Earth Day Bonsai Tree Cake

Intermediate

In this tutorial you will learn how to make a a bonsai tree cake inspired by Earth Day.

Earth Day will be on the 22nd of April and it is our great pleasure to dedicate this tutorial to a wonderful cause. Serdar created this bonsai tree cake as part of an Earth Day themed cake collaboration named ‘ACTs of GREEN’ organised by Zawadi Parizek from the United Nations of Sugar Art. Award winning sugar and pastry artists from all around the world have volunteered their time, talent and materials to create edible showpieces with the hope of raising awareness for the preservation of our planet and the importance of Reduce, Reuse, Recycle as well as donations for National Geographic Society. We are proud to be part of such a great cause and look forward to seeing all the amazing creations in the collaboration.

If we would all look after our Earth like a bonsai tree gardener looks after a bonsai tree, the Earth would be a much better place. We need to live with nature, not replace it. The tutorial will cover a number of different techniques from how to create a large gravity defying tree, how to achieve a realistic rosewood texture, how to accurately create a map of the world and more!

ACT’s of GREEN Facebook page
Donate to ACT’s of GREEN

Downloadable Course Material

If you would like to approximately match the size of the artwork in the tutorial, print the downloadable files at 100% size. If you require your artwork to be smaller or larger, just adjust the print size accordingly.
Earth Day Bonsai Tree Cake Course Material
This PDF document contains actual size templates for the two tree houses and the bonsai pot's wooden frames, as well as an actual size blueprint of the entire cake to be used as a guide for the tree.

Track
Duration
Introduction & Plan
5:31
The Construction
2:40
Tools & Materials
5:20
Recipes & Ingredients
3:21
Carving the Cake
13:31
Preparing the Pot's Platforms and Rim
9:08
Preparing the Legs of the Pot
10:10
Preparing the House Walls
12:19
Preparing the House Roof's
5:13
Preparing Thin Wooden Sticks
5:01
Staining the Bonsai Pot Frames & Legs
5:58
Preparing the Leaves
09:04
Assembling the Houses
11:03
Coating the Cake
7:38
Creating the Earth Texture
31:12
Varnishing the Bonsai Pot Frames
7:50
Preparing the Tree
20:52
Assembling the Cake
14:45
Making the Rocks
5:15
Assembling the Houses on the Tree
4:39
Building the Fences
7:14
Placing the Leaves on the Tree
5:16
Enhancements
8:52
Support Sticks
1:53
Final Thoughts
1:33
Total Duration
3:36:54

While not everything on this list is absolutely required, these are the things used in this tutorial video. Of course you are welcome to find alternative ways of doing things and we would love to hear if you've discovered an easier method or better tool to achieve good results. Please note that some items may be listed as sets, and it is usually recommended to have full sets, it may not be neccessary. In most cases, only one item from a set is actually used in the tutorial. Please watch the tutorial before purchasing any items to make sure you are not buying anything you don't need.
Tools & Materials
Set of Knives Shop Online
Pizza Cutter Shop Online
Preferably large, stable and sharp.
Garlic Presser
Fly Screen Rubber Roller

This is a tool that is used when replacing the mesh of a fly screen door. It is used to push the rubber between the gap to hold the mesh in place.

Rolling Pins Shop Online
Preferably with no scratches or dents.
Platforms
Round & Square
Wooden Bars
10mm and 5mm
Icing Spatula Set Shop Online
Set of Scissors Shop Online
Set of Scrapers
Compass
For drawing circles.
Craft Knife Shop Online
Needle or Pin
Serdar often uses a needle or a pin to remove air bubbles from underneath the fondant when coating a cake. They can also be used to pick up very small objects when decorating.
Hand Towels
Ensure fibers are not loose.
Airbrush Set Shop Online
Set of Brushes Shop Online
Small Sponge
For painting.
Oil Cooking Spray Shop Online
Colour should be as light as possible to prevent discolouration in the fondant or pastillage.
Cold Spray Shop Online
Powder Shaker Shop Online
Starch
Preferably with small holes.
Latex Disposable Gloves Shop Online
Disposable food safe thin latex gloves.
Fondant Smoother Shop Online
Wrench Set Shop Online
#17
Cellophane Shop Online
Aluminium Foil Shop Online
Thicker is preferred.
Plastic Sleeve/bag
Skewers Shop Online
Wooden
Cake Board Watch Tutorial
45cm Round (9mm thick) - Coated with brown material.
A piece of wood coated with fabric and temporarily covered with cellophane to keep fabric clean until the cake is complete. For more information, watch our tutorial on how to cover a cake board with fabric .
Threaded Rod (10mm) Shop Online
20cm long
Threaded rod with 10mm diametre (also known as M10).
Hexagonal Nut (10mm) Shop Online
x 3
Straws
Large (10mm diametre)
Gel Food Colours Shop Online
Confectioners Varnish Shop Online
Recipes & Ingredients

3 x 600g (250mm diametre, 25mm thick)
200g extra for sponge cubes.
Please watch tutorial for more details.

