Tag Archives: Technique

Cake Design Tutorial: Silk Clutch Bag (advanced).

Some time ago I helped a friend make a cake design tutorial. Although it’s definitely not a simple one, actually quite complicated, we decided to put it online anyway. Laura made a very sleek silk clutch bag cake design and it took several pictures and steps to be able to partially explain the process. We did our best, we hope you enjoy it. Feel free to comment on this post.

If you wish to see more of Laura Barcellonio’s cake design visit her facebook page : https://www.facebook.com/pages/Cake-Deluxe/265825503502411?fref=ts

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Silk Clutch Bag Cake

Designed by Laura Barcellonio


The material used:
A chopping board and a wide, pointed knife (small size)
A pizza or pastry cutting wheel (with a straight blade)
A metal working board to use as a cut mat and a cutting knife (a scalpel)
paper, pencil and scissors
Basic kitchen tools, a silicone spatula and a food brush
Few toothpick and straws
A base for cakes (a thick cardboard coated ) and a white ribbon

For the cake:

1 kg white sugar paste for the cake, plus 500 g for the base

ivory and black food colouring, (and edible pearl food dust optional)

vanilla buttercream

A sponge or a madeira cake ( quite thick)

A few raw pieces of spaghetti

Coloring the sugar paste:

Take 1 kg of white sugar paste. Using a toothpick, start mixing some ivory food colouring with a small amount of white sugar paste. Increase the amount of white sugar paste until you get the desired colour. Take a small piece of ivory paste and add the black color (just a little) , to create a uniform grey paste.


Preparation of the pieces to dry:

With the ivory paste shape and cut the handle of the bag. Make 6 grey pearls (1 cm in diameter each) and insert them, three at a time, into two small pieces of spaghetti.


Then shape two grey drops, just a little bit bigger than the pearls. Let all the pieces dry for about an hour.


Cake shaping technique.

Using tracing paper, draw and cut the outlines of your clutch bag. Draw the base of the bag (22 x 12 cm, considering the widest points) , and the side ( 22 x 18 cm, considering the maximum width and height),then cut out your sketches. Take the sponge cake, mark the base and cut out two equal pieces in order to overlap them.

Untitled 1

You can use part of the buttercream to make the filling. Following the outline of your drawings, cut the cake until you obtain the desired shape.

Coat crumb with plenty of butter cream and put the cake to cool in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.

Roll out some ivory paste with a rolling pin, until you have a thin sheet, then cut out a rectangular shape and place it gently over the cake.

Untitled 2.1

Cut a trapeze out of the sugar paste sheet and use the straws to calculate 9 folds. Now shape the folds with your fingers and cut out any excess paste. Brush one side of the cake with water and cover it with the sugar paste layer. Repeat this procedure to cover both sides.



Cut another two smaller trapezoids and calculate 6 folds for each piece. Shape the folds, brush the surface, and apply the trapezoids to the small sides.


For the handle:

Roll out the grey sugar paste, shape a small thick sheet and cut out two narrow strips, equal in size. Moisten the part on top of the cake with water, then place and mould the strips.

Take the two pieces of spaghetti with the pearls, pierce the grey stripes and place the handle on top of the cake. Using two pieces of spaghetti place the two drops in the center (see the final picture).


For roses:

Roll out a thin sheet of ivory sugar paste ( 25 cm x 10 cm). Fold the sheet in half and roll it up to shape a rose. Remove any excess paste. Pierce the back of the rose with a small piece of spaghetti and place the rose on the cake.


For the base:

Roll out a large chunk of ivory paste and cover the entire base of the cake. Roll out some thin stripes of white sugar paste, then fold them to create a fabric-like effect on the base of the cake.

Use a white ribbon to cover the edges. Place the cake on top of the base and brush the surface of the clutch bag with a pearl food colour powder,  diluted in a little bit of alcohol (this step is optional).


Some tips to keep your sourdough in good shape!

My sourdough is one year old! I keep it strong and healthy in a nice big jar in the fridge. I usually feed it once a week (or refresh it, as we say) , but the refreshment time varies depending on my needs. I’ve never had any problems with my natural yeast, however, at times, it’s possible that the yeast becomes sourer, or less responsive to leavening, therefore less active. These elements depend on many factors. There are some steps you can take to keep your sourdough in the best shape and correct any of problems. Of course, if you want a sour product, in order to let the bacteria produce acidity you have to do the opposite of what is indicated below.

To increase the leavening strength:

⁃ increase the temperature during leavening

⁃ decrease the ratio refreshments / flour

⁃ increase the ratio water / flour

⁃ increase humidity

In case of over-acidity:

⁃ change the type of flour (change microflora)

⁃ decrease the rising time

⁃ decrease ratio refreshments / flour

⁃ decrease the amount of water with the flour (to make a harder dough)

⁃ lower the temperature of the dough


Some of this information belongs to the teaching material of the Cereal Technology Course at Parma University (Italy), courtesy of Prof. Franco Antoniazzi.

Come mantenere il lievito madre al meglio.

Il mio lievito madre ha un anno di vita! Lo tengo in un vasetto di vetro nel frigorifero e lo rinfresco generalmente una volta a settimana, ma a volte anche più spesso se ne uso in grandi quantità. Non ho mai avuto grossi problemi, ma è possibile che il lievito naturale a volte diventi più acido, oppure sia meno reattivo alla lievitazione, questo dipende da molti fattori. Ci sono comunque degli accorgimenti che si possono adottare per mantenere il lievito madre al meglio e correggere eventuali anomalie.

Interventi sui rinfreschi del lievito naturale.

Per aumentare la forza lievitante:

  • aumentare la temperatura di lievitazione
  • diminuire il rapporto rinfreschi/farina
  • aumentare il rapporto acqua/farina
  • aumentare l’umidità

Interventi in caso di acidità eccessiva:

  • cambiare tipo di farina (microflora diversa)
  • diminuire i tempi di lievitazione
  • diminuire i rapporti rinfreschi/farina
  • diminuire la quantità di acqua rispetto alla farina (impasto più duro)
  • abbassare le temperature degli impasti

Alcune delle informazioni riportate in questo articolo, fanno parte del materiale didattico del corso di Tecnologia dei Cereali dell’Univeristà di Parma, per gentile concessione del Prof. Franco Antoniazzi.