Tree of Life – 40th Birthday

Tree of Life – 40th Birthday

When I get a cake request from a creative type like a graphic designer, I always know the cake is going to be awesome. This client wanted a great cake to celebrate her hubby’s 40th and incorporate all his favorite things. It’s always a challenge to create a cake with a lot of disconnected items like hobbies, pets and kids so I really had to stretch my brain for this one. What I came up with was a “Tree of Life” theme. A historical tree with the “fruits” of life flowering all over the branches. This is the sketch I sent to the client.

The client was totally on board so I set out to make my gigantic tree cake! She wanted to feature their kids, their pets, some hobbies including poker, skiing, fishing, football and a nice bottle of makers mark :)

This is the finished product :)

The plaque is made of modeling chocolate (as well as the tree) and brushed with a luster dust to make it look like bronze.

The birthday boy is a big Beavers fan so of course we had to have Benny the Beaver on there :)

A nice reaction clip from the birthday boy. He was very surprised!

  • Michelle Clarke

    It is so beautiful, you are so talented..

    I would love to make this cake as a surprise for my niece…
    Would you be willing to send me some step by step pics… I would be so grateful

    Kind Regards

    Shell :-)

  • Lani

    OMG! You’re cake is amazing. I’m getting ready to make a cake for a business that is “growing” and would love to make a tree similar to yours. Would you be willing to send me pics also of how you made your structure.

    Thanks again and keep up the amazing work!!!


  • Nona

    I second Tammy’s notion!

  • Tammy

    I am IN LOVE with this tree!! I am making a cake for a grassland ecosystem tree for a school in my area. I was wondering if you could send me a few pics of the steps you took. For example, the dowel with the wire attached??? Maybe a couple more to help me start it off?? It would be greatly appreciated! One more thing, how much m.c. did it take to create this magnificent tree?

    Thank you,
    Buffalo, NY

  • Nina

    Hello again,

    Inspired by you, I’m in the process of making this tree for an up-coming family reunion and hope to send a picture upon completion.
    Your tree: so realistic – expertly crafted – professional
    My tree: Dutch Elm Disease
    I’ll keep you posted.

  • Emily

    Hi! I LOVE this cake and would love to make something similar. Can you share with me a little more about the way you fixed the wire sculpture to the cake and how you fixed the leaves to the tree. Also, would love to see the pic of the wire sculpture before the modeling chocolate was put on. Oh! And where do you get modeling chocolate? The stripes on the side…are they modeling chocolate too…or icing?

    • Elizabeth Marek

      Hi Emily,
      The tree was placed on top of the cake with a large dowel that extended through the tree, down through a cake board and into the cake for support and into the base of the cake board. No easy feat! I make my modeling chocolate by melting 1 lb of chocolate to 8 oz of corn syrup (you can find recipes online) but recipes may vary depending on the chocolate you use. You cannot use melties. It wont turn out right. The stripes on the side are fondant rolled out and cut into strips. I hope this helps and good luck!

      • Nona

        Hi Elizabeth!

        The tree is gorgeous! I would like to make one very similar to it. Would you mind explaining the inner-workings of the tree a bit more? For example, is it entirely modeling chocolate? I’ve got some ideas on how to form the tree, but would like to know how you did it since it obviously was a successful maneuver. How did you form the roots of the tree? Lastly, how would one make the branches and keep them suspended the way they are? Are the branches wires? I appreciate your help and time. Thank you!


        • Elizabeth Marek

          Yes the tree is made of wire. I took several strong pieces of wire, twisted them together at the trunk then made the branches. I then covered the whole thing in masking tape. Then I covered that in modeling chocolate. The roots are hand modeled. Hope that helps!

  • Elizabeth Marek

    Hi Leah, thanks for the comment. The view is gorgeous I know! It was hard not to gawk while we where there! I made a large wire model for the support and covered it in modeling chocolate. I will email you a pic if you like :)

    • Nina

      How beautiful! Your time, talent, work and sharing is appreciated. I was searching for a tree themed cake for an upcoming family reunion when I stumbled upon this. I’ve never worked with modeling chocolate, and am not sure I have the nerve to attempt. However, if I do, can you tell me if this would hold up well at an outside function at what’s sure to be a hot day in August? Thank you.

      • Elizabeth Marek

        Hi Nina, I wouldn’t use modeling chocolate in hot weather. It gets pretty soft. I would think gumpaste or fondant would be safer :) Good luck!

        • Nina

          Thank you. I’m glad I asked.

    • Karen

      I love the tree. I am doing a jungle cake for my grandson’s bd. I would love to have more details on how you made the tree. Thanks so much1

    • Kayla

      Do you mind emailing me a picture please? I made a bonzi tree cake once…it turned out very stumpy because I had to add extra modeling chocolate to the base to keep it standing LOL! Never found out if it made the ride home or not…

      • Elizabeth Marek

        For the main dowel, I placed it into a styrofoam dummy to hold it up and then put the board over the dummy. This is the best way I have found to keep tall skinny dowels in place.

        • Joey

          Hello, Could you help me understand what you mean here? Board over the dummy? Sorry, I’m just not getting it :-/

    • Jeanie

      Elizabeth you are something of a true artist…this is a beautiful cake

      • Elizabeth Marek

        Thank you very much :)

  • Leah

    I’m in love with this cake, the beautiful drawing alone had me hooked but the execution is amazing, stunning detail. Such a great idea too, I’ve often stumbled when someone wants a cake to incorporate so many interests at once. Can I ask what you use as support inside the tree? I’d imagine it wasn’t fun transporting with the delicacy of the branches.

    Thanks for sharing.

    P.S. Can I live where the clients live, it looks gorgeous?