Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Spring Birch & Bird Cake

This three layer cake is the perfect welcoming for Spring.  The little blue birds really pop against the bright white birch trees.  It looks as though the sun is rising through a lively birch tree forest.  To begin to make this cake, prepare three 6" round cake pans for baking.

Trace around the bottom of the pan over 3 layers of wax paper and cut out the circles.  Grease the bottoms and sides of the pans with shortening and dust with flour.  Place the wax paper circle in the centers of each pan.  Preheat the oven to 350F
Follow the instructions for this Classic Vanilla Cake.  Divide your cake batter between the three prepared 6" cake pans.  These cake pans also have an insulated baking strip around the pan so the cake tops bake evenly and do not dome.
Bake the cakes and remove from the oven when you can jiggle the pan and the cake no longer wiggles, or test by inserting a toothpick in the center.  If the toothpick is clean when you remove it from the cake, the cake is done.  Allow the cakes to cool on a wire rack before removing from the pans.  To remove the cakes, run a knife along the edges of the cake pan and turn the cake pan upside down on a cooling rack.  Peel back the wax paper.
After preparing your buttercream frosting, stir in a small amount of blue food coloring.  You can use gel or liquid food coloring.  Add a little food coloring at a time for the desired hue.  If you prefer a brighter blue backdrop for the trees rather than the pale blue backdrop, add more blue food color.
To layer the cakes, place one cake layer on a cake plate and spread frosting across the top layer.  Stack the next cake layer and spread frosting across that layer.  Now it's time to crumb coat.  The crumb coat is a thin layer of frosting spread across the top and sides of the cake.  Crumb coating keeps crumbs out of the final layer of frosting and helps seal the moisture into the cake.
 You can use a metal spatula dipped in hot water to smooth the buttercream.  Set the frosted cake aside.
Now we are going to make a very easy marshmallow fondant for the details on the cake.  Place one package of mini marshmallows and 3-4 Tablespoons of water in a microwave safe dish.  Melt for 30 second intervals and stir until the marshmallows are melted.  Grease your mixing bowl and paddle with shortening.  Combine the melted marshmallows and 1 pound of powdered sugar in the mixing bowl.
Once the melted marshmallows and powdered sugar combine, remove from the mixing bowl to a greased surface for kneading.
 Knead the fondant until it has a smooth texture
 Add a little powdered sugar to your surface and rolling pin for rolling out the fondant.
Using a sharp knife, slice the fondant into tree shapes.  To achieve the birch tree look, make tiny triangle cuts on both sides of the tree.
Cut the birds out of the extra fondant and let the fondant details sit to harden.
You can either color the fondant to cut the birds (just knead in a little food coloring until the color is even), or use the plain white fondant and then brush food coloring on the tops and sides with a small brush.  Dab the brush in a little water and then a little food coloring and apply to the bird.
While the trees and birds continue to harden, let's make the fondant sun cake topper.
Take some of your remaining fondant and knead in yellow food coloring until the yellow is an even color.  It helps to grease your hands with a little shortening to prevent the fondant from sticking and the added shortening helps create a really smooth shiny surface on the fondant.
 Shape the fondant into a flattened circle and then slice down the middle with a sharp knife.  Pull apart the fondant from one half of the circle to make the sun beams.
Shape the sunbeams by rolling into a cone shape and then flattening the cone.  To secure to the sun, stick a small piece of angel hair pasta in the base of the sun beam and insert the beam into the sun.
To prevent the sun beams from sagging to reach the flat counter surface, you can place a few folded up paper towels under the beams until the beams harden enough that they keep their shape.  You can place the fondant pieces next to a fan to help speed the hardening process.
Meanwhile, the trees are firm and ready to apply to the cake.  Pipe a strip of frosting on the back of the tree and press the tree to the side of the cake.
 Continue adding the rest of the trees with different spacing for a natural look.
With the trees standing tall, it is time to place the little birds with a dab of frosting on the back of the birds.  Then the fondant sun topper is set in the center of the cake.
This best thing about this cake design is that it is gender neutral and can be served for a one year old's birthday party all the way up to a one hundred year old's birthday party.  It is cheerful and full of life with the fondant birds flying and resting on trees.
You can find this cake on BHG.com along with the tutorial as part of their Pretty Food special.

6 comments :

  1. I especially love the birch trees and birds! How creative is that? Thanks for sharing on Hump Day Happenings!

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  2. This is quite possibly the cutest cake I have ever seen! I love it! Thanks for linking up with Hump Day Happenings.

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  3. Its a perfect cake for twitter. lol but anyway Thanks for sharing this. private chef in austin

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  4. Love this! Birches are my favorites. Stopping by from Hump Day Happenings :)

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  5. i am not creative at all and you make it look so easy, pinning for later! xo, jess
    www.dreamingofleaving.com

    ReplyDelete

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