So I was asked by a friend to make her sister’s birthday cake. They wanted a pink zebra purse cake. I can do that! I thought I’d share the process on here of how I did it.
To start with, you will need to bake your cake. I used two 10″ round cakes, you could use 6″, 8″, or even 12″. I don’t think I’d go much bigger than that, I’d worry about it being too heavy. (Side note- I only use cake mixes when decorating cakes because 1. I know they will be delicious and 2. I know the density of the cake, which is important when decorating cakes. You wouldn’t want a super super soft cake that wouldn’t withstand the weight of your icing. 3. It’s easier, duh. And I only use Duncan Hines– they are the best! End of side note. ) They chose a lemon cake for this, and I have to say that it was the most delicious, fluffy lemon cake I have ever tasted. To make the two 10″ cakes, I used two cake mixes. After they have baked, cut the tops off so that they are level and turn onto a cooling rack. Let cool completely.
Next you will need to stack them. Since this cake will be standing up, I did this part on a cookie sheet. Just take one cake layer and place on your cookie sheet baked side DOWN, meaning the crumb side will be facing UP. Spread an even layer of icing over that, making sure you don’t get it too thick. If it is too thick the icing won’t set and you could have a big mess on your hands later when your cake layers come apart.
Place your second cake layer on top of the icing, with the crumb side facing DOWN and your baked side facing UP.
After you have your layers stacked, the next step is to make one side flat so that the cake will stand up. So grab a big bread knife, make sure it’s straight, and hack off the end of it, like this.
Remove the piece that you cut off, we won’t need it. Now, what you do with that leftover cake is up to you– I picked it up and ate it like a lemon/buttercream sandwich. And it was delicious and I don’t regret it for a minute ;-).
Next you will need to dirty ice your cake. This means that you will spread a thin layer of icing all over your cake. It doesn’t matter how this part looks, whether there are crumbs in it or if the cake shows. You will cover this up with another layer of icing later. You do this so that it will set up and your cake will be more stabilized, and so that when you ice your second layer, it should go on smoother with no crumbs. And do you see that gap between the cakes where the icing didn’t fill it up? Take your spatula and squish some icing in that ridge all the way around, then spread it flat. It will make it more even!
You want to make sure to ice the bottom too. It will seal your cake up so that it won’t dry out.
Now just pop it into the fridge for an hour or two, or until the icing is hardened. You want to be able to touch it without any icing coming off on your finger. It will also look a little crusty. This is good.
After your cake is set, you are going to add it to your cake board (or platter). I used this silver cardboard cake board that you can buy at Walmart or Hobby Lobby. It is 12″ wide (for my 10″ cake).
Since this order called for writing on the cake board, I needed to place my cake off center. To do this, I used the biggest spatula I could find and ran it under the cake, making sure there were no stuck pieces. Then I just lifted it up and placed in a a smear of frosting that I put on the board, to help the cake stick. Since your cake has been in the fridge for a few hours, it should be pretty easy to handle.
Then you can dirty ice the back of the cake and then stick it back in the fridge for an hour or so.
Take it back out and put your final layer of icing on. You will want to do this pretty carefully so that you don’t tip your cake over. I use an offset spatula, if you don’t have one, it is worth the $3 or $4!
There! All iced up! The cake will have a lot of lines on it where you spread the icing around, so to get rid of some of those, I have a handy dandy trick. Get a cup of HOT water. Then stick your spatula in the water and let it sit for 10 seconds or so. I traded my small offset spatula out for a large one, but you could use either.
When it is nice and hot, carefully run the spatula over the cake, and you will notice it will almost melt the lines. It makes your cake nice and smooth and will even give it a nice shine.
Then it was time to start adding the zebra stripes. I tinted some icing hot pink and put it into a decorating bag with a small writing tip, like this one–
It’s just a circle. I found a picture online that had pretty easy to replicate zebra stripes and started in! I actually started by doing the small half circle of the top of the cake. That way I could practice a bit before doing the front, which everyone will see. Basically what you want to do is outline a stripe in the pink, then go back in and add a bit more icing to the middle.
I added a solid pink flap to the front to break it up a little. Next time I will probably take the pink across the top part too. To do that part, I just outlined it then piped in some pink all across it and then spread it with my spatula.
For the strap of the purse, I used a large banana laffy taffy candy. Make sure to warm it up in your hands and bend it GENTLY! When you have it how you want, just stick it on down into the cake. I went ahead and piped around the straps too, since it pulls some of the icing in with it.
Then I just had to write my greeting on my board! That’s it!