Have you ever heard of fairy gardens or fairy houses? If not, here’s your short lesson. They’re whimsical little gardens, generally made from everything in nature such as tree stumps, leaves, twigs, pinecones, rocks, and moss. They can be as simple or as elaborate as your imagination can get, but ultimately, the goal is to create a welcoming space in which magical fairies will live. It’s a fun and playful concept. Since this is a cake blog, you might be able to guess that I’m talking about fairy gardens because we got to make a fairy garden cake. Make that…cakes.
This was a full-on whimsical scene for a little girl’s 8th birthday. As this might be one of the coolest collections we’ve made for a kid, I wanted to share with you the making of these cakes. So let’s take a tour through our fairy garden.
Before the cakes were even made, we had to make the elements. The extra pieces of whimsy that would accompany all of the cakes. We’ve got cute mushrooms, some wood moths, lots of ferns, purple and blue flowers (birthday girl’s favorite colors), and of course, a birthday sign. You’ll see these elements pop up as we go on our tour. Now we’re off to the cakes.
Our first stop is the tree stump. The centerpiece of our set. This cake stood a proud eight inches tall and was wrapped in dark modeling chocolate for the perfect bark color. Katie then worked quickly and diligently to “distress” the bark by using various cake tools, including a Styrofoam block, to mar the beautiful surface and make it more realistic. Next came carving our birthday girl’s name, Maia, into the surface. Obviously, a very important step! Finally, Katie created all the extra stumps and bumps with more modeling chocolate.
Next came the birch tree house. This cake was also wrapped in modeling chocolate but a white version. Katie mussed that up with a bit of black dye and some grooves to make it actually look like birch bark. The biggest part of this cake was covering the roof with indigo and blue leaves. That made the cake a perfect combination of whimsical and realistic.
The mushroom house was similar to the birch in that its distinguishing factor was its fun and colorful roof. The door and window were made from fondant that was grooved out to look like wood. Our window flower box was dressed up with some of the little purple and blue flowers we saw earlier, delicately placed using cake decorating tweezers.
So what about those roofs? Funny shapes like these, and ones that overhang, we like to make from Rice-krispie treats. This gives the shape a little more structure and stability—especially the tall skinny cone on the birch tree. You can see that we mashed the krispies together to create the general shape and then refined their look with a rolling pin. These were then coated with a little buttercream and covered in fondant just like you would a cake. A nifty little trick.
Lastly came decorating the tree stump. As the centerpiece, this cake was designed to have the most detail and whimsy extras. Moss—fondant distressed with a paintbrush—grew along the bottom edge of the tree and became the home to our many ferns and mushrooms. Flower vines fell from over top and curled around to the window. And a wood moth perched himself atop the chocolate branch. The birthday sign, of course, went front and center.
After delivering the cakes we had to completely finish the set up of the design. Here’s a closer look at our final fairy houses.
The mushroom house didn’t need much added except a bit of moss and some ferns for greenery. We also ended up shimmering the pretty roof for a little extra whimsy.
The birch house also needed a pop of green with the moss and ferns but we also added a couple mushroom for a little burst of red. This roof was also shimmered, because really, what little girl doesn’t like things that sparkle and shine? And check out the birch bark peel over the door. Sweet!
From where we left off, this cake had a few more pieces added on. Another wood moth, some fondant rocks, and chocolate tree fungus (sounds weird but looks really cool) growing on the upper left side. And lastly, our moss-covered number 8 adorned with baby-sized flowers.
Well, that completes our tour of the fairy garden cakes. What do you think? Feel inspired to have one of your own?