There are many ways to create a tree stump or log cake. In this video, I show you how I hand painted the cake with moss and sugar mushrooms too.
A Hand Painted Tree Stump cake for a 77th Birthday celebration; to symbolize strength and age.
I love creating wood effects on cakes, cake boards, and edible decorations. I have made a few recently and in many different variations too.
Personally, I love using the airbrush to create the wood grain. However, most often my students don't have an airbrush. This is a nice and easy way to create a tree stump effect with just hand painting. Don't worry you don't need to be an expert at painting this cake.
As I said before there are many different ways to make the wood effect on cake. You can make it using a texture mat and you can create the effect with a simple dresden tool. I used my Sugar Sharpers for this - you know now I cannot do without them.
Useful tips and tools
- You will need a cake board for the bottom of the cake.
- You will need two cake circles. One for the top and one for the bottom. Make sure they are both the same size. They must be firm and not bend or flex.
- Tall metal bench scrapers are best if you ganache cakes often.
- A right angle will help make sure your cake is straight.
- A leveler works great to ensure that your cake is leveled. A level cake is especially important when you have stacked cakes.
- Use a straight spatula for the sides and an off-set spatula for the top.
- 2 x cake layers - see 50 plus layer cake recipes
- Buttercream Frosting - see 30 plus buttercream frosting recipes
- Simple syrup to keep the cakes moist
- Cake Decorators Chocolate Ganache for cake decorating - Dark or
- Cake Decorators White Chocolate Ganache
Note - For cakes that need to be covered with fondant, I use my cake decorators chocolate ganache or cake decorators white chocolate ganache. The ratio of cream to chocolate is different in these with more chocolate and less cream. The Classic White and Dark chocolate ganache are good but they stay soft so are not the best for cake with fondant.
Below I have two videos
- The first is cake basics - how I torte, fill, and frost the cake with ganache using the top and bottom board method
- The second shows from the time I covered the cake in fondant, creating the wood grain impression, hand-painting, grass, moss, and edible mushrooms
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- Buttercream ruffle cake tutorial
- Doughnut cake tutorial
- Pink sunset cake
- Gel food colors
- 1 kg White Fondant
- 200 grams Green fondant
- Bake and cool your cakes. I usually make sure I have at least two layers each 2 inches tall so the finished cake is a minimum of 4 inches tall.
- If you like to trim the caramelization off your cakes make sure to bake more cake or taller layers so you have 2-inch after trimmings
- Sometimes I even freeze the cake for half an hour so it's firmer to work with.
- Two cake drums the same size as the cake. For example, if you baked a 6-inch cake then use two 6-inch cake drums.
- Keep one drum for the bottom of the cake. Wrap the top drum in a sheet of ziplock plastic bag as shown in the video (read notes above) - Set aside for now
Level, torte and fill cake
- Level the cake layers - cut the domes off the cake using a bread knife or cake leveller
- Torte each layer into two horizontally
- Place one cake board on the cake drum with a little ganache to help keep it in place.
- Simple syrup each layer with a pastry brush
- Add a big dollop of buttercream or ganache on each layer.
- Spread with a straight-edged spatula
- Place the next layer on top followed by more frosting until you have stacked all four layers
- Use a cake level to ensure the cake is leveled. You may need to press down on the side that is higher to help shimmy the frosting around.
- Then use two bench scrapers on either side of the cake to ensure the sides are straight. (just so the layers are not peaking out)
- Place the cake in the fridge for 10 minutes - the frosting will set and the layers won't move when you are frosting the outside.
- Trim the outside edge if necessary - you can see me do this in my video - This ensures the sides are straight.
Frost the top
- Put a large dollop of ganache on top of the cake. Spread it evenly with an offset spatula.
- Place the plastic-lined cake drum on top. Use a leveler to ensure it is leveled. Use two bench scrapers to ensure the top and bottom boards are lined as well.
- Place in the fridge to chill for 20 to 30 minutes. Tip- Chilling it now is important, so the top won't move while we frost the sides.
Frost the sides
- Crumb coat the cake - Use a straight-edge spatula to frost the sides. I like to first add a thin layer all around so the crumbs set in.
- Then continue to add more ganache all around the cake with a straight-edge spatula.
- Use a bench scrapers and smooth the sides.
- Continue to add and smooth the sides first using a bench scraper.
- Place the cake in the fridge for at least 4 hours. It is important that the cake be very chilled before the next step. You want the ganache to be hard!
Remove the top board
- Now, add a big dollop of ganache on the top and smooth with a spatula. Use the bench scraper again to smooth the top and sides.Tip - Because the cake is chilled it is now easy to smooth the sides and top easily.
- You may have a little extra ganache lip on the top edges which can be removed with a knife.
- Chill the cake again until ready to decorate.
Cover the cake in fondant
- Brush the ganache cake with water making sure to get every inch of the cake to prevent air pockets
- Roll the fondant on a lightly dusted work surface dusted (cornstarch and powdered sugar)
- Drape on the cake, secure the edges first. Then smooth the sides. Cut off excess at the bottom with a pizza wheel.
- Use a fondant smoother to smooth the sides. Prick any air pockets with a needle or acupuncture needle. For this cake, you do not need sharp edges.
Impress the cake
- Use a woodgrain impression mat and press it on the side of the cake.Tip - I like to place the mat against the cake and use my fondant smoother to press firmly
- Next, mark the circular wood marks on the top of the cake
- Make a few cuts or dents on the top edge (wood is not smooth on the top) see video
- First, brush the entire cake with ivory mixed in alcohol. You want a light shade. Do this on the top and side.
- Next, use a little darker shade by adding a little Coppertone to the ivory. Pain the sides of the cake. This time do not cover the whole surface. Leave a few places with the lighter color showing.
- Then, use a darker shade adding with a little brown to the ivory. Again do not cover the entire surface. Try to create shades of the three colors
- Let the pain dry for a few hours before you continue so you don't get finger impressions on it.
Finish the cake
- Next, marble the green with a little white to create the grass and moss.
- I used light green fondant for the moss and painted it with green.
- I used white fondant to make the mushrooms and dusted them with a little brown to create dirt
Tips for decorating a cake with ganache
- Make sure you are using the right ganache recipe for the right project.
- The ganache should be a peanut butter consistency easy to spread.
- Too thick and it will be hard to spread, too thin will be a messy job.
- Make sure to chill the layers as suggested. Chilling will make your ganache process easier.
- Use a bench scraper dipped in hot water to get smooth sides.
- And a spatula dipped in hot water to smooth the top.
- Use a cake board and dowels if you stack layers more than 6-inch tall.
The nutrition information and metric conversion are calculated automatically. I cannot guarantee its accuracy. If this data is important to you please verify with your trusted nutrition calculator. Thank you