Tree Stump Cake

1. October 2021

Prep time: 4 hours

Serves: 20-30

I made this tree stump cake recipe many years ago as a wedding cake and next to the wood cake look it is a lumberjack cake inside! It is all about that wood look! Even though this tree trunk cake seems to be a very difficult cake to make, it is easy when you know the step-by-step process and I’m taking you along in this tree stump cake tutorial.

Tree Trunk Cake

There are tree stump cake fondant versions out there, but I try to avoid working with fondant as I dislike the taste and this is my main reason for it. The taste of a cake has highest priority, of course it also has to look outstanding, but if it doesn’t taste good then it’s all for nothing in my opinion. So, I checked some tree stump cake ideas and this one turned out to be the best! This cake is ideal for any wooden themed party, as tree birthday cake or as tree stump wedding cake.

How to make a Tree Stump Cake

In this tree stump cake tutorial I’m taking you along the step by step processes of this extraordinary lumberjack cake which looks like a tree stump. There are buttercream tree stump cake versions, but I didn’t use any buttercream in this recipe but instead worked on a super delicious ganache tree stump cake.

Lumberjack Cake

In order to create this lumberjack style I used red sponge cake, chocolate sponge cake, chocolate ganache and chocolate cream cheese frosting, with those four elements I created this style. I incorporated chocolate cream cheese frosting into the lumberjack look to have more frosting between the cakes, as I love frostings and didn’t want to have only cake layers.

  • Sponge cakes: I used the same recipe for the red and chocolate sponge cakes. I used red food coloring for the red sponge cake and dark cocoa powder for the chocolate sponge cake. Once they’re baked and cooled the cutting is very important. In order to have perfect squares when cutting the cake the height has to be the same as depth, so I decided for 2cm / 0.8 inch. This means one have to cut out many circles but it’s totally worth it for the look!
  • Chocolate ganache: is the perfect frosting to act as a glue between the different cake layers. It doesn’t moisten the cake and it holds it perfectly in shape. Plus it tastes super delicious and fits perfectly with sponge cakes and the chocolate cream cheese frosting.
  • Chocolate cream cheese frosting: this is my specialty frosting and I absolutely adore it. It is a mixture of almost equal parts whipped cream, cream cheese and dark chocolate. All of them mixed together become a super chocolatey but still refreshing frosting. It’s dangerous, you won’t get enough of it. Instead of a cake layer circles I’m using those in some parts to add some frosting in between the layers and it also gives another shade to the lumberjack cake.

Tree Stump Wedding Cake

Now we’ve talked all things lumberjack cake and let’s switch to our beautiful tree stump cake recipe. The lumberjack cake is covered in chocolate cream cheese frosting as well. And for the top, to create this wooden look I’m mixing the chocolate cream cheese frosting with some more cream cheese to create a light brownish color and then I’m using a jagged scraper.

  • Tree bark: even though the tree bark looks difficult to make it is actually the easiest thing in this tree stump cake tutorial. For this we need melted chocolate, and here it is very important to not expose the chocolate to too much heat, otherwise it’ll have white stains when hardening. Spread the melted chocolate on parchment paper, roll it up and let it cool down, once hardened, roll out the parchment paper and it automatically breaks into tree bark looking pieces. When the chocolate pieces are all on the cake, I brushed some melted milk chocolate on it to create some shade and make it look more resembling to real tree bark.
Print Recipe

Tree Trunk Cake

  • Preparation time: 4 hours
  • Servings: 20-30


Shortbread Crust

  • 50g (1/3 cup) sugar
  • 100g (1/2 cup) butter, room temperature
  • 150g (1 1/4 cup) flour
  • 10g (2 tbsp) cocoa powder

Sponge Cakes

  • 10 eggs
  • 240g (1 1/4 cup) sugar
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 280g (2 cups) flour
  • 30g (1/4 cup) cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp baking powder
  • 20g (1/8 cup) cocoa powder
  • red food coloring

Chocolate Ganache

  • 150ml (1/2 cup + 3 tbsp) heavy crem
  • 200g (1 1/2 cup) dark chocolate

Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 500ml (2 cups) heavy cream
  • 500g (4 cups) cream cheese
  • 400g (3 cups) dark chocolate
  • 100g (3/4 cup) cream cheese

Chocolate Tree Bark

  • 400g (3 cups) dark chocolate
  • 100g (3/4 cup) milk chocolate


Shortbread Crust - 28cm (11 inch) diameter

  • Mix all ingredients and form into a dough and place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Roll it out on a flour covered surface and cut out a 30cm (12 inch) circle. Pierce a few holes with a fork and bake for 10-15 minutes at 160°C / 320°F.

Sponge Cakes - 28cm (11 inch) diameter

    1. Beat the eggs until fluffy. Mix sugar, salt and vanilla (sugar) and slowly add to the egg mixture while it continues to mix, beat it for 1 minute at high speed.. Mix together flour, cornstarch and baking powder and add to the egg mixture in two batches, slowly and gently combining with a whisk to not lose any air.
    2. Divide the batter into 2 parts, fold in the cocoa powder under one part and mix in red food coloring into the other part until it has a bright red color.
    3. Bake the batters in greased and / or lined cake pans with a diameter of 28cm (11 inch) for 15-20 minutes at 160°C / 320°F. Stick a toothpick into the cake to test whether it is baked. If batter sticks to the toothpick, the cake needs a bit longer to bake, if the toothpick comes out clean, the sponge cakes are properly baked.

Chocolate Ganache

  • A day before: cut the chocolate into small pieces (in case it’s needed). Heat up the heavy cream and pour the chocolate pieces in. Let sit for 1 minute and then gently stir until well combined without including any air. Cover and let cool down.

Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

  • Carefully melt the dark chocolate. In a fat-free bowl, whip the heavy cream. Mix 500g (4 cups) cream cheese separately in a bowl and carefully fold in the whipped cream. Now quickly add the melted dark chocolate to the cream cheese frosting and fold in vigorously. Be careful that the chocolate doesn’t set too quickly otherwise there will be chocolate pieces. If the chocolate is mixed in quickly, then we’ll have a perfect chocolate cream cheese frosting. Mix ¼ of the frosting with 100g (3/4 cup) cream cheese and set aside.

Chocolate Tree Bark

  • Carefully melt the dark chocolate and spread on parchment paper. Roll it up and let it cool down. Then roll it up and the chocolate will break automatically into bark like pieces.


    1. Cut both sponge cakes three times horizontally with a height of 2cm (0.8 inch) each. Draw a template