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Create a Stunning Tree Bark Cake With This 5-Step Tutorial

Naturally inspired elements are taking the cake world by storm! When it comes to nature cakes, what better place to start than with a tree bark cake?

Floral garland wedding design with tree bark cake base by Juniper Cakery

We recently created this tree bark cake for an English country garden wedding reception. The tree bark tier was topped with plain white tiers and encircled by a gorgeous garland of sugar flowers. While tree bark is perfect for woodland weddings, you can even create a tree bark cake for birthdays and themed parties!

Be one with nature with this easy tree bark cake tutorial!

Materials needed:

Step 1: Cover the cake

How to create a tree bark effect cake

Roll out the cream-colored fondant and use it to cover your cake. Smoothing down the sides, top and edges with a cake smoother. The cream fondant will make the top of your tree bark cake look a little like the inside of a tree trunk.

Tutorial for a tree bark cake

Step 2: Cover with brown fondant

Now cover the cream cake with the brown fondant. This will be the outside bark on the tree trunk.

How to make an easy and fun tree bark cakeHow to ice and decorate a tree bark cake

Cut away the top of the brown fondant to reveal the cream fondant underneath. The best way to do this is to use a cake board or dummy the same diameter of your cake as a guide and carefully cut around it using a sharp craft knife. We like to use surgical scalpels, as they are ridiculously sharp.

Quick and easy tutorial for a fun tree bark effect cake

Carefully lift the brown fondant circle you need to remove and roll up off of the cake.

Top tip:

Remember not to cut so far into the fondant that you hit the cream layer. Here’s a foolproof hack: Keep a scrap of the brown fondant you rolled you earlier — you can use its thickness to gauge how deep you need to cut.

How to add a tree bark effect to fondant

Step 3: Add the tree bark texture

To add the textured bark effect, you need to work super fast before the fondant begins to dry out. If it dries and you try to add cuts or veining, the fondant will crack!

We like to start adding detail with a craft knife or scalpel. You don’t need to etch perfect lines into the fondant — that’s the beauty of a tree bark cake…it’s supposed to be rustic! Working your way around the cake, add lines and curves. Add elongated oval between the curves to make knots in the tree trunk.

Now go over your lines with a veining tool. When you go over marks made by the sharp craft knife with a veining tool, you’ll create varying depths of lines!

Tutorial on how to create a tree bark effect in fondant

Step 4: Give the texture definition

Add some definition to the lines on your tree bark cake with edible brown dust. Yes, edible blossom dust (and even luster dust) does exist! If you’re unable to find it, you can blend purple and yellow blossom dust together. Use a stiff brush to build up the brown dust into the crevices of the tree trunk. Remember to start with a little color and build it up gradually — it’s so much easier to add color than to remove it!

Step by step guide for creating a tree bark cake with fondant

To blend in the blossom dust color better we like to use a kitchen paper towel to gently rub the cake in circular motions a few times. This can help to remove any excess color dust and soften any spot of color.

How to add a fun tree effect to fondant

Step 5: Add details to the top of the cake

If you want to add the rings of a tree trunk to the top of your cake, place your cake on a good turntable. With a sharp craft knife pressing on the top of the cake, turn your cake around and around to etch circular detailing around the cake.

Floral cake with fun tree bark effect by Juniper Cakery

Once you’ve finished creating your pretty, rustic tree bark cake, you’ll be ready to add any finer details or decorations, such as handmade sugar flowers, cute meringue mushrooms or fondant woodland creatures!

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To do this design it seems so much easier (and a lot less bulky! ) to just cover the top with a circle of the lighter colored fondant and to cover the sides separately with the darker colored. Why do you need 2 layers of fondants on the sides??? And if you combine some modeling chocolate with the fondant the seem on the side will blend in and won’t show at all.

Felicity and Krystle

Hi there Francine!
You could definitely create the effect the way you’ve suggested. This was just a tutorial on how we ourselves create tree trunk cakes with fondant. We also didn’t want any hint of seams on the outside of the cake so this method works perfect for us.

A lot of decorators double ice their cakes too with two thin layers of fondant which helps give a much sleeker look. In fact in the UK quite a few cake designer still ice first with a marzipan layer and then a thin fondant layer for a smooth surface!

Hope this helps!


Where can I buy the surgical scalpels?


Oh wow!
How long can this cake stand in the fridge after being cut?
Also, how much would it cost for a cake like this? I’m inlove with the sugar flowers and the color palette!

Felicity and Krystle

Hi Juste,
Thank you!

When sliced up cake can last around a week. We always advise our clients to slice up their servings, wrap each individually in cling film, then store in airtight containers and keep in the fridge. It’s also important to keep it away from any strong smelling foods in the refrigerator… you definitely don’t want that lovely vanilla bean cake soaking up the smell from a leftover garlic bread!

With regards to the cost it depends on how you value your work and time and also on the area where you are selling your designs (e.g, if you have a bricks & mortar shop with overheads and staff).




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