Apple Tree Cake
by Theresa Cahill
This apple tree cake was made for a September birthday party group. It was a super fun cake for me to make as it was inspired in part by our grandfather (Jack's) 65 year old apple tree that we had just harvested...so it has special meaning. Since this was specifically a September cake I wanted it to not only look like fall, but have the warm taste of fall.
I doubled the following Carrot Cake recipe:
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
2 cups grated carrots
Combine sugar and oil in a large bowl, beat in eggs one at a time. Add vanilla. In another bowl combine next dry ingredients and mix. Combine with wet ingredients and mix. Stir in grated carrot. Pour into prepared pans. (I always use Cake Release) Bake at 300°F for approximately 20 minutes, then at 325°F for approx. another 20 mins, or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool.
The pans I used for this cake were a 12 inch flower pan, and a 7 inch round spring form pan.
The buttercream recipe I used:
1/2 lb Crisco
1/2 lb butter, softened
1 teaspoon cinnamon extract
2 lb bag sifted confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons milk
2 tablespoons Epicure Apple Pie Spice
After the cakes had cooled I frosted them with the apple pie buttercream.
The cakes were draped with cinnamon marshmallow fondant:
16 oz mini-marshmallows
2 lb powdered sugar
2 tbsp water
1 tsp corn syrup
1 tsp lemon extract
a pinch of salt
1 tsp cinnamon extract and 1 tsp cinnamon powder for the textured appearance I was looking for.
Empty bag of marshmallows into a large, microwave-safe bowl, and add water. Microwave until the marshmallows are puffed up and soft looking (about 1 1/2-2 minutes). Add all other ingredients except sugar, stir to mix well...add 1/2 bag of sugar gradually, stirring well, then turn out onto a greased surface. Mixture will be hot, knead with your hands, and gradually add in the rest of the bag of sugar. You'll want to stop kneading when the fondant stops absorbing the sugar. Grease your hands as needed.
I colored 2/3 of my fondant a light green and covered both cakes with this. I used some Wilton's colored fondant in black, brown & tan to make the tree trunk bark. The tree trunk was a hard plastic cone shaped tupperware that I covered with the fondant bark. I supported the bottom of the trunk with plastic support posts. The top cake tier stayed on the bottom of the spring-form pan and was covered with the fondant bark and the tree branches supported the top tier with wooden skewers in each one.
The ladder(which also served as added support)and basket were made with gumpaste, the upper tree branches, leaves & apples were fondant, the apples on top were fondant with tiny candles stems.
I personalized the cake by carving initials & hearts into the tree trunk. Surprisingly this cake came together very nicely for me, without any issues...I enjoyed every minute of this apple tree cake.