Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Celtic Tree Cake

Posted by Jennifer at 3:23 PM
If ever there was a labor of love, this was it. Terry contacted me about her daughter's upcoming wedding and said she wanted some unique.... really unique. Corrie wanted a Celtic cake with a tree on top. I agreed to do the cake back in January and then after taking the order, I realized that I wasn't sure how I was going to do it. One of my favorite cakers, Bronwen Weber, once said that one should always take the order, no matter how outrageous the request, and then figure out the details later. So about two weeks before the wedding, I started to get a little nervous. Making edible 3-D items I've done many times before but getting tree branches to stay up with flowers and leaves was a whole new challenge.

The top tier was Brownie Lovers (chocolate cake layered with chocolate ganache and a layer of brownies), the middle was Carrot Cake (traditional carrot cake layered with cream cheese frosting), and the bottom tier was Caramel Macchiato Cake (coffee flavored cake layered with caramel cream filling, buttercream and caramel).

Here is a picture of the tree branches, flowers, and leaves taken by Kelsey Beacco (with Kel-Z Photography: For those of you that care about the details, here ya go! Each flower and leaf had to be hand cut and then attached to a separate wire. That task alone took hours but it had to be done to look great. Once I made a ton of leaves, I made a "bunch" by connecting the leaf wires with green flower tape. Now that those were done, I had to start on the tree. I sculpted the base of the tree out of rice krispies and then covered it in buttercream and homemade marshmallow fondant. I streaked the tree first with lines and then layered on the brown color using a paintbrush and brown food coloring.
The branches of this tree were the hard part. Initially, I made branches out of rice krispies and then covered it with fondant. I adhered them to the tree and added the leaves and let the whole thing sit together for a day or so to make sure that it would stay up on its own. The next day (the day before the wedding), I realized that the tree didn't look like a tree and the branches were sagging. Frustrated, angry, and determined, I ripped out the branches and tried again. Instead of using the rice krispies, I simply rolled out "branches" with fondant and again adhered them to the tree. I prayed that it would come together and in the end, I think it totally did. I finally added the leaves and flowers, and popped that sucker onto the top of the cake. I made a few more lines or veins in the tree and branches, and layered some more brown color to make it look even more real. Lastly, I added the "tree-engraved" heart with the initials of the couple that Corrie wanted.

To finalize the cake, I placed patches of grass and flowers around the tree branches that descended down the cake. I piped green buttercream in different areas around the cake and then rolled thin strips of green fondant to cut into grass blades. I added these to the green buttercream patches and placed a few white and pink flowers into the grass. The Celtic pattern on the bottom tier was taken from Corrie's wedding ring pattern and went all the way around the huge 16inch square base of the cake.

At the wedding, the bride came out to see it before the ceremony and told me how much she loved it. Corrie's mom and friend both commented that the cake was "so them!" There's no better compliment I could receive for the cake! So much work but so much fun.


Corrie on June 10, 2010 at 12:39 PM said...

Wow, Thank you so much for putting so much effort into my cake! It was the perfect cake. We loved it! Thanks again!

tree hugger said...

very very very awesome job, bud!!!


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