Using a serrated knife, cut cake layer in half crosswise, making two half-circles. Using a small amount of Creamy White Frosting, sandwich the two half-circles together. Place cake, cut sides down, on a flat serving platter.
If desired, tint the remaining white frosting using food coloring. Spread a thin layer of frosting over the entire cake. Generously frost cake, swirling or piping frosting to make peaks to resemble shaggy fur. Place licorice straws down center of cake where the two half-circles meet.
Place chewy oblong candies in center of cake to make a clasp. For purse handles, place two jelly ring candies on each licorice twist. Insert handles into top of cake. (If handles don't stand up, you may need to insert toothpicks into ends of licorice to anchor them; remove toothpicks before serving.)
Creamy White Frosting
In a large mixing bowl beat shortening, vanilla, and almond extract with an electric mixer on medium speed for 30 seconds. Gradually add 2 cups of the powdered sugar, beating well. Add 2 tablespoons of the milk. Gradually beat in remaining powdered sugar. Gradually add milk until frosting reaches a spreading consistency. Makes about 3 cups.