A moist and rich chocolate mud cake aerated with baking powder and soda bicarbonate. A very dark and dense mud cake which contains a lot of chocolate and cocoa powder with a touch of coffee powder. Years ago wedding cakes...[read more]

1100g (700g for layering between mud cake sponge, 400g for masking).

Chocolate ganache is nothing but pure chocolate melted with a generous amount of boiling fresh cream. This smooth airless chocolate cream makes a lot of things possible. A benefit of chocolate ganache is that the high...[read more]

2350g ivory,
500g forest green (200g left),
100g dark brown,
900g blue (340 left),
500g grey (300 left)

A thick sugar paste, similar to gum paste, that can be molded into different shapes and forms. When dried, it is hard and brittle. Unlike gum paste, pastillage dries much quicker and stronger. Made with gelatine, water...[read more]

150g

Royal icing is a hard white icing, made from egg white and icing sugar (mix or pure). A little addition of an acidic substance like lemon juice, citric acid or cream of tartar, the texture of the icing can be improved....[read more]

Pastry Margarine Shop Online

Hard

This hard margarine is a type of vegetable shortening used to make puff pastry and other pastries. While you might find a similar product from a supermarket, it would probably be quite costly. It is recommended to be purchased from a wholesaler. Here are a couple of links to 2 Australian wholesalers. Frutex and EOI.
Dark Chocolate (Compound) Wikipedia

400g (for skin and gluing)

Compound chocolate is a product made from a combination of cocoa, vegetable fat, and sweeteners. It is used as a lower-cost alternative to true chocolate, as it uses less-expensive hard vegetable fats such as coconut oil or palm kernel oil in place of the more expensive cocoa butter. It may also be known as 'compound coating' or 'chocolatey coating' when used as a coating for candy.
White Chocolate (Compound) Wikipedia

A small amount.

Compound chocolate is a product made from a combination of cocoa, vegetable fat, and sweeteners. It is used as a lower-cost alternative to true chocolate, as it uses less-expensive hard vegetable fats such as coconut oil or palm kernel oil in place of the more expensive cocoa butter. It may also be known as 'compound coating' or 'chocolatey coating' when used as a coating for candy.

15 Comments

  • I’m sorry, “when I use Gumpaste instead of Pastillage” :))) That was the first thing I wanted to write 🙂

  • Dear Yener,

    fantastic cake! Thank you so much for thus Tutorial! I have a question.
    My pastillage isn’t completed for second attempt,
    when I use Pastillage instead of Gum Paste, will succeed that?
    Thank you for tour answer, Ani

  • Another FANTASTIC work of art! You are so amazing and so very, VERY clever! I learn so much from every one of your videos! You think of EVERYTHING!

  • Hi
    I have a quick question about the cake board the cake is sat on the one you use as a guide to carve the cake.
    The size of it is it the same size as the template on the print out A or is it slightly smaller?
    I’ve watched the video but you don’t mention a size.
    I want to use the right size as worried if I use template A if it’s to big once it’s ganached and iced it will be to big for the pastillage cut out A.
    Hope that makes sense.
    This is my 1st tutorial with you and I’m loving the way it’s all put together.
    Will be buying more after I’ve played around with this one.
    Keep up the good work.
    Marc

    • Serdar Yener

      Yes, Marcus, It makes sense the board underneath the cake should 1 cm less so it will be just right after ganache and fondant coating. Sorry I missed that.

  • Hi, loving the tutorial, thank you and what an amazing work of art! Quick question please. If using buttercream to crumb coat can I use white chocolate to seal it? I would like to make it without ganache in the cake if it’s possible??? Thank you

  • Fantastic! How many people does this cake serve? (if, of course, we decide to cut it)

  • Amazing. Thank you Chef Yeners

  • Simply WOW!
    What an amazingly artistic creation.
    Remember too to avoid any products that contain palm oil. Everything we do impacts the planet, let’s choose to do the things that benefit it and its inhabitants.
    Thanks for sharing another wonderful cake Serdar.

  • This is just beautiful! And speaking of earth day, we as cake decorators have our work cut out regarding recycling and protecting this planet. There is so much waste and pollution related to what we do specially using oil-based plastic piping bags and throwing them in the trash after.

  • I am looking forward to this one! It looks gorgeous!

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