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80% would make again

Tree Stump Moss Cake

It’s a cake straight out of a fairy tale! Dulce de leche buttercream and chocolate ganache meet pistachios and meringue to create a magical dessert complete with edible tree bark, mushrooms, and moss. While this recipe takes time and patience, it’s sure to bring a sweet ending to any Fall or Spring celebration.

Tasty Team
Total Time

4 hr 20 min

4 hr 20 min

Prep Time

1 hr

1 hr

Cook Time

3 hr

3 hr

Total Time

4 hr 20 min

4 hr 20 min

Prep Time

1 hr

1 hr

Cook Time

3 hr

3 hr

Ingredients

for 10 servings

Dulce de Leche Buttercream

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter
  • ½ cup dulce de leche (65 g)
  • 4 cups powdered sugar (440 g)
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 box chocolate cake mix, baked according to package instructions into 2 8-inch rounds and cooled completely

Meringue Mushrooms

  • 3 large egg whites, room temperature
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon McCormick® cream of tartar
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar (150 g)
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 teaspoon McCormick® vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup dutch processed cocoa powder (30 g)
  • ¼ cup dark chocolate chip (45 g), melted

Chocolate Bark

  • ½ cup heavy cream (120 mL)
  • ½ cup dark chocolate chip (85 g)

Edible Moss

  • ½ cup shelled pistachios (75 g)
  • 1 tablespoon matcha powder

Buttercream Flowers

  • 1 ½ cups Tasty's buttercream frosting (210 g)
  • voilet ged food coloring
  • pink gel food coloring
  • yellow gel food coloring
  • avocado gel food coloring
  • mauve gel food coloring

Special Equipment

  • 7 pipping bags
  • round piping tip, 1/2 in (1.24 cm)
  • round piping tip, 1 in (2.54 cm)
  • Assorted piping tip for decorating

