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birthday cake decorating POSTED PICTURE post 11

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
DS has requested his birthday cake have a tree decorated with animals. My plan is to make a cake (double layer 9x13) and place a 'gingerbread tree' decorated with royal icing on top. I bought a bunch of small animals to place on the cake and tree so I don't have to make my own animals. I want the tree to be standing up and decorated on all sides. I was thinking to make two tree shapes, cut one in half before baking than use royal icing to glue it together. I will use colored icing to make it brown and green like a tree.

I need to figure what recipe to use for the gingerbread. Can a sugar cookie work or should I stick with gingerbread. I want to make it strong because if it breaks prior to the party

I am not sure how to place it on the cake. I will wait till right before the party to put the tree on top, but I am concerned it will soften/collapse from the moisture of the cake. Should I use some sort of barrier between the cake and the tree? If so, what to use?

Thanks for any insight you can offer!
post #2 of 18
I would use gingerbread for the tree. I;m not sure how well the gluing together 2 trees would work. I've never tried something like that. I think I would bake a few extra trees so I could just have a flat one if it didn't work out.

For attaching the tree to the cake I would stick some toothpicks in the tree and then down into the cake. I can see the tree softening quite quickly if you use butter cream on the cake but if you use royal icing or roll out icing then I think it should be OK.
post #3 of 18
Looking around, I found:

This is pretty cool!

And I was actually looking for the scandinavian star-tree directions and found this. Lots of different ideas from one form.

I also found one (which I now can't find again of course!) which was about 4-5 stars cut out of cake and stacked with the points offset and then frosted. It looked like a tree and there were lots of level places that you could put animals.

I know you maybe weren't looking to change your original idea, but those links may get your creative juices flowing. Did you think of maybe covering the bottom of your cookie tree with foil before placing it? And maybe keep it in the fridge so that the icing doesn't soften.

Good luck and post pics after the party!

ETA: Found it!
post #4 of 18
You don't cut the trees in half, you cut out each tree with a strip in the center (one on top half, one on bottom half) out so that they slide together. Then use icing to secure.

I would find a template online. Google 3D gingerbread tree or standing up gingerbread tree.

I would use the Martha Stewart gingerbread house recipe and icing. Her's is supposed to be the most sturdy and her icing the most glue like. I agree with not putting the tree directly on the cake until the last minute as it will soften - unless you use fondant, that might help. Not sure. I don't think you'd want to frost the cake with the glue icing either, it gets hard and I don't care for the taste.

Sounds like a fabulous cake!


ETA: you could also make a cupcake tree and have a different animal on each cupcake.
post #5 of 18
would it be cheating to buy a plastic tree to place on top of the cake? or a well cleaned juniper twig?

Well, I guess it would be cheating, but would you be willing to do it?
post #6 of 18
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the ideas and please keep them coming!

I should add that the tree needs to look 'jungle' like rather than pine tree like- which is too bad because the tree cake or the star gingerbread tree would work perfect. I will make a bunch of tree shapes to play with and to have back ups.

I had thought of making a container of sorts to put into the top of the cake to place the tree in and then I could pipe more royal icing to hide the container. But I'm just not sure if my mind is thinking through the mechanics of this. I don't want it too complicated you know! (It's already complicated enough!)
post #7 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by alicia622 View Post
Thanks for the ideas and please keep them coming!

I should add that the tree needs to look 'jungle' like rather than pine tree like- which is too bad because the tree cake or the star gingerbread tree would work perfect. I will make a bunch of tree shapes to play with and to have back ups.

I had thought of making a container of sorts to put into the top of the cake to place the tree in and then I could pipe more royal icing to hide the container. But I'm just not sure if my mind is thinking through the mechanics of this. I don't want it too complicated you know! (It's already complicated enough!)

If you're not worried about how healthy this is, I've had really good luck "sculpting" or "molding" things out of rice krispie treats - a snowman, an igloo, etc. A tree would be very easy - and the frice krispie treats hold up fine under icing, and are light enough not to sink in the cake. Just make a batch up and while warm mold into the shape you want like playdough. It is perfect for tall 3-d things.
post #8 of 18
No advice really on the tree itself, but I would think of this more like a tiered cake - like a wedding cake. The cookie tree sounds heavy, so I would treat it more like a second tier. Here is some info on how to stack tiers.

Basically, here's what I would do:
assemble/decorate your tree on a board - you can use a plastic one sold by the company from the website above or just a piece of cardboard cut to size
mark on the cake where the tree will sit
within the area where the tree will sit, push stabilizers into the cake; you can use wooden dowels cut to size or even plastic drinking straws - just use enough to form a strong base
place the tree on its board on the cake - the dowels/straws will hold it up & you won't have to worry about it tipping or sinking into the cake
you can decorate around the base of the tree to cover the board & where it hits the cake

I'd love to see pics when you're done!
post #9 of 18
Have you looked at this site? It has lots of ideas. Coolest homemade birthday cakes

I agree with PP that the weight of gingerbread and animals might be a problem.

Wow...look at this!
post #10 of 18
Thread Starter 
THANKS!!!- more great ideas And some of the pictures of real jungle cakes are amazing- mine won't be 'quite' so nice but I am sure G will be happy when it's all done. I have a long ride today for work so I will have lots of time to decide what I am going to do. I've got to decide my plan soon as the party is next saturday.
post #11 of 18
Thread Starter 
Finished product- http://www.facebook.com/album.php?ai...&ref=fbx_album it was three 9 x 13 cakes. The tree on top was made out of rice crispie treats molded around a foil tree shape and frosted with colored royal icing- the cake was frosted with buttercream and the animals were plastic figurines. I was pleased and so was my boy! He had a great party
post #12 of 18
Holy cow. And I thought sprinkles were special. You really raised the bar on that one.
post #13 of 18
Super nice!
post #14 of 18
Excellent job!
post #15 of 18
Holy Amazing! I had to close that window double quick. . . my soon to be 6 year old was coming in the room. I don't want him getting any crazy ideas. Right now he is happy I found gummy octopi to put on the cupcakes for his class.

You rock!
post #16 of 18
That is incredible, mama!
post #17 of 18
Love it - great job!!
I'm glad your DS enjoyed his cake & party.
post #18 of 18
Thread Starter 
Thanks
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