Gumpaste Birch Tree Tutorial

The stunning, nature-inspired cover cake of the January 2013 issue of Cake Central Magazine has been a favorite of ours for nearly a year. Now that chilly autumn season has returned, we are reminded of cakemaker Veronica Arthur’s innovative gumpaste birch tree technique.


On her woodland wedding-themed cake, Veronica innovatively incorporated nature without relying on floral motifs. “I’ve always been inspired when I see beautiful photos of white birch trees against the sunset and I love trying to replicate nature and textures in sugar,” she said of her cover cake inspiration. 

We asked Veronica to share the technique behind her eye-catching woodland scene. Read on to find out how she did it!

ecp-large-duskforestwedding_loveandconfection568 (54)



Styrofoam cake dummy
Black gel color
Wooden Skewers
Paper covered wire
Petal dust (light silver and charcoal gray)
Small paint brushes
Fondant crimper
Wire cutters




Cut a 4″ piece of wire and wrap it around the blunt end of the skewer.


Roll out a gumpaste snake almost the same length of the skewer with wire attached.


Now use your finger to flatten out the snake.


Using a paintbrush dipped in vodka, completely moisten the skewer and wire. Place it on the flattened piece of fondant leaving 3-4 inches hanging off and press it down slightly.


Moisten the fondant with vodka all around the skewer.


Now pinch the fondant together to cover the skewer and wire.


Roll it with your hands to smooth the fondant onto the skewer…


Roll the wired end to a point and curve it to look like a natural tree branch.


For the rest of the branches cut five 4″ pieces of wire. Make a small gumpaste snake and flatten it out.


Using a paint brush dipped in vodka moisten the wire. Slightly press it into the flattened gumpaste snake leaving about an inch hanging off.


Slightly bend the branch where the fondant stops. Bend branch to look natural.


Moisten the exposed wire and surrounding gumpaste with vodka. Carefully stick the wire into the main trunk making sure to push the wire down alongside of the wooden skewer. Gently press the gumpaste into the main trunk and smooth out the seams applying more vodka if needed. Carefully bend branch to look natural.


Continue adding each branch working out and smoothing the seams with your fingers or using a fondant tool.


Using a small curved crimper, crimp the knots into the bark.


Now paint the crimped knots with black gel color.


Here are the shades of silver I used.


Using a small paint brush and 2 shades of silver, paint stripes along the bark.


Like this.


The finished tree trunk. Now just add tiny leaves in whatever color you choose!


Veronica Arthur runs With Love & Confection — A Sweet Boutique in Powdersville, South Carolina, US. See more of Veronica’s work at

Comments (1)


I love this cake, i loved it from the day i saw it so when the opportunity came to make birch trees for a cake i jumped at it but i have had nothing but problems with the technique described. The first part of the instructions worked but attaching branches to the stick that is covered with gum paste did not work. the wire would flop all over. i eventually peeled off the part of the tree that needed the branches attached and taped the branches to it and then covered with fondant. this just did not seem like this was going to work.