Wine Bottle in a Crate Cake

The label is wet in this photo. it dried out later on.
Step 1 – Make the wine bottle out of gumpaste or fondant at least 3 days ahead:
Use a real wine bottle as a mould and dust with cornflour to keep the fondant from sticking to it…a lot of cornflour. Knead some black fondant with Tylose (helps it dry harder and faster), roll it out to about 1/8″ thick, then lay it over the top half of the wine bottle making sure there is plenty of corn starch between the fondant and bottle.  Smooth out the fondant over the bottle and trim off the excess.

I made two bottles just in case one went wrong!!

Tip 1:  Be sure to trim it at the half way mark down the side of the bottle so that you can just slip the fondant off the bottle once dry. You can make 2 halves separately then glue them together with sugar glue if you want a 3D bottle.

Tip 2:  Allow at least 2-3 days for drying time to avoid the fondant losing its shape.

Step 2 – Decorate the bottle:
You can paint the bottle with clear piping gel tinted burgundy (AmeriColor Gel Paste) if you want a shiny glass look but I just left it matte. For the label, I purchased an edible image but you may prefer to paint on the label yourself. Mark the label position before applying and lightly paint the area with water or edible glue.Tip 3:  Pop the edible image in the freezer for 2 minutes before peeling off the backing paper. 
Step 3 – Make the wood panels for the box at least 2 days ahead:
For the side panels of the box, make 2 shades of fondant, a light brown and beige .  Rolled each color out into a thick snake them twist them together and kneaded it a little bit until it started to marble.  Then rolled it out flat to around 3/16″ thick.
Tip 4:  Don’t knead too much or else the marble will blend away.  Rolling it out will help it marble more anyways.
Tip 5:  You don’t want to roll it out too thin or else you risk the panels breaking apart.
Cut out 4 panels:  2 panels at 14″ x 4″ and 2 panels at 6″ x 4″.  Lay them over parchment paper, then over a cookie tray to dry.  Let it sit for about 5 minutes to dry a little then take some tools and score lines down it, poke holes into it, dent it, etc…just stress it out and get it to look like wood.
Tip 6:  Letting the fondant sit for a couple minutes before scoring and marking it, it will help the design stay.  If you start scoring it too early while the fondant is too soft and pliable, the marks will smooth away.
As for the base board, I used a 16″ x 8″ x 9mm thick MDF covered in decorator’s foil, firmly glued down with PVA wood glue.
Step 4 – Bake the cake 2 days ahead.
Dark Chocolate Mud Cake (from Planet Cake Cookbook)
Ingredients for 10″ square cake
330g butter
330g dk choc
35g coffee
240ml water
190g SR
190g plain
75g cocoa
.7tsp bicarb
720g caster
6 eggs
10.5 tsp oil
150ml buttermilk
1800g dark chocolate
900ml pure cream
Dark Chocolate Mud Cake Method
  1. Preheat the oven to 160C. Grease the tin and line the base and sides with a collar that extends 2 cm above the top of the tin.
  2. Put the butter, chocolate, coffee and water in a saucepan and stir over low heat until melted, then remove from the heat.
  3. Sift the flours, cocoa and bicarbonate of soda into a large bowl. Stir in the sugar and make a well in the centre. Add the combined egg, oil and buttermilk and the chocolate mixture, stirring with a large spoon until completely combined.
  4. Pour the mixture into the tin and bake for 2 hours (for 11’5″cake) or until a skewer poked into the centre of the cake comes out clean, though it may be a little sticky. Leave the cake in the tin until cold.
Dark Chocolate Ganache Method
  1. Blitz the chocolate in a processor till each piece is the size of a coffee granule and place in a large bowl
  2. Put the cream in a saucepan and bring to boiling point. Pour the cream over the chopped chocolate and mix with a hand whisk until the ganache is smooth. (Do not use an electric whisk, as you will create too many air bubbles in the ganache.)
  3. Allow to cool completely and then leave to set overnight.

Step 5 – Torte, fill, and crumb coat the cake 1 day ahead.
The side panels of the box were cut to make a box 14″ L x 6″ W x 4″ H.  
Cut the 10″ square Dark Chocolate Mud Cake to fit.  Torte each layer to 1-1/4″ tall and filled with 1/2″ of Dark Chocolate Ganache = 3″ tall cake.  Place the cake over a 14″ x 6″ set up board covered in foil.  Use piping gel to help the cake and board stick together.  Cover the cake with ganache using the board that the cake is sitting on as a guide to getting the correct thickness. Leave the cake overnight to harden and make it easier to work with. 

Step 6 – Final Assembly:
Use a very sharp blade to trim each panel to size, if necessary, and gently press up against the side of the cake using edible glue to stick them on. Gently place the bottle in the middle and fill the area around it with white chocolate shavings.