Most of my work is inspired by fashion, or at least design outside the culinary world. Yet people always ask me to make a cake that looks like their purse. Why do you want to eat your purse! This blog can be a learning tool for you and an outlet of self expression for me:) No more purse cakes! Enjoy!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

A cake fit for McQueen

I couldn't be more excited about this post!  I get much of my inspiration from fashion...duh...but most comes from the house of Alexander McQueen.  I have a bit of an obsession.  Although he is no longer with us, Sarah Burton continues to "wow" the world with her work overseeing the creative direction for the line.  You might recognize her name from the world famous royal wedding.....she made the dress...

Perfection!  She was also named International Designer of the Year in 2012 by Elle UK.  And so his name lives on as well as the over the top looks and impeccable British tailoring......and as for the runway shows...well you can see for yourself.  This is my favorite!!

Here is a short from his biography.....

Alexander McQueen shows are known for their emotional power and raw energy, as well as the romantic but determinedly contemporary nature of the collections. Integral to the McQueen culture is the juxtaposition between contrasting elements: fragility and strength, tradition and modernity, fluidity and severity. An openly emotional and even passionate viewpoint is realised with a profound respect and influence for the arts and crafts tradition. Alexander's collections combine an in-depth working knowledge of bespoke British tailoring, the fine workmanship of the French Haute Couture atelier and the impeccable finish of Italian manufacturing.
Yep that pretty much sums it up. 
The men's line is always amazing as well.  I went to NYC in August....just to play....I'm always going for cake stuff;)  This time though, it was just to hang out.  While there, my friend Pete surprised me with an early Christmas present.....

These babies:)))))  Pete, you are the best!!
I was gonna get these but my face is too small;)

I mean look at that coat!  That could be a cake.....see what I mean!
Okay lets talk about inspiration.  I love the texture of the woven dress here.  So that is where I  want to start.
Also, I couldn't choose just one single look for inspiration.  So I'm using a few and making a cake as my ode to McQueen!
I know I have used the diamond impression mat before but this time I am gonna put a spin on it and try to make the illusion of "woven fabric".

So to start, I cover the cake in this pink fondant and make my impression.  Then deepen the lines with a gumpaste tool. 
Next, I start roughing it up.....but only every other diamond.

So here is part one....finished.  Looks a little cray cray at the moment.....
Now I am taking a different color (this wine color) and rolling it out.

And then I use the same impression mat on this to get my lines.

Now I cut the diamonds apart.
I am going to place them one at a time.  So I keep the others in a plastic bag so they will not dry out.
I paint the back with a little piping gel.

And place it in the untextured diamond space.

Now I texture each one the opposite direction as the diamonds in light pink.

Here is the end result....

Fancy!  Okay let's move on
Here is the next look that I am in love with.  Even in this still shot, you can see the movement of the fabric.  This is why I love fashion shows so much.  This is not a ready to wear look....but it's exciting and makes you want to see more!

I think she stole my sunglasses;)
So for the next cake, I have to create this movement.  Since it's the middle tier, I also want to have a middle piece that draws the eye in.  Oh yeah, it's gonna be a skull.....signature McQueen.  So I made this little skull.  I couldn't really shoot the process....but I just started with a ball and worked it with my fingers and gumpaste tools.....

I am using the pink one.  The grey number was for practice.

For the ruffles, I start by rolling a strip of fondant.  I used fondant because gumpaste would dry too quickly and we need to thin this and work it for a while.

Now I take the small side of the ball tool and thin by pulling out.  But I still leave a thick side to secure it and to make the ruffles seem a little spread apart.

Now flip and ruffle over and do the same technique with the larger side of the ball we don't tear what we already made.

Now I wind it around an object that the skull will fit into and let it dry before gluing to the cake with piping gel.  This will start the foundation for the ruffles.

So you can see I just keep going and changing colors slightly...not really for an ombre thing, but to show variety....

I also added some pearls for the skull's background. And painted them with pearl dust.

Looking good!  If you want to learn more about making ruffles for cake, you should try Maggie Austin's class on (shameless plug:)

Okay.  Now for the last tier!  McQueen has a line of clutches that are amazing.  This one is the Britannia clutch.  I like it because of the flag design.  So I decided that for the top tier I would make my own.  But not an actual purse (lol).

Here is the tier.  I'm not going into detail here because this post is getting long!!  I will show these techniques in a future post, however.

This is the texture underneath.

I used butterflies because of this look....

It's like a butterfly family reunion on her face;) and I love it!

Now for the finishing touches.  I made a little skull and some brass knuckles!

This is the first time I have ever made brass knuckles out of sugar.  Not a surprise.

Here is the middle skull all gussied up!

And here she is all complete!!  Drum roll.....

That's all for now.  Thanks to Pete again for the sunglasses and to Sarah Barton and the McQueen house for inspiring me everyday.  Oh and this won't be the last McQueen post:)

If you want to learn more, you can take my class on the link below!


  1. That is awsome thank u for showing how u did it i really love it :):)

  2. OMG that is awesome. I have just found Craftsy and your blog being from the South Island of New Zealand there is not a lot on offer as far as lessons here so LOVING your blog posts on how you do things and trying to choose which class to take online - think modern piping is wining the race at this stage :-) Thanks so much for your inspiration.

  3. I love how you take inspiration from fashion and turn it into cake. I love how you took the impression mat and did so such with it with the first tier that you talked about. Great job and the brass knuckles are awesome. :-)

  4. As always, your work is amzing!

  5. I'm a huge McQueen fan, as well as a fan of your work & I ADORE this cake. The knuckles on top are spot on & I want to bathe in this cake, no lie!
    Thank you for creating such an awesome piece of art!

  6. Looks like someone liked your cake enough to make it for a competition, but sadly not credit it.

  7. how did you make the rhinestone bling???? I have taken your classes on Craftsy and did not see how to create this. Thank you....your cakes and craft are amazing!!!!

  8. Love your work. So original and talented. Really disappointed to see that some other person has passed off what is clearly, your work, as their own. This was a competition and was supposed to be original, and obviously, she hasn't credited you anywhere.
    I'm so sick of this happening in the cake world. There is quite a difference between inspiration and blatant copying.

  9. OMG I saw your cake, loved it and was horrified to see miss melicious use it for a competition, adding a couple of tiers does not take away from the face it was your cake - and how unfortunate she didn't have enough talent to pull it off!!

  10. I have ALL of his classes on Craftsy! He's just amazingly inspiring and talented with sugar. Thanks for sharing this Josh!

  11. Your creativity never ceases to amaze me...I sooo cannot wait for the tutorial on the top tier and brass knuckles....while Alexander McQueen inspires, Joshua John Russell inspire me. :D

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