purses and she just bought a great one from the Kate Spade outlet while we were on vacation.


I had a few challenges making this cake but they were my own fault.  I was planning on using modeling chocolate for the decorations but I made the modeling chocolate way too firm so it was not being flexible at all especially for the handles.  I ended up using a combination of modeling chocolate and chocolate fondant for the handles for a little more flexibility.  I rolled out logs for the handles and then filleted them open with my exacto knife.  I pressed cloth-covered wire into the openings and pressed the edges back together over the wires.  I left about an inch of wire exposed at each end to push into the cake.

The mold I used for the alligator impression was designed by Elisa Strauss and you can get it on Amazon.com or fondantsource.com.

The other thing I would change is the amount of cake waste.  Understandably a carved cake results in a lot of waste but I used a quarter-sheet pan (9″x13″) for a 6″x 11′ cake .  So I think I would change the proportions of the cake a little in order to reduce waste.  Or plan ahead for cake pops!

I have used foam core boards from Hobby Lobby lately which are awesome and so much cheaper.  I strongly suggest you make the switch if you are still buying pre-covered cake boards.  DH cuts them for me with a utility knife.

Finally found some success with SMBC!  I filled and iced the cake with SMBC this time and basically just kept it in the fridge at all times until I transported it.  This was easier than I thought.  When I couldn’t find a box tall enough for the handles my husband and I just carefully wrapped several layers of saran wrap over the cake and hoped for the best. No problems at all! Fondant cakes in the fridge do perfectly well if wrapped and the colors didn’t even run.  The SMBC stayed firm and the fondant didn’t shift.  Now, the fondant was pieced together rather than one large piece so we’ll have to see if I get any air bubbles next time.


DH contributed the lovely idea for the tag.  He suggested I avoid writing my mom’s age so instead it was “Viva est. 1947.”


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