Today, we’re having Show & Tell. 🙂
I made something kinda cool, and I want to share it with you all!
Some wonderful friends of mine recently started a local publication called Wolftree. It’s a publication “that aspires to encourage and share the stories of sincere artists, dreamers, and adventurers of the Midwest.” It’s pretty darn neat. Go check it out! Maybe even think about buying it… 🙂
Last weekend was the launch party of Wolftree’s volume 1, and I was presented with the exciting and challenging opportunity to make a cake for the party. Brooke, my friend and one of Wolftree’s creators, asked me, “Could you do an actual tree cake?! Earthy like?!” My first thought was, “Oh dear… I don’t know if I have the skills or tools to do that.”
However, I did lots of research– mostly scouring pages and pages of tree cakes on CakeCentral.com– and the dim light began to grow brighter, giving me hope that I could do this. I wrote down all the ideas I could think of and narrowed it down to the best one: Make the trunk out of rice krispies covered in chocolate, and use angel food cake for the leafy top.
What do you think? Did I do okay?
It was quite a long process, and there were many moments of doubt, but I knew that even if it didn’t turn out perfectly, I would give it my very best shot. To be honest, though, staring at that obviously-not-a-tree form in the beginning stages, it was a little disheartening. I’m no arborist, and I really didn’t know if I’d be able to make that ugly green mass look like a tree.
Fortunately, there was reassurance in knowing that at least it couldn’t look any worse. Haha. I also had some rock solid encouragement and motivation from my better half. Thanks for keeping me going, Rob. 🙂
So if you’re wondering how I made a tree out of cake, here’s a bit more detail for you.
- First, Rob so kindly engineered the structure that would hold everything up. Two wooden circles and a wooden dowel were connected with screws and gorilla glue. Though it’s not pictured, I then wrapped it all in tin foil to keep things sanitary.
- Next, I mixed green food coloring into angel food cake and baked it in varying sizes.
- While the cakes were baking and cooling, I made some rice krispie treats by simply stirring the cereal into melted marshmallows. Then, with wet hands, I formed the cereal around the dowel into a shapely trunk.
- After the cakes had cooled, I tore off any browned edges and arranged the layers to mimic a treetop. The underside of the bottom-most cake layer was cut away slightly to fit over and cover up the top wooden circle which it was resting on.
- Here comes the trickiest part. Using a combination of snipping with scissors and tearing with my fingers, I pruned the cake. It’s harder than it sounds.
- When the cake/treetop had a nice shape to it, I added accents with gel food coloring and a pastry brush. It really made a difference, don’t you think?
- The tree’s roots came next. They’re just made of more rice krispie treats.
- To make the bark, I melted chocolate chips, stirred chocolate frosting into it, and added some light grey cream cheese frosting to make the color more realistic. Using melted chocolate is actually what created the “bark” look; that didn’t even require any special technique. Since chocolate solidifies as it cools, but frosting doesn’t really, the combination of the two was perfect for the texture I wanted.
- Lastly, I used some leftover buttercream and dyed it green to make the grass with the grass tip on a piping bag.
Since this tree didn’t much have a whole lot to offer hungry guests at the party, I also made some cupcakes to go with it. I made Lemon Cupcakes with Vanilla Bean Buttercream and Vanilla Bean Cupcakes with Cookie Dough Frosting.
Words can’t explain how joyous I was to be, for the first time ever, baking with REAL VANILLA BEANS. My gosh. So much excitement. Seeing all those little black specks in the batter and smelling that, sweet, pure aroma… I was in vanilla bean heaven. SO GOOD. The Lord has blessed me richly. 😀
Here’s everything all put together at the party!
(It’s just a little Instagram phone picture, so sorry for the less-than-fantastic quality.)
Well, I think that’s about it. And, um, I also think this is my longest post thus far…
If you actually made it all the way through, I commend you!
If you have any questions or comments on this creation, or if you want to share something you’ve created, add to the comments below!
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