Coach Purse Cake
by Ryan Almeida
(Cambridge, Ontario, Canada)
I made this Coach purse cake for my sister's 30th birthday. This was my first attempt at a fondant cake. I am self-taught and learned a lot through reading cake blogs, watching Youtube videos, and watching TV shows like Ace of Cakes, Cake Boss, and Fabulous Cakes.
My first attempt started with me making a red velvet cake with vanilla buttercream. The problem is when went to carve the stacked cake, it started to crumble and fell apart. This set me back with regards to time, so I had to do some quick online research to find out what type of cake would be best for carving that could be made in a short period of time.
The consensus online was to use a Betty Crocker yellow cake mix as a base and with an adjustment to the recipe to make it more stable (i.e. using more flour and less wet ingredients). I was able to make two of these cakes in a 13 x 9 cake pan. Once out of the oven, I let it cool for a bit and then wrapped it in plastic wrap and put it in the freezer over night.
I made the fondant from scratch for all of the cake and decorations. I used a recipe for fondant that I found online. The ingredients included, unflavored gelatin, cold water, glucose, vegetable shortening, glycerin, and a lot of powdered sugar. I first put 1 tbsp + 1 tsp of gelatin in 1/4 cup of cold water for a couple minutes, until it turned into a paste.
With a double boiler, I put the gelatin mixture in the bowl to melt. I then added 1/2 cup glucose and stirred until combined. Next I added 2 tbsp vegetable shortening and any flavoring and food coloring. Last I added 1 tbsp of glycerin and stirred until combined.
I put about 4 cups of powdered sugar in a bowl and made a well in it so that I could pour the liquid sugar mixture into the center. I used a wooden spoon to work in the powdered sugar from the sides of the well.
When the mixture formed a ball, I put another 4 cups of powdered sugar on the counter and put the ball on it. I then kneaded it until most of the powdered sugar was incorporated and the fondant was still pliable but not too sticky or too stiff.
To make the chocolate fondant, I used a 50/50 ratio of white fondant and modeling chocolate. To make the modeling chocolate, with a double boiler I melted about 7 ounces of dark chocolate. When it was fully melted, I took it off the stove and let it cool for a minute and then mixed in 1/4 cup of corn syrup. I made sure it was fully mixed and then put it in the fridge overnight.
The "Dirty" Work:
I cut the 13 x 9 yellow cake into various sized rectangles to form a somewhat long pyramid shape. I filled each layer with a simple vanilla buttercream. Next I carved the wristlet purse shape. Once I had the shape, I put the cake in the freezer to set for 30 mins.
I had premade a chocolate ganache to crumb coat the entire cake and once I was done I put it in the fridge to set for another 30 mins. (Tip: when working with ganache, have a glass with hot water close by to dip your spatula in when you're smoothing out the ganache). I then covered the entire cake with fondant.
Detailing and Decorations:
For the Coach Cs I used the 50/50 white fondant and modeling chocolate mixture. I then cut out circles with small shot glass. I then cut out the inner circle with the lid of a mini mickey rum bottle (the ones you get on the airplane). I cut out a rectangle from one side and the C was complete.
For the zipper, I took an oversized zipper that I bought and pressed it into a strip of fondant. I let the fondant dry for 3 days so that it was rock hard. This was now my mold that I could press fresh fondant into and use for the zipper on the top of the purse cake.
There were several decorations that were made free hand. They include: zipper tab, gold ring, side leather strips, wristlet strap, Coach horse and buggy logo, Coach name, and front leather badge with Coach logo on it. I colored the white fondant with gold Luster Dust (mixed with vodka) to make everything the gold color. I also used a tool to imprint a stitching design on all of the leather pieces.
I attached all the fondant details with vodka, which acted as glue. First I attached the zipper and surrounding leather piece around the zipper. Next I attached the leather strips along the side of the purse, so that I could attach the gold ring for the handle strap to hang from.
I then attached the horse and buggy logo and Coach name to the leather badge and then attached the entire piece to the front of the cake. The next part of the most time consuming which was attaching all of the Cs to the cake in the proper design pattern.
Once that was complete, all I needed to do was attach the strap to the gold ring and cut out the letters for the base. I brushed the entire cake with a small amount of vodka so that it could have a slight sheen to it.
That's how you make a Coach wristlet purse cake! It was definitely time consuming but it turned out great for my sister.