Spring Wreath Cake – how to make a buttercream wreath cake with little decorative touches like a bird’s nest, cherry blossoms, green berries and cookie moss. Beautiful for spring events like Easter, baby showers and Mother’s Day.
It seems as though I have a thing for Easter cakes. Over the last five years, I’ve made a new cake each spring specifically with the holiday in mind. It all started back in 2013 with my Speckled Egg Cake. That cake has definitely stood the test of time with so many of you making it! Then there was the Chocolate Bunny Cake and the Easter Basket Cake in 2014. The Cookie Moss Cake of 2015 is making a small cameo in today’s cake (you’ll see what I mean in the tutorial). 2016 was an off year but 2017 came back strong with this Blackberry Lime Cake. This year I wanted to create a new cake that works for Easter but ALSO for other spring events like bridal showers, baby showers, and Mother’s Day. And today’s cake definitely fits that bill!
This cake is everything spring with a variety of leaves, berries, cherry blossoms, moss and even a bird’s nest filled with chocolate eggs. The mix of vibrant and muted greens creates a fresh backdrop for the little white blossoms. Yes if you’re wondering, cherry blossoms can be white! The three years we lived in Washington DC taught me a whole lot about cherry blossoms as I stalked the peak bloom each year, hoping to drag my family downtown at the perfect time for photos. There’s over 100 varieties of cherry trees that produce blooms from white with yellow centers to white with pink centers to full pink-on-pink. I chose to go with white and yellow simply because I liked the shade of the yellow mini eggs paired with all the green. And…. if we’re getting technical… a cherry blossom only has five petals, where most of my flowers have six. But I had the hardest time piping a five petal flower!
But that’s okay! The best part about this buttercream work is that it’s really forgiving. Which is definitely needed, as I’m no piping expert. But I’m really loving that buttercream has come back into the forefront over the last 4 years because it just tastes so much better than fondant. And who can possibly look at all the Korean buttercream flower cakes on Instagram and not long to be that talented!! Thank goodness for me — this cake is all about imperfect leaves and flowers — that when grouped together look more impressive than they really are. Which makes this a win for buttercream wannabes everywhere!
If you give this design a try, be sure to share a photo with me on Instagram! I’d love to see what you do with this idea. Just tag @thecakeblog or use #thecakeblog so we all can see. You can also share your photos on Pinterest now — how cool is that?! Happy spring baking everyone. 🌼🐰🌼
SPRING WREATH CAKE VIDEO TUTORIAL
SPRING WREATH CAKE
a tutorial by Carrie Sellman
- Layer cake of choice (I used this chocolate cake recipe)
- 2 batches Swiss Meringue Buttercream (I used the plain version of this recipe)
- Soft gel paste food color (leaf green, chocolate brown and lemon yellow)
- Piping Bags
- Piping Tip #104
- Piping Tip #102
- Piping Tip #234
- Piping Tip #233
- Piping Tip #352
- Piping Tip #1
- Piping Tip #2
- Flower Nail
- Tapered head mini offset spatula
- Moss Sugar Cookies (1/4 or 1/2 batch is more than enough)
- Cookie sheet
- Cadbury Mini Eggs
Bake and assemble your cake of choice and frost the outside with white buttercream. Refrigerate until the cake and frosting are both firm. Gather decorating supplies. Divide your remaining frosting into 5 bowls and tint following the ratios listed below. Divide frosting first to ensure you have enough. Use very small amounts of gel pastes when tinting the frosting, so you can gradually build to your desired shade. It’s easy to add more, but impossible to remove excess. Keep in mind that shades will darken with exposure to the air, refrigeration and time.
- ¾ cup white frosting tinted brown using roughly 8 drops of chocolate brown gel.
- ½ cup white frosting tinted dark green using roughly 2 drops of leaf green gel, 2 drops of chocolate brown gel and 2 drops of lemon yellow gel.
- ¼ cup white frosting tinted light green using a small scoop of the vibrant green frosting previously made. This is an easy way to make a lighter shade that perfectly complements the darker shade.
- ¼ cup white frosting tinted yellow using one drop lemon yellow gel.
- ½ cup white frosting left as white.
Cut piping bags, fit with couplers and fill with the frosting.
Place a small dot of frosting directly onto the flower nail. Place a square of parchment paper on top and press down to firmly attach parchment to the nail.
To make the large rippled leaves: Using a #104 tip on the dark green buttercream, hold the bag so that the skinny end of the tip is in the middle and the wide end of the tip is towards the outside. Squeeze and wiggle the bag to create ripples of frosting while moving the tip in an upside-down U shape. Stop squeezing and release when U is complete. Make 4 or 5 leaves.
To make the small smooth leaves: Using a #104 tip on the light green buttercream, hold the bag so that the skinny end of the tip is in the middle and the wide end of the tip is towards the outside. Squeeze the bag while gliding (no wiggle) up and back down in a very tight upside-down U shape. Think up, tight turn, and right back down. Stop squeezing and release when U is complete. You can play around with this one and make them longer, shorter, wider or thinner with just changing the shape of the U. Make 4 or 5 leaves.
To make the cherry blossoms: Using a #102 tip on the white buttercream, hold the bag so that the skinny end of the tip is in the middle and the wide end of the tip is towards the outside. Squeeze the bag while making a very small out and back motion (like an upside-down U) starting and ending in the middle of the flower nail. Stop squeezing and release. Slightly rotate the nail and repeat the same motion to the right of the previous petal. Repeat making 5-6 petals in all, to complete the circle. Then using a #1 tip on the yellow buttercream, pipe small little dots in a circular pattern to be the flower centers. Make 10 or 11 blossoms.
It’s always best to make more than you think you’ll need! Refrigerate all leaves and flowers until they are completely solid.
The video really helps solidify this process so be sure to watch!
Using a #234 tip on the brown buttercream, pipe a complete circle to start our grapevine wreath. Using a #1 tip on the brown buttercream, pipe a small line from the outside edge of the wreath to the inside edge, allowing for a slight angle. Repeat – piping small angled lines all around the wreath spaced roughly 1.5 inches apart, all following the same angle. This mimics the wrap that goes all the way around a real grapevine wreath to hold it together.
Using a #2 tip on the dark green buttercream, pipe some squiggly branches over 2/3 of the grapevine wreath, leaving one section open.
Place four small moss cookies into a small overlapping mound. You can learn how to make these with my moss cookie tutorial. You only need 6 or so cookies, but you’ll want to make some extra to allow for breakage and flexibility when placing them together. You can make a whole batch and use extras on cupcakes or for serving. Or alternatively, make a half batch or less.
Using a tip #233 on the brown buttercream, pipe a large circular mound onto the moss cookies, leaving an indentation in the middle. This is our bird’s nest. Place two or three mini eggs into the center of the bird’s nest.
Add additional moss cookies onto the wreath followed by the buttercream leaves.
Place blossoms onto wreath as desired. I placed them where the cookies and the leaves meet to give that intersection a more polished look. I also found using my tapered head mini offset spatula worked wonderfully for placing the blossoms exactly where I wanted them.
Using tip #352 on the light buttercream, pipe small filler leaves anywhere you see a hole or a rough juncture you want to hide. Using tip #2 on the light green buttercream, pipe small little dots at the ends of any visible green branches. These are our berries.
Sprinkle a little bit of the moss cookie crumbles onto the bird’s nest for extra texture. And lastly, if you’re like me and realize at the very end that you did not cover up the messy juncture where the grapevine wreath starts and ends…. cover it up with an additional cherry blossom and call it a day!