Preparation

  1. Make the dulce de leche buttercream: In a large bowl, cream together the butter and dulce de leche with an electric hand mixer on medium speed until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. Sift in the powdered sugar and salt and mix until the frosting is smooth and thick, about 3 minutes.
  2. Frost the cakes: Scoop 1 cup of buttercream onto 1 chocolate cake round and spread evenly across the top. Place the second cake round on top, pressing down gently to secure. Spread another cup buttercream evenly over the top and sides to create a crumb coat. Cover and set the remaining buttercream aside until ready to decorate. Refrigerate the cake until ready to decorate.
  3. Make the meringue mushrooms: Preheat the oven to 225°F (105°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  4. Add the egg whites to a heat-safe bowl. Using a hand mixer, whip on medium speed until frothy, about 2 minutes. Add the salt and cream of tartar and beat just to incorporate.
  5. Add the sugar and water to a saute pan and stir to combine. Turn the heat to medium-high heat and cook without stirring until the syrup creates bubbles that are the size of quarters and the temperature reaches 248°F (120°C).
  6. With the hand mixer running on medium speed, carefully pour the hot sugar syrup into the egg white mixture, resting the pan on the edge of the bowl and aiming the syrup to hit the side of the bowl so it does not splash against the beaters. Whip the mixture until stiff peaks form, about 3 minutes. Add the vanilla and beat on medium-low speed until just combined. Transfer the meringue into a piping bag fitted with a ½-inch (1.24 cm) round tip.
  7. To make the mushroom caps, hold the piping bag upright and squeeze the meringue firmly onto half of the prepared baking sheet into disc shapes ranging from ½ inch (1.24 cm) to 1½ (3.81 cm) inches in diameter, leaving at least ½ inch (1.24 cm) of space between each cap. You should use about ⅔ of the meringue. Dip your finger in water and smooth the top of each cap. Your fingers will create natural dimples and watermarks to mimic the look of mushrooms caps.
  8. To make the mushroom stems, hold the piping bag upright and squeeze the remaining meringue firmly onto the other half of the baking sheet in ½-inch and 1-inch long pieces, leaving at least ½ inch of space between each stem. The number of stems should match the number of caps.
  9. Bake the meringue mushrooms for about 3 hours, until the caps and stems feel dry to the touch and are light beige in color. Remove from the oven and let the meringues cool completely.
  10. Lightly dust the mushroom caps with the cocoa powder, then use a pastry brush to brush the cocoa powder into the caps until they are a rustic brown color.
  11. Spread a bit of melted dark chocolate on the bottom of a mushroom cap, then press the cap onto the top of a stem. Repeat to assemble the remaining mushrooms, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate to set completely, about 10 minutes.
  12. Make the chocolate bark: Add the heavy cream to a small stainless steel pot and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
  13. Add the chocolate chips to a medium heatproof bowl. Pour the warm cream over the chocolate and stir until melted completely. Let the ganache cool to room temperature, about 1 hour; it should be thick and have the texture of frosting. Once cool, add ⅓ of the ganache to a piping bag fitted with a ½-inch round tip and the remaining ganache to a piping bag fitted with a 1-inch round tip.
  14. Make the edible moss: Pulse the pistachios and matcha powder in a food processor until coarsely ground, being careful not to process into a paste. Set aside until ready to decorate.
  15. Make the buttercream flowers: Divide the buttercream frosting evenly between 5 medium bowls. Add the violet, pink, yellow, avocado, and mauve food coloring to each bowl and stir until well combined. Transfer each color frosting to a separate piping bag fitted with tips to pipe flowers and leaves. Set aside until ready to decorate.
  16. Assemble the cake: Spread the remaining dulce de leche buttercream over the top of the cake. Using the bag with the ½-inch tip, pipe the ganache in a swirl on top of the cake, starting from the center and working toward the outer edge. Use a fork to swirl the ganache and buttercream together to make the top of the tree stump.
  17. Using the bag with the 1-inch tip, pipe the remaining ganache onto the sides of the cake and spread to coat completely. Use a fork to draw lines vertically up the sides of the cake for the tree bark.
  18. Place mounds of edible moss on top of and around the cake, then place the mushrooms around the moss.
  19. Use the colored frostings to pipe leaves and flowers around the cake.
  20. Enjoy!

Ingredients

for 10 servings

Dulce de Leche Buttercream

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter
  • ½ cup dulce de leche (65 g)
  • 4 cups powdered sugar (440 g)
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 box chocolate cake mix, baked according to package instructions into 2 8-inch rounds and cooled completely

Meringue Mushrooms

  • 3 large egg whites, room temperature
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon McCormick® cream of tartar
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar (150 g)
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 teaspoon McCormick® vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup dutch processed cocoa powder (30 g)
  • ¼ cup dark chocolate chip (45 g), melted

Chocolate Bark

  • ½ cup heavy cream (120 mL)
  • ½ cup dark chocolate chip (85 g)

Edible Moss

  • ½ cup shelled pistachios (75 g)
  • 1 tablespoon matcha powder

Buttercream Flowers

  • 1 ½ cups Tasty's buttercream frosting (210 g)
  • voilet ged food coloring
  • pink gel food coloring
  • yellow gel food coloring
  • avocado gel food coloring
  • mauve gel food coloring

Special Equipment

  • 7 pipping bags
  • round piping tip, 1/2 in (1.24 cm)
  • round piping tip, 1 in (2.54 cm)
  • Assorted piping tip for decorating

Preparation

  1. Make the dulce de leche buttercream: In a large bowl, cream together the butter and dulce de leche with an electric hand mixer on medium speed until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. Sift in the powdered sugar and salt and mix until the frosting is smooth and thick, about 3 minutes.
  2. Frost the cakes: Scoop 1 cup of buttercream onto 1 chocolate cake round and spread evenly across the top. Place the second cake round on top, pressing down gently to secure. Spread another cup buttercream evenly over the top and sides to create a crumb coat. Cover and set the remaining buttercream aside until ready to decorate. Refrigerate the cake until ready to decorate.
  3. Make the meringue mushrooms: Preheat the oven to 225°F (105°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  4. Add the egg whites to a heat-safe bowl. Using a hand mixer, whip on medium speed until frothy, about 2 minutes. Add the salt and cream of tartar and beat just to incorporate.
  5. Add the sugar and water to a saute pan and stir to combine. Turn the heat to medium-high heat and cook without stirring until the syrup creates bubbles that are the size of quarters and the temperature reaches 248°F (120°C).
  6. With the hand mixer running on medium speed, carefully pour the hot sugar syrup into the egg white mixture, resting the pan on the edge of the bowl and aiming the syrup to hit the side of the bowl so it does not splash against the beaters. Whip the mixture until stiff peaks form, about 3 minutes. Add the vanilla and beat on medium-low speed until just combined. Transfer the meringue into a piping bag fitted with a ½-inch (1.24 cm) round tip.
  7. To make the mushroom caps, hold the piping bag upright and squeeze the meringue firmly onto half of the prepared baking sheet into disc shapes ranging from ½ inch (1.24 cm) to 1½ (3.81 cm) inches in diameter, leaving at least ½ inch (1.24 cm) of space between each cap. You should use about ⅔ of the meringue. Dip your finger in water and smooth the top of each cap. Your fingers will create natural dimples and watermarks to mimic the look of mushrooms caps.
  8. To make the mushroom stems, hold the piping bag upright and squeeze the remaining meringue firmly onto the other half of the baking sheet in ½-inch and 1-inch long pieces, leaving at least ½ inch of space between each stem. The number of stems should match the number of caps.
  9. Bake the meringue mushrooms for about 3 hours, until the caps and stems feel dry to the touch and are light beige in color. Remove from the oven and let the meringues cool completely.
  10. Lightly dust the mushroom caps with the cocoa powder, then use a pastry brush to brush the cocoa powder into the caps until they are a rustic brown color.
  11. Spread a bit of melted dark chocolate on the bottom of a mushroom cap, then press the cap onto the top of a stem. Repeat to assemble the remaining mushrooms, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate to set completely, about 10 minutes.
  12. Make the chocolate bark: Add the heavy cream to a small stainless steel pot and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
  13. Add the chocolate chips to a medium heatproof bowl. Pour the warm cream over the chocolate and stir until melted completely. Let the ganache cool to room temperature, about 1 hour; it should be thick and have the texture of frosting. Once cool, add ⅓ of the ganache to a piping bag fitted with a ½-inch round tip and the remaining ganache to a piping bag fitted with a 1-inch round tip.
  14. Make the edible moss: Pulse the pistachios and matcha powder in a food processor until coarsely ground, being careful not to process into a paste. Set aside until ready to decorate.
  15. Make the buttercream flowers: Divide the buttercream frosting evenly between 5 medium bowls. Add the violet, pink, yellow, avocado, and mauve food coloring to each bowl and stir until well combined. Transfer each color frosting to a separate piping bag fitted with tips to pipe flowers and leaves. Set aside until ready to decorate.
  16. Assemble the cake: Spread the remaining dulce de leche buttercream over the top of the cake. Using the bag with the ½-inch tip, pipe the ganache in a swirl on top of the cake, starting from the center and working toward the outer edge. Use a fork to swirl the ganache and buttercream together to make the top of the tree stump.
  17. Using the bag with the 1-inch tip, pipe the remaining ganache onto the sides of the cake and spread to coat completely. Use a fork to draw lines vertically up the sides of the cake for the tree bark.
  18. Place mounds of edible moss on top of and around the cake, then place the mushrooms around the moss.
  19. Use the colored frostings to pipe leaves and flowers around the cake.
  20. Enjoy!

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