|The finished cake|
|The Base for the cake|
I had several people question whether it would look funny, but I was able to show them several examples of various aspects of the cake idea. I spent a fair amount of time trying to figure out the best way to accomplish the look of bark without having to pipe it at the location. I knew that I would only have a limited amount of time to put the cake together and decorate it. I didn't want to have the wedding finish and not have the cake finished.
|Pinecones from modeling chocolate|
I started by getting the base for the cake. My brother lost a lot of trees to a tornado 2 years ago. Those tree trunks have been stacked in a pile and have had time to dry. I asked one of my brothers to cut a slice off of the end of one log and he very sweetly agreed to do so. I tried to use a belt sander to smooth it out and broke 2 belts due to moisture. After buying a new belt for the belt sander, my husband very sweetly agreed to sand it for me. After he finished sanding the top and bottom smooth, I used Danish oil and put multiple coats on the wood. Unfortunately it didn't dry an much as I would have hoped. I compensated by covering the top with a layer of plastic wrap.
|First layer of the "bark"|
My first steps for the actual cake was to make the chocolate "bark." I took my chocolate to my parents house. My mom has a granite counter top and I knew it would make a difference. I melted the dark and milk chocolate on two sides of the same plate. This allowed me to mix the two without loosing the color difference. I used a small icing spatula to spread the chocolate in strips in a large piece of parchment paper. By the time I had the paper filled up, the first one I placed were already cool and ready to pull off the paper. This gave me thin strips of narrow chocolate.
While I was at my folks house I also made some modeling chocolate. Fir this I also needed the granite counter tops. I will post on this soon. I used the modeling chocolate to make the pinecones for decorating the tree side of the cake. I will post on these with the modeling chocolate.
|Cake topper made from chocolate|
|Close-up of tree side|
Saturday morning I loaded everything up and took the cake and everything I thought I might need for decorating the cake and took it all to the location. Once I arrived I started by placing the wood on the table and covering it with plastic wrap. I started stacking the layers. I had already placed the posts the night before so it was just a matter of stacking them. I did however decide to stack the layers offset. Since the layers were 6", 8" and 10" I decided to give myself a little more room on the front side to decorate.
|Tree side of the cake|
As soon as I got all of the layers stacked, I got started on the decorating. I started with the tree side of the cake. I placed a layer of the chocolate 'bark" all the way around the side of the cake on all three layers. Once the first layer was in place I started adding the second layer. I used a piping bag to pipe a thin line down the center of the pieces of chocolate before placing the pieces offset from the first layer. After the "bark" was all in place I piped some of the filling on the top of each layer and dragged a toothpick through the filling to simulate tree rings. Then I placed the pinecones on the side.
To cover the dividing line between the two sides, I planned to use a fondant drape. I took the fondant and the rolling pin with me so that the fondant would not dry out. I laid out wax paper on the table. I kneaded the fondant until it was smooth, then I rolled it out on the wax paper. I rolled out a 4" wide strip that was long enough to go from the middle of the cake all the way down the side. I crimped it down the length before placing it on the side of the cake like a drape.
|Close-up of gown side pearls|
Last but not least I added a row or icing pearls at the base of each layer. I used the cream cheese for the dress side and I used the filling for the tree side.
|Close-up of fondant divider|
The cake received rave reviews from those at the reception. And of course that totally follows my theory of what is important in any cake including a wedding cake. If it doesn't taste good it is not worth making. As usual I made the cakes and icing from scratch.