This tree bark cake tutorial makes a beautiful rustic wedding cake for a woodland themed wedding. It comprises four tiers of cake (12″, 10″, 8″ and 6″ cakes) with the rustic tree bark panels covering the two of the tiers and pretty sugar flowers and foliage to complete the look.
The 12″ and 8″ cakes were first covered in chocolate fondant but you could also simply leave them with a chocolate ganache covering, without the fondant.
For the tree bark panels, we’ve used chocolate fondant again but you could also use modelling chocolate or simply brown fondant, whichever you prefer. We didn’t add Tylo poweder/CMC to our fondant, but depending on the elasticity/texture of your brand or if you live in a hot climate, you may want to add a little Tylo/CMC to “toughen” your fondant.
Depending on what cake size you are using, you will first need to ascertain the circumference of you cake by measuring around it or multiplying the diameter by 3.14. This will give you the length of fondant/tree bark panels you will need to go around your cake.
Tree Bark Cake Tutorial:
- Start by measuring the height of your cake and adding 1/3″ (1cm). Roll out a long strip of fondant to this height. It also needs to be quite thick for the bark panels, approximately 3-4 mm. You will need to roll out several long strips totalling the circumference of the cake to be covered, plus an extra 2-3 inches. But start with one strip first.
2. Using a shell tool or something similar, run the tool vertically down the strip of fondant/modelling chocolate to create a lined texture.
3. Next take an umbrella tool and scrape this along the fondant at different angles to roughen up the fondant and texturize it further. There’s no particular pattern to this – just scrape it haphazardly in every direction to create a rough texture. You can go as crazy as you like with this part!
4. Using a sharp knife, cut out panels approximately 2 inches wide all along the strip.
5. To straighten up the bottom edge of the strip (where the fondant drags down slightly from the cut), use the side of the knife to press against the bottom edge of the fondant to neaten it up again.
6. Using two different shades of dust, a beige/light brown plus a dark brown, dust the panels in different spots with each color to create light and shadow effects. (If you don’t have dark brown dust to hand, use cocoa powder). Leave the panels to firm up overnight, turning after a few hours to let the underside firm up also. The panels don’t have to be set hard to attach to the cake, just firmed up.
7. Attach the panels to the cake using melted chocolate starting at the front of the cake and working your way around each side to the back until you come to the last quarter of the cake to cover. Measure the space the left to be covered versus the width of your panels. For instance, if you have 5 inches left to cover and each of your panels measures about 2 inches, then to fit three panels, trim each of them to 1.66 inches (instead of using two 2 inch panels and one skinny 1-inch panel which will ruin the look of the cake).
8. Finish by decorating the tiers with sugar flowers and foliage. Check out the following tutorials for how to create the flowers:
- easy gumpaste peony tutorial (closed peony)
- quickest ever gumpaste dahlia tutorial
- quick and easy wired hydgrangea tutorial
- easy gumpaste leaves tutorial