Late last year I met a bride-to-be at one of the wedding fayres we attended, where she took a shine to a unusual shaped cake that I was displaying on my exhibition stand. Little did I know that the lovely Nicola (and her fiancé Paul) were about to set me two very exciting challenges!
Not only has this lovely couple ordered a cake for their wedding in early July (not too many details here now, as I don’t want to reveal too much about it ahead of their big day), but Nicola also asked me if I would like to make Paul a chocolate birthday cake for his 40th a few weeks later. I was warned, however, that it would be a “bit unusual”!!! I therefore waited with baited breath for the picture to arrive, from which I was to adapt the special cake – here it is….
The request was for a trunk-shaped “The Luggage” cake, which features in the Terry Pratchett “Discworld” series of books. Personally, I’d never heard of “The Luggage” but I’m ready to give most things a go. The first thing to do was a bit of Google research (where would we all be without Google?). During this research, I came across this illustration which I liked and thought could be the inspiration for my cake design.
Next was to work out what size and shape to make in order to get enough cake to construct the trunk, whilst providing enough servings for the birthday guests (about 40). I decided the best option was to make a very large (12-inch square) cake and then carve and stack it into the upright rectangular shape. To do this I used my favourite Silverwood multisize cake tin and set the dividers within it to give me two 10” x 6” rectangles and two 2” x 6” rectangles. The beauty of this tin is that you can produce multiple cakes of the size you want without having to carve too much away….
Once the giant chocolate cake was baked I mixed up a large batch of chocolate buttercream icing . I used this to stick the two larger cakes together, one on top of the other (carved beforehand to give straight edges). The two smaller cakes were stuck together in the same way and I carved from this a trunk-shaped top. In order to build this shape up to the correct size I added some of the off-cuts from the larger cakes.
Then it was time for the fun bit – decoration! The sides of the main trunk were covered in chocolate flavoured sugarpaste, as was the top of the trunk. Then I stuck the lid of the trunk to the main body. To get the slightly opened angle – where “The Luggage’s” tongue & teeth are showing, I placed a sausage of chocolate fondant in order to support the lid in the correct position. Next I added the teeth, all individually modelled from white sugarpaste, followed by the bright red tongue. The wood effect on the chocolate coloured lid and trunk were made by scoring with a knife. Next I added the trunk trimming and fastenings. The sugarpaste used was yellow, this was turned to a bronze-gold colour by mixing coloured lustre dust with clear alcohol and then painting this on top of the yellow – I think the finish is very effective and remarkably easy to achieve.
To position the feet of “The Luggage” I had carved a 1cm chunk from each side of the bottom of the cake and then sat individually modelled sugarpaste feet into the recess. The whole thing was placed on a rectangular cake board, rolled with a textured pin to create a stone path effect.
I was really pleased with the final result and am happy to report that both Nicola and Paul were delighted with it too!
This particular design could easily be adapted for other themes – for example, Harry Potter. If you’re tempted to do something similar you may be interested to know I purchased most of my sugar pasting ingredients from Squires Kitchen online and the Silverwood tin can is found on a number of web-sites including
As for the wedding cake challenge – well, watch this space!