Nisha is the owner of Sweet Delights Cakery in West Bloomfield, Michigan and has been decorating cakes for over ten years. She makes custom cakes for any occasion and specialises in sculpted and wedding cakes. Nisha won the grand prize at the 2014 Michigan ICES Sugar Art showcase; her work has been published in the ACD and Cake Masters Magazine and was also featured in the Detroit Free Press for new bakers in the Metro Detroit area. She offers a variety of classes for all ages in the West Bloomfield, Michigan area and also offers a series of tutorials on her website.
• Red, Green, Black, Brown gum paste
• Sugar Dress Lace Mix
• Large lace mat
• Everclear or lemon extract
• Edible glue
• Vegetable shortening
• Desiccated coconut
• Piping gel
• Dusting pouch
• Black, Egg Yellow, Ivory, Avocado, White,
Red, Brown and Moss Green gel colours
• Charcoal Black, Apple Green, Spruce
Green, Daffodil, Forget-Me-Not, Mango
and Gold petal dust colours
• Glaze spray
• 24 and 26 gauge floral wire
• Round nose pliers
• Wire cutters
• Rolling pin
• Gum paste rolling board
• Foam pad
• Leaf veiner
• Holly leaf cutter
• 1” Styrofoam balls
• Green and brown floral tape
• Ball tool
• Veining tool
• Five star serrated tool
• Shaping tool
• Sugar shapers, pointed chisel and mini
• Scalpel or X- Acto knife
• #3 and #10 tips
• Bubble straws
• 8” wooden base
• 5/16”x24” metal rod
• 8 5/16” screws
• 8 5/16” washes
Bake 3 layers of cake for each tier (5”,6” and 7” rounds). Stack and fill the cakes and then refregerte it for few hours before carving. Finished height should be approx 4”.
Cut out 4” 5” and 6” cake boards for each tier. Tier 1 – 4” and 5” cake board Tier 2 – 5” and 6” cake board Tier 3 – 6” and 7” cake board Place the 4” cake board on top centre of the iced 5” cake tier.
Using the top and bottom boards as a cutting guide, cut around the side of the cake to create a cone shape.
Apply buttercream on the cake and refrigerate it for few hours until the buttercream is firm to the touch.
Cover the tier with fondant
Using Rice Krispies Treats, make a 5” high x 3” diameter cone and cover it with fondant.
To make the knots on the birch, take a 1” ball of fondant, flatten it and place it on the fondant covered tier. Use a #10 tip and make an indentation on the centre of the fondant.
Using a bone chisel mini sugar shaper, score circular lines around the centre circle.
Make more elongated lines.
Using tweezers, pinch on the fondant and repeat all the way around the cake.
To detail the top of the tier, use a veining tool and score a line around the top ¼“ from the edge.
Using the pointed chisel sugar shaper, make indentations all around the scored line.
Using a knife tool, draw lines on the top of the cake from the outer edge to the centre.
Mix Charcoal Black petal dust with Everclear or lemon extract and paint the knots.
Use White gel colour to highlight the black knots.
Mix Ivory gel colour with Everclear to make a light colour wash and apply it to the side of the tier, leaving some exposed white fondant.
Place the cake on a turning table and mix the Ivory gel colour with Everclear to make a darker colour than you made above. Using a wide brush, apply the paint to the top of the tier while turning the turntable.
Using the edge of the brush, apply paint on the outer edge of the top tier.
Take the White gel colour and mix it with Everclear to make a white colour mix and apply it over the Ivory layer you painted above.
Follow the steps on the product to make the lace mix and apply a coat of the mix to the back side of the mat. Bake it in the oven according to the product description. Take it out of the oven, let it cool for a while and peel off the sheet to be used to decorate the outer bark.
To create the inner bark texture, use the Ivory wash made in Step 16 and apply it to the cake lace. Apply a White layer over the Ivory layer. Finally, mix Charcoal Black petal dust with Everclear and use a smaller brush to apply light lines over the cake lace.
Using a wet paper towel, apply some water to the back of the cake lace and place it around the cake. When placing the cake lace, stretch it so there will be less wrinkles on the cake.
Using a scalpel tool, cut around the areas where there is a knot.
Trim off the excess cake lace at the top and bottom edges.
Using tweezers, add more texture by pinching the cake lace to create lines around the cake.
Using a finer brush, draw lines around the cake using Ivory colour and Charcoal Black. Mix the colours separately with Everclear.
Using a scalpel tool, gently peel off some areas of the cake lace to create a peeled bark texture.
Using the veining tool, make a heart shaped indentation on the bark.
Use Ivory gel colour and a finer brush to draw over the heart shaped indentation and the wording.
Using a dry brush, dust Charcoal Black petal dust lightly around both edges of the heart shaped line.
To make the moss, you will need desiccated coconut. To hydrate the coconut, use a little bit of hot water and add some Avacado colour and Egg Yellow gel to get the desired green colour. Add a little drop of White gel colour to the mixture and lightly mix it so there are spots of white on the moss.
