My First Handbag Cake

1. Bake the cake using a 20cm tin at least a day before you plan to decorate it. 

Notes: If you know your baking isn’t cooked through but it’s looking golden and crusty on top, carefully place a sheet of tinfoil on top of the cake. This will stop it from getting any darker on top but will allow the cake to continue cooking until it’s fully done.

2. Level the cake using a cake leveler if possible, then turn cake over.

3. Cut down through the top of the cake in a straight line and remove one quarter. Stand the cake up on its side, with the cut edge facing downwards.

4. Make the buttercream with a Sno Creme base.

Beat Sno Crème in an electric mixer, using a paddle attachment, until the Sno Creme softens.  Slowly add icing sugar in small batches (so it doesn’t fly out of the mixing bowl), beating in between until combined. Add milk 1 tablespoon at a time, adding extra if needed to make a smooth mixture.

Note: Sno Creme is a colourless vegetable fat that can be used instead of butter for a dairy-free option. It also allows you to create pure white that would otherwise get tainted by the colour of the butter.   Although a different flavour to buttercream, Sno Creme is still delicious. You can buy 500 g packs from your nearest cake decorating store or online.

Put two-thirds of the buttercream aside in another bowl and colour the remaining third pale pink by using the tip of a toothpick to add a tiny amount of red colouring.  Mix well, then continue to add colour until desired tone is reached.

5. Crumb coat the cake by applying a thin layer of white buttercream with a palette knife or offset spatula to achieve a very thin, smooth finish (you should be able to see the cake through the icing). Never wipe excess crumb-coat icing back into the main bowl of icing as it will be full of crumbs and spoil the rest of the icing.

6. Refrigerate cake until dry to the touch.

7. Place the cake on a serving plate. Cover the cake with white buttercream to a smooth finish.

8. To Make The Handbag Flap: Gently push the edge of a 20 cm round cake tin against one side of the cake to make a round indent. Repeat on other side, then make connecting lines on the narrow sides. Using a palette knife, smoothly fill above the indent line on all sides with pale pink buttercream, as shown. (Don’t worry if the edges are slightly messy, as they will be covered by a line of piping.)

Fit the round tip to the piping bag, or just cut a tiny portion off the tip of the bag, and fill the bag with with pale pink buttercream. Pipe along the edges of the pink flap.

Remove the elastic from the candy necklace. Arrange lollies from the candy necklace and smokers lollies into flower shapes. (Each flower consists of either 1 yellow candy necklace centre with 6 smokers petals, or 1 smokers centre with 5 candy necklace petals.) Press the flowers into the buttercream all over the cake.

9. To Make The Handbag Clasp: Use a small amount of white buttercream to stick on 2 yellow logs and then the pink sherbet lolly. 

10. To Make The Handle: Thread the leftover candy necklace lollies onto the floral wire, leaving enough bare wire at each end to push into the cake. Bend the wire into a U shape and insert the ends into the top of the cake. Make sure the wire is pushed deeply enough into the cake that the handle doesn’t flop over.

The Great New Zealand Birthday Cake Book


For buttercream:

250 g Sno Creme

700 g Pams icing sugar

2 tbsp Pams milk (or more if required)

To decorate cake:

Red food colouring

4 candy necklaces

2 x 35 g bags pink smokers lollies

2 yellow logs lollies

1 round pink sherbet lolly

1 piping bag

1 medium round tip (Wilton 4) optional

1 x 40 cm length floral wire