A centerpiece that doubles as dessert, this birch log looks fresh from the forest but it’s actually a delicious cake!
Christmas wouldn’t be the same without my yearly endeavor of making a Bûche de Noel! You may remember some of my yule log cakes from Christmases past, such as this Black Forest version, or even this Mulled Wine Stump Cake. However, this one with tiled pieces of white candy birch ‘bark’ might be my favorite of them all!
Earlier this season a friend at HGTV asked if I’d be interested in styling a few tablescapes with matching edible centerpieces for the website. I was so honored and excited to be asked – yes! Anyone who knows me knows I love a beautifully set table and couldn’t wait to get started. I really loved creating this cake, and I feel the corresponding tablescape matches its woodsy-cozy appeal.
I was inspired by classic Christmas red, pine and silver details. A few elements were crafted by hand, such as the birch covered vases (they are actually coffee cans!), and the rustic twig name card holders.
I’m adding a link to the bottom of this post that will take you to the entire tablescape gallery. There you can better see the finer features and learn all the specifics in the gallery captions. I hope you enjoy it!
Now, a little more about this cake!
The birch bark exterior is easy to make – you almost can’t mess it up! Essentially, you’ll dip the flat edge of a cake smoother in melted semisweet chocolate and use it to imprint lines on parchment paper. Repeating this step in a staggered fashion will create a pattern that resembles birch tree bark. You can even swirl on a few irregular looking tree knots with a small paintbrush.
The birch pattern is chilled until firm, and then white melted candy is smoothed on top and chilled again.
When the candy piece is turned out, it can be broken into irregular pieces. These don’t have to be any particular shape, but I found that long, rectangular pieces tile more easily on the cake.
Mmm… pumpkin roll!
The candy pieces are layered onto the fresh buttercream, slightly overlapping.
I decided this birch log should be resting on a forest floor, so I pulverized some pistachios for a bed of moss. Bright red mushrooms are made from white modeling chocolate and mini soft-baked cookies dipped in red melted candy.
You can find the recipe with pictorial on HGTV.com at the following link. The second link will take you to the tablescape gallery.
I really enjoyed crafting and curating pieces for this festive table. I hope you enjoy browsing all the little details!