This pin by the very talented Sandra Bernardo of Migalha Doce inspired my woodland cake. I recognized the toys immediately from the Schleich toy rack at Fleet Farm! I snatched up the buck, bear and fox plus a few others I couldn't resist. Keep an eye on whisk + wander for more woodland animal cakes and bakes! This won't be my last.
Why I love this woodland cake
I'm loving the fall craftiness of this woodland cake project. I love a day when I can toss on my flannel jacket and tromp around the woods looking for the perfect twigs for a cake topper. Once my nose starts to get drippy and my fingers a little chilled, I can come in to a warm house that smells like Madeira cake. Then… set up in my little hobby workshop with a hot glue gun and some craft supplies. Ultimately pulling off a project that brings the autumn woodland vibe indoors… to the dining room table. I had a blast making this woodland cake. I hope it inspires you to try one of your own!
Tips, techniques + takeaways
Although I didn't know it when I started, Madeira was the perfect choice for this woodland cake. Madeira cake layers tend to rise in an unpredictable fashion, yielding an uneven top that normally gets sliced off. In this case, by leaving the top layer untouched, I had a hilly forest floor to work with, without any fussy frosting techniques. Just a few dabs to hold my woodland friends in place. I disguised the buttercream with Matcha Moss (see recipe below) and added Valrhona Cacao Nibs to give the illusion of rocky soil. A few sprigs of rosemary make perfect pine trees.
I used leftover fabric scraps cut in diamonds and folded over a string of twine to make an easy rustic pennant. When tied to two delicate twigs it's the easiest woodsy cake topper ever!
Makes (4) 8" cake layers
150 g self raising flour
460 g plain flour
610 g soft unsalted butter
610 g caster sugar
9 large free-range eggs
3 tbs whole milk
1 tsp vanilla
Spray 4, 8" round cake tins (2" tall), with Everbake pan spray (put parchment rounds in bottom and line sides with parchment if you’d like)
Cream butter and sugar for about 5 minutes. Until fluffy and white.
Add eggs 2 at a time, mixing well to incorporate before adding more.
Add dry ingredients all at once while mixer is stopped. Turn on lowest setting and mix until ingredients are just combined.
Add vanilla to milk and add to dough. Mix until incorporated.
Add batter to pans one scoop at a time so evenly distributed.
Level each pan with an offset spatula.
Bake at 350º 24-26 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Source: Cupcake Jemma
Vanilla Bean Buttercream
Makes enough for 24 cupcakes
300 g (1 1/4 cups) unsalted butter, softened
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 tablespoons whole milk
675 g (2 3/4 cups) icing sugar
1 vanilla bean, seeds only (optional)
Beat butter on medium high speed until pale and smooth. About 5 minutes.
Add vanilla extract (and vanilla bean) to milk, mix to incorporate and set aside.
Add icing sugar to butter in two stages, mixing well after each batch.
Gradually add the vanilla milk mixture and beat for another 3-5 minutes or until almost white.
Scrape down the sides of the bowl and give it one last blast to blend it all together.
unsweetened, very fine, macaroon coconut
Using a freezer bag and a rolling pin, crush graham crackers gently to desired consistency. A rolling pin allows for more control than a food processor.
Transfer crushed graham crackers to a mixing bowl. Add coconut, matcha and chia seeds until satisfied with the color and texture.
Can be stored in an airtight container for several weeks.