Apply some pipping gel to a few areas around the knots.
Using tweezers, place the green desiccated coconut (moss) around the knots. Repeat the above step to create the bark texture on the remaining tiers, including the top tier (Rice Krispies Treats cone).
To assemble the cake, you will need the 8” wooden base, 5/16”x24” metal rod, 8 5/16” screws and 8 5/16” washes.
Attach the metal rod to the base by using a screw and a washer at the top and bottom of the base.
Insert a bubble straw to the centre of the cake before placing the cake through the metal rod.
Using fondant, make a 1” high ¼” thick rectangle strip to cover the metal rod and the screw.
Cover the fondant strip with the sugar lace that you made in Step 20.
Continue assembling the rest of the tiers.
Cut out the holly leaves from the green gum paste.
Use a 26 gauge wire to thread the holly leaves using edible glue.
Use a leaf veiner to vein the holly leaves.
Using a foam and a balling tool, thin out the edges of the leaf and let them dry on an apple tray overnight.
Use Apple Green petal dust to dust the centre vein of the holly leaf.
Apply Spruce Green petal dust from the edge of the petal towards the centre of the leaf.
To give the leaf a shine, spray a glaze over the leaves.
Colour the edges of the leaf using Americolor Bright White soft gel food colour (optional).
To make the pine needles, cut the 26 gauge wire to 2” lengths. Use the Green gum paste to make a ¼” ball and insert it ⅔ of the way into wire. Using your thumb and index finger, roll the gum paste around the wire until you reach the top. Finally, slightly bend the pine needle.
Take one of the pine needles and attach it to a 24 gauge wire using brown floral tape. Take five more needles and attach them around the centre pine needle. Move ⅛” down and attach another set of five needles.
Apply some Forget-Me-Not petal dust to the pine needles.
Use the Red gum paste to make a ¼” ball (a berry) and then insert a 26 gauge wire into the ball by applying some edible glue to the wire.
Using a five star serrated tool, make an indentation on top of the berry and let them dry overnight.
Using a Charcoal Black petal dust, colour the top of the berry.
To make the berry sprigs, attach one of the berries to the 24 gauge wire by using a brown floral wire. Attach two more berries on either side of the wire to make the centre cluster of the berry sprig.
Make two more clusters and attach them as shown in the picture.
Finally, spray the berries using a glaze spray to give it a shine.
Take a 1” Styrofoam ball and attach it to a 24 gauge wire using hot glue. Apply vegetable shortening to the ball. Take the ¾” round black gum paste and cover the ball with it.
Using the veining tool, score lines on the ball going only half way down.
Use a #3 round icing tip and make a circle indentation at the end of the four lines.
Mix Gold petal dust with Everclear to make a gold paint.
Leaving the veining exposed in black, paint the four sections of the ball using the gold paint. Let the balls/jingle bells dry overnight.
Take a ½” ball of gum paste and attach it to a 24 gauge wire.
Using 24 gauge wire and ½” round ball of brown gum paste, make a cone shape that is 1” in length.
Cut the gum paste into three parts and leave a centre.
Using scissors, cut the centre into two parts.
Trim the edges off each petal.
Take the shaping tool and a foam pad and cup the five petals.
Let the centre of the pinecone dry overnight.
Roll out the gum paste to ⅛” thick and cut out a rectangle shape that is 2”x1”. On one side, cut it into five “V” shaped zig zags.
Take the shaping tool and a foam pad and cup the petals.
Using edible glue, attach the centre of the pinecone to the petals you made above.
Let it dry overnight.
To make the individual pinecone petals, take a ¼“ round ball of gum paste and make a teardrop shape that is approx 1” in length. Take a 26 gauge wire, make a small hook on one end and insert it into the gum paste teardrop.
Place the petal on a foam pad and using the veining tool, make a indentation on the tip of the teardrop which will flatten the end.
Turn the petal and cup it by running the veining tool from the tip of the petal to the bottom.
Make 10-12 of these petals for each pinecone (make extras in case some break) and let them dry overnight.
To assemble the pinecones, you will need the 24 gauge wire, brown floral tape and pinecone base and petals
To assemble the petals, take a 24 guage wire and attach it to the pinecone base using brown floral tape.
To form the third layer of petals, take 5-6 petals and attach them around the pinecone. Stagger the petals around the base.
To form the fourth layer, start it ¼” below the third layer and follow the previous step.
Dust the petals with Chocolate petal dust and apply Charcoal Black petal dust into the centre stem of the pinecone.
Finally, take Americolor White gel colour and apply it to the tip of each petal.
Attach a wire to the berry sprig that will be used to attach the garland to the cake.
To make the garland, attach the pinecone, holly leaves, pine branches and the jingle bell to the berry sprig to the length needed for the first tier.
When attaching the garland, use a bubble straw when inserting each end of the garland wire to the cake.
Continue making more sections of the garland and attach them to the rest of the tiers.
Your cake is finished!