by Heather Harris Brady
Fancy party cakes are some of the most fun you can have as a baker. This box cake is very versatile for lots of occasions – you could fill it with baby shoes, flowers, candies, more cookies, golf balls, whatever. However, if it’s a cake for a fashion-loving tween whose birthday happens to be on the day of the Oscars, well then you get gold-chocolate high heels.
Now I know I could have used fondant, but I used to do wedding cakes and I learned something about myself, namely: I hate watching people skin their slices of cake before they eat it. Plus, it’s kind of expensive. If I’m doling out $15 for a pound of something that something had better be chocolate. So this cake is entirely edible and entirely delicious, except for the optional ribbon and the waxed paper.
If you’re interested in making the high heels, you need a chocolate mold like this one. It was a super-busy weekend and I made this cake in just over two hours. If I had more time I would have made a nice cakeboard, but sometimes you have to go with what you’ve got and make the best of it. Just pretend the cookie sheet in the pictures below is actually a white cakeboard.
Shoebox Celebration Cake, About 16 servings
- One 13 x 9 cake layer of your choice
- Two batches of chocolate ganache
- Two packages of sugar wafer cookies (there should be 30+ cookies in each package)
- Cake board (white foamcore or sturdy cardboard)
- Something to fill the box, your choice
- Optional: White royal icing for details
Cut the cake layer in half so you have two 6.5″ x 9″ sections. Place one in the middle of your cakeboard, then lay out your box, reserving extra cookies in case of breakage. The sides should take 27 cookies, with another 20 for the box top – as you will see below. Set all the cookies aside.
Stack and ice the layers with about 2/3 of the ganache, then add a ring of cookies around the bottom. Press them in so they will harden to the ganache but keep them square.
Build your box on top of the bottom ring, pressing the cookies in as you go. I noticed too late that the cookies have different patterns on each side, so you can alternate cookie sides too if you want.
Now add a second ring of cookies to the bottom for the box top.
Put the rest of the ganache in a pastry bag and cover the box top.
Now the fun part! Fill the box. I added some torn sheets of wax paper for the tissue and put the chocolate shoes in.
Then I painted the shoes with gold luster dust and added some royal icing trim to the box top, as well as the top edge of the box.
I cut the corners off a graham cracker to make a Happy Birthday price tag with the rest of the royal icing. I added a grosgrain ribbon bow around the box for decoration, but the ganache hardens quickly and the box easily stood by itself. However, if it’s warm or you’re transporting the cake, the ribbon is extra insurance.
This is how it looks from the top.
A close-up of the shoes, dark chocolate brushed with gold dust.
To serve you can use the wafers as a cutting guideline. I cut down the middle the long way first, and I cut each half into slices.