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Birch Bark Tree Tutorial

post #1 of 41
Thread Starter 

Ok, I've decided to post my progress pictures and descriptive steps to how to make a birch bark tree cake.  When I was looking around for how to do it when this wedding cake came up I never really got a good answer and muddled through the process.  I wanted to help anyone else out who wants to attempt it but, like me, didn't know where to start!  I do want to let you all know that "The People's Cake" has a tutorial on this as well.  They make absolutely stunning cakes so I would always recommend checking them out :)  I'm sure how they do it is completely different but when I made it, their tutorial wasn't out, so this is what I came up with.  

 

Here is my finished product, just to give you an idea of our end goal :)

 

 

 

Ok so here we go!  The first steps is to bake and frost your cakes.  I don't use a crusting buttercream so I had to put mine in the fridge to really firm them up before working with them and stacking them.  Before I stacked them I rolled out a circle of light tan fondant and lay it on top of each tier.  I then went around with scissors and trimmed up any access fondant from the edges.  It doesn't have to be perfect but you will want it as smooth and as close as you can get it!

 

Once the fondant is on each tier, stack them as you usually would :)

 

Here is a close up of the fondant circles that were trimmed.  The fondant I'm holding is what I planned to use for the sides of the cake.  It's a brownish, gray but you could even go a little lighter than this (or more brown depending on the effect you are going for.)

 

 

Once I decided the color I rolled out a strip on fondant wide enough (bigger than 4 inches) and longer than the circumference of the tier I was working on (taking you back to geometry with 2*pi*r).  If your favorite subject wasn't Geometry, like mine was, use a soft tape measure to see how far around your cake is.  It's ok to have more than enough!  Once it was rolled out I used a ruler and trimmed it to the height of the cake.  I used a really sharp knife in order to get a nice clean cut of fondant.  Once it was trimmed, I then began rolling out "snakes" of the same color fondant.  I placed the "snakes" where I wanted them on the cake and then lighter pressed them into the large piece of fondant.   It might be helpful to use a bit of alcohol to attach the "snakes".  I then took my pointed fondant tool and went around the edges of the "snake" blending it into the larger piece.  Once all the way around the snake I used the pointed tool again to press a slash into the center of the "snake".  Be sure to vary it a bit and do smaller slashes and deeper slashes. You need to work a bit quickly to ensure that your long piece of fondant doesn't dry out, you are going to need it to be flexible still!  At this time you can also add knots to your cake.

 

 

After you finish your length of fondant with slashes, bring it to the cake and starting in the back of the cake, start wrapping your piece of fondant around the entire tier.  You will end in back again, gently trim and blend the seam that is there.  After painting it, the seam will be blended even more.  

 

Continue with the other tiers and do the same technique all the way down.  For the carved heart, just form the "snakes" into that shape and do the same steps as above.  Be sure to place the heart in the center of the fondant strip so that it will show up on the front of your cake!

 

These next two steps you may be able to flip flop.  It could be easier that way, but obviously I haven't tried it!  To get the dark slashes I used a thinned out brown food coloring and carefully painted inside each slash.  

 

 

I then took white food coloring and used a wide (2ish inches) brush and painted around the entire cake.  Don't use too much at first, you can always go back and add more but good luck taking it away!  Once the white is done, use an even thinner brown food color and paint around the edge of the slashes.  Below you can see the painted tier and the unpainted tier underneath it.

 

 

 

Do each tier!

 

 

Once it was all done, I decided it needed a little bit of something, so I again used the brown food color to trace the edge of the cake just to make them "pop" and have definition.

 

 

 

I hope I didn't miss anything!  Feel free to ask me any questions you might have!

 

Happy Cake Making!!

post #2 of 41

It looks amazing! I've bookmarked this for future use! Thank you!

For we are God's MASTERPIECE! He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. Ephesians 2:10
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For we are God's MASTERPIECE! He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. Ephesians 2:10
Reply
post #3 of 41

I love yours, here's mine.

birchbarkbest1WEB13.jpg

post #4 of 41
Thread Starter 
Beautiful Denise!!! I love the curls of bark!!!
post #5 of 41

Wow. Thanks! That is amazing!

post #6 of 41

Awesome.  Thanks!

post #7 of 41

AWESOME !! HOW DID YOU DO THE SNAKES?  WOULD I BE ABLE TO MAKE EACH TIER SEPARATE AND STACK THEM ALL LATER AT THE VENUE OR WOULD YOU RECOMMEND ME DO ALL THIS AT THE VENUE??

kittyscakesngoddies

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kittyscakesngoddies

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post #8 of 41

Where did you get your wooden cake stand DeniseNH?! Love it! What did you use to make your branch stumps?

Quote:
Originally Posted by DeniseNH View Post

I love yours, here's mine.

birchbarkbest1WEB13.jpg

post #9 of 41

Cut from trees down back by my husband (I now have 4) and fondant.  Gotta go - heavy cake weekend.

post #10 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by sweetelegance12 View Post

Where did you get your wooden cake stand DeniseNH?! Love it! What did you use to make your branch stumps?

They also sell them on Etsy if you don't want to cut them yourself.

post #11 of 41

Bought one on Etsy - it was an odd shape - really cool.

post #12 of 41

THANK YOU for this information! Exactly what I need as I prepare to make this cake!! How did your fondant not "stretch" after you made the snakes? I would expect it to stretch as you were picking it up from the mat to put it around the cake. Any secrets to this step?

post #13 of 41

kittyscakesngoddies

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kittyscakesngoddies

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post #14 of 41
Hi Denise,

How did you do the curling of the bark on your cake? I have to make one of these cakes this weekend and the bride really wants the curling bark on the cake......and I have no idea how to do it. Can you help please??

Thanks icon_smile.gif
post #15 of 41

I'm usually extra open about all of my techniques but this time I'm sorry - this is one secret I have to keep to myself -  but in due time I'll tell all.  Right now this is the design I'm famous for and my best selling style of cake because no one has figured it out yet - if everyone knew my secrets then I would lose my edge.  Wishing you all the best with your cake.

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