MeghFarr Posted 4 Jul 2013 , 4:30pm
post #1 of

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!!

48 replies
Sweet_Cakes Posted 4 Jul 2013 , 8:00pm
post #2 of

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

DeniseNH Posted 4 Jul 2013 , 10:40pm
post #3 of

I love yours, here's mine.

birchbarkbest1WEB13.jpg

MeghFarr Posted 5 Jul 2013 , 3:20am
post #4 of

ABeautiful Denise!!! I love the curls of bark!!!

bct806 Posted 5 Jul 2013 , 4:31am
post #5 of

Wow. Thanks! That is amazing!

keystone Posted 6 Jul 2013 , 4:09pm
post #6 of

Awesome.  Thanks!

kitycat Posted 10 Jul 2013 , 6:10am
post #7 of

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??

sweetelegance12 Posted 11 Jul 2013 , 8:37pm
post #8 of

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 

I love yours, here's mine.

birchbarkbest1WEB13.jpg

DeniseNH Posted 11 Jul 2013 , 9:09pm
post #9 of

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

bct806 Posted 13 Jul 2013 , 1:48am
Quote:
Originally Posted by sweetelegance12 

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.

DeniseNH Posted 13 Jul 2013 , 3:07am

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

much2learn Posted 30 Jul 2013 , 8:26pm

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?

kitycat Posted 30 Jul 2013 , 8:46pm

thank you for all you're help this is how my practice came out

 

 

 

 

zeezy51 Posted 13 Aug 2013 , 11:57am

AHi 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 :)

DeniseNH Posted 13 Aug 2013 , 12:13pm

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.

zeezy51 Posted 13 Aug 2013 , 12:21pm

Thank you so much for sharing this tutorial. I have a question....might be a stupid one but what do you mean by "lighter pressed them into the large piece of fondant". I am not sure what you mean by lighter pressed?? I am assuming it's a form of technique that makes it have that ribbed effect around the snake??
 

ApplegumPam Posted 13 Aug 2013 , 12:27pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by zeezy51 

Thank you so much for sharing this tutorial. I have a question....might be a stupid one but what do you mean by "lighter pressed them into the large piece of fondant". I am not sure what you mean by lighter pressed?? I am assuming it's a form of technique that makes it have that ribbed effect around the snake??
 


I think that is merely a type and it should read.....   LIGHTLY pressed

 

Ribbed effect could be achieved quite simply with a toothpick

zeezy51 Posted 13 Aug 2013 , 12:44pm

Thanks so much! That's what I thought too but wasn't sure if it was some kind of technique that I have never seen. I am new here on Cake Central but I am addicted already! Hahaha. Love how there seems to be answers to everything. Not sure how I've done some cakes without this site. :)  Thanks for your help!!
 

ellavanilla Posted 6 Sep 2013 , 6:53pm

i haven't worked much with fondant, but this cake inspires me! thanks for the fab tutorial!

CamilleBianca Posted 30 Dec 2013 , 2:40pm

A

Original message sent by zeezy51

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 :)

Hi, I know this is late, but seeing from the picture, you can probably do the curling bark from modeling chocolate (Craftsy class) or gumpaste that was cut and curved with something like toilet paper roll and left to dry, then painted to match the stump. It doesn't look all that complicated.

Sweet Regards :)

DeniseNH Posted 30 Dec 2013 , 2:53pm

This is a method I developed for myself after many months of experimentation.  This one cake is my most requested and I've been told that no one can do it quite like I do, so I hate to be The Grinch but I'm not ready yet to divulge the secret.  Just think "extra strong gumpaste" and you should be fine.

CamilleBianca Posted 30 Dec 2013 , 3:22pm

A

Original message sent by DeniseNH

This is a method I developed for myself after many months of experimentation.  This one cake is my most requested and I've been told that no one can do it quite like I do, so I hate to be The Grinch but I'm not ready yet to divulge the secret.  Just think "extra strong gumpaste" and you should be fine.

I think it's totally fine to keep methods to yourself!! And there's more than one way to skin a, well, you know. :)

maggsg Posted 21 Jan 2014 , 4:01pm

Love this cake, thank you so much for sharing!!

 

Simply Cakes By Nona

savannahquinn Posted 22 Jan 2014 , 2:03am

OK dumb question, but what coloring do you use for the white?

DeniseNH Posted 22 Jan 2014 , 2:34am

I don't quite know what you mean.  The base of the cake is plain old white fondant - marshmallow fondant.  Is that what you mean.

savannahquinn Posted 22 Jan 2014 , 3:17am

AThe white food coloring , what kind is it? Thanks For posting ... Your cake is fabulous!

MBalaska Posted 22 Jan 2014 , 3:20am

Quote:

Originally Posted by CamilleBianca 

I think it's totally fine to keep methods to yourself!! And there's more than one way to skin a, well, you know. icon_smile.gif

CamilleBianca:

A bear, it's a bear isn't it? 

:P  It was nice to see that you were looking at the photo and reasoning out how it could be done without someone having to spoonfeed it one bit at a time. ♦ Good For you ♦

DeniseNH Posted 22 Jan 2014 , 3:31am

Sorry, I never used white food coloring on my birch bark cake. 

momof5chaps Posted 4 Mar 2014 , 3:41pm

Thank you so much for posting this.... It definitelty gives me a place to start!!!! I really appreciate the detail you put into your post and I am grateful for your thoughtfulness in posting to help others. I cant wait to try this out! I will post pictures as soon as I can. Thank you again. 

 

And CamilleBianca- I completely agree , everyone does things differently and we each have our own process. Its all in the outcome and making our clients happy !

sugarflorist Posted 4 Mar 2014 , 4:29pm

AJust thought I would add that you can change the colouring to get a cherry bark

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