In this post, you will find all the cake components that can be made or purchased ahead of time if you plan on making my logging truck cake. Of course, these decorations don't have to be limited to a logging truck cake. You can always pick and choose what decorations you want to make and apply them to a cake of your own. Use the menu above to jump straight to whatever you're interested in!
Chocolate Tree Bark
The chocolate bark gets placed around the outside of the cake and is intended to look like tree bark. The food coloring is optional and the chocolate doesn't require tempering since the surface gets roughed up. For a fun added detail, I used a hot paring knife to carve Allen's initials (LAF) inside a heart, similar to a tree carving.
Roughed up chocolate shards intended to look like tree bark on a cake.
- parchment paper
- rolling pin or similar object
- paring knife
- new toothbrush or stiff pastry brush
- Line a large cookie sheet with a piece of parchment paper.
- Pour chocolate chips into a microwave-safe bowl.
- Microwave 30 seconds and stir. Repeat until chocolate chips are melted down.
- Once the chocolate has melted, pour onto the parchment paper (use all the chocolate for thick bark or work in multiple batches for thinner bark).
- Add two or three drops of black gel food coloring (optional) and use a spatula to evenly spread out the chocolate. This will add small black streaks to the chocolate as the food coloring gets distributed.
- Cover the chocolate with another sheet of parchment paper. Place a rolling pin on one end and gently wrap the chocolate filled parchment around it. Leave to harden overnight.
- Once the chocolate has hardened, slowly unroll the paper. The chocolate will break into shards but you can give it a little help if any pieces are too big. Hang onto the small pieces too because they can be used to fill in gaps on the outside of the cake later.
- To add texture to the bark, use the tip of a paring knife, the serrations on a steak knife, or in my case - the plastic tool that removes remnants from a garlic press. Gently swipe the item lengthwise on each chocolate shard to make it resemble the texture of tree bark. Use a new toothbrush or stiff pastry brush to wipe off the chocolate shavings as soon as you're done with each piece. This ensures the shavings don't re-attach to the chocolate and make it look crumbly.
- As an added touch, you can add a "carving" to the bark. I did my son's initials in a heart but you could also do the person's age, a significant date, or whatever you want. Pick a piece of bark that you would like on the front of the cake (a wider piece is easier to work with). Dip the tip of a paring knife into hot water and wipe it dry. Use the hot knife to make you design, re-dipping it as the knife gets cool.
- Store chocolate bark in an airtight container until ready to use on your cake. You can stack multiple layers of it by separating each layer with parchment paper.
Potential allergens contained in this recipe may vary due to brands of ingredients used, product reformulations, etc. Please verify that all your ingredients are safe for you to consume and always be mindful of allergen cross contact while cooking.
More than one batch may be needed to make it all the way around the cake plus provide room for slip-ups. Be generous with the amount you make - it can't be made last minutes since it takes so long to cool. I saved the leftovers and have been chopping them up to replace chocolate chips in my baking.
Mug Cake "Moss"
I almost didn't make the moss but I like the extra detail and color it added. It barely took any time for me to make it and I already had all the ingredients I needed at home. I just looked online for a mug cake recipe and swapped the gluten and dairy ingredients 1:1 with ingredients I could eat.
- You'll need the mug cake ingredients found in Just So Tasty's Vanilla Mug Cake but replace the butter with dairy free "butter", milk with almond or carton coconut milk, and flour with Bob's Red Mill gluten free 1 to 1 flour. All the ingredient replacements use the same quantity. You will also omit the sprinkles.
- Follow Just So Tasty's recipe through step 3 to mix the ingredients into a batter.
- Use green and a touch of brown food colorings until the batter is a green moss color. (I used 2 drops McCormick green food coloring, 2-3 drops AmeriColor gel food coloring in Cork, and just a dipped toothpick's worth of Americolor gel food coloring in chocolate brown.
- Follow the cooking instructions on Just So Tasty and once cool, store in an airtight container until you're ready to decorate your cake.
I don't usually use inedible cake toppers (aside from the candles) but I thought the characters and scene really brought the cake to life and made it more enjoyable for Lenn Allen. Actually he threw a huge fit over that tiny marshmallow. It was all his tunnel vision could see on the cake and nobody understood what he was trying to tell us. We eventually figured it out and he got a pretty good sugar fix too.
For trees, we bought colored pencils made from tree cuttings and used some of them as guest favors too.
Logging Truck with Log Piles
We already owned the fork lift and I'm not sure where it came from. I was looking for an actual log loader but they're so hard to find and I only have so much money I can spend on a birthday cake anyways!
LEGO Minifigure with Harness
This guy was a little bit of work to get him to stay up in his "tree" but I thought it turned out really cute and was worth the extra effort.
- For the LEGO Minifigure, I found this lumberjack Minifigure. Mine looks slightly different than the one Amazon is showing but they are both cute.
- Start by tying one end of a string around the lumberjack's hips. Wrap the string in multiple layers from shoulder to between legs to other shoulder multiple times then begin wrapping it multiple times around the hips. Finish by securing a knot in the front but don't cut the length of string just yet.
- Figure out how far you want the Minifigure to hang down on the "tree" and tie the string around the top of the tree, leaving the correct length between the knot and the LEGO lumberjack. Cut off the excess string.
- Finally, add the chainsaw in the LEGO lumberjack's hand and use a little bit of hot glue to secure his feet to the tree so he stays still. I also added some hot glue between the chainsaw and tree to make him extra stable. After the party, I was able to easily peel the hot glue right off the plastic toy without any damage so it was still something my son could play with afterwards.
LEGO Minifigure Roasting a Marshmallow
I thought he was so cute and it got even more fun once the candle was lit!
- I purchased the LEGO Minifigure on Amazon.
- I kept the axe to place next to him on the cake and since he's clearly on his lunch break, I went into the backyard and found him a stick that would snap perfectly into his tiny hand so he could enjoy some s'mores.
- The mini marshmallows were actually too big so I cut one down to a smaller size and stuck it to the end of the stick.