Adventures in cake decorating (part 4)

Handbag cake topper

Handbag cake topper

This is the final post in my cake decorating series (sob!) and covers the last two weeks of the course, both of which involved novelty cake toppers.

The penultimate class saw us attempt to make some handbag cake decorations using Mexican paste and some rather nifty templates. The premise is pretty simple – carefully cut out a handbag shape for folding up, stick the edges together with glue, and decorate. Unfortunately my Mexican paste turned out rubbish again (despite following my tutor’s advice to grind up the tylo powder first), and it cracked quite a lot. The bag I made in the class was a disaster and wouldn’t hold together, so I made another one when I got home (in the picture above) that was slightly better, but not much.

Some of the other women went all out and made lots of perfect bags complete with long straps and piped lettering, but I settled for a simple purple clutch instead, as I imagine that’s what would go on any birthday cake of mine! I would like to try this again with some Mexican paste that actually works, so I may resign myself to buying some so I can make a perfect bag too.

String footballer cake topper

String footballer cake topper

The final week saw us attempt to make a ‘string person’ using the dreaded Mexican paste and strawberry laces (we did have to sample some of the strawberry laces first in the name of research, of course). I loved making this model – perhaps because I used some paste my tutor had made! – and it was probably my second favourite part of the course after the Mexican paste lily.

As you can see, the feet, socks, shorts, top, hands and head were all made from Mexican paste, with holes carefully hollowed out in the relevant places for the insertion of the strawberry laces. The body was kept upright with the help of uncooked spaghetti thrust vertically down the neck – we could then snap off most of the protruding bit of spaghetti and stick the head on top. The eyes are little holes filled with royal icing.

This was really fun to make and I’d quite like to have a go at making other string figures – especially a cow!

So, that was the end of my adventures in cake decorating. It was an extremely positive experience overall. I think I surprised myself with some of the things I was able to do, although there was definitely room for improvement in a lot of areas. I’ll try to get some practice in at home when I get time, and maybe think about enrolling on another course in future to make sure my newly acquired skills aren’t forgotten!

I would definitely recommend looking up your nearest cake decorating course if you think you might like to give it a go. Mine took place at my local community centre and is run by one of the colleges in town, so maybe have a look at what your local college has to offer!

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