Birch Log Cake! Learn how to make this wintry, birch cake that looks just like a natural birch branch with a simple step-by-step tutorial by our contributors, Mary and Brenda Maher of Cakegirls.
Around this time of year the snow starts falling and baking season begins. As a baker, this means dozens of cookies and lots of seasonal cakes. Sometimes it’s fun to bake up your family’s traditional recipes and sometimes it’s fun to mix it up a bit. Well, in this case, we used the classic ubiquitous yule log as our inspiration and literally turned it on its side to create this more modern Winter Birch Log Cake.
This winter tree look-alike starts with three 6″ cake layers to make a really tall layered cake. You can use any cake flavor you like, but we were partial to this chocolate truffle cake. A tall cake means you have plenty of room to display your birch tree design on the sides and creating the tree bark is deceptively simple. It starts by painting dark chocolate melted candy coating in a birch tree inspired pattern and then layering it with a thin layer of white coating on top. Once firm, you can easily break the sheet of bark into shards to layer and decorate the sides of your cake. To make the snowy winter forest theme complete, we’ve added a few whimsical woodland cake novelties to add a focal point.
BIRCH LOG CAKE
a tutorial by Cakegirls
Bake your favorite 6″ round cake recipe. Make frosting then tint one cup of icing light brown, leaving the rest white. If making an 8″ round or larger cake, you will need to make two or more batches of the following birch bark.
Fill and crumbcoat your cake and place it in the fridge for 30 minutes or so, until firm. Remove from the fridge and frost just the sides of the cake in white buttercream, leaving the top empty. This doesn’t have to be perfectly smooth because you’ll be covering it with birch bark soon.
Frost the top of the cake with the light brown buttercream. Take a tapered spatula or butter knife and create circular grooves in the brown icing to mimic tree rings.
Cover a half sheet tray in parchment paper. Melt 4 ounces of Dark Chocolate Candy Coating on half power in the microwave, stirring every 30 seconds until melted. Do not overheat the coating or it could burn.
Using a paintbrush, paint knots of a tree, striations, stripes and little dots on the paper to mimic a birch tree. Fill the entire tray with pattern because you’ll need the entire tray. If your brush starts to harden, wipe the brush clean before continuing. Place your painted tray in the fridge for 2 minutes, just to chill the chocolate pattern.
Melt the 12 ounce bag of white candy coating. Then, let the white coating cool until it’s not at all warm to the touch, but still melted. 10 minutes or so.
Remove tray from refrigerator and spread all the white coating across the pan, working left to right, filling the tray entirely. The layer will look fairly thin, which is okay. Place the tray back in the fridge for 10 minutes to firm up.
Remove the chilled tray from refrigerator. Place the short end of the tray toward you. Lift the parchment paper and simultaneosly use both hands to break the sheet into large strips of bark. Don’t fret if it breaks into shards instead of strips. They’ll still work on the side of the cake.
Place the strips of bark on the sides of the cake, using some extra buttercream to adhere them if necessary. We overlapped them to get them to fit but place them on the cake however you think looks best!
Spread a little buttercream on the pine trees so they look snowy. Place trees, deer and mushroom on top of cake to finish.