Suitcase Cake

A family that we are friends with just had the father retire from American Airlines.  I volunteered to do the cake for the retirement party.  I wanted to do something special, and I've seen a lot of designs for suitcase cakes.  It sounded perfect, since he was in the travel industry.

The cake went over really well.  Several people commented that it was some of the best frosting they'd ever had. (see recipe below)
I decide to do my suitcase cake with sugar cookies for travel stickers.  I frosted them with different colors of royal icing, and used chocolate to write names of places I know he's gone.

The cake iteslf is a basic chocolate, frosted with a triple batch of my favorite chocolate buttercream.  The handle and straps are rolled fondant.

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
1/2 c. solid vegetable shortening
1/2 c. butter, softened
1 tsp. clear vanilla extract
4 c. sifted confectioners' sugar (approximately 1 lb.)
½ c. cocoa powder
2 tbsp. milk  
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl.  Beat with an electric mixer until well combined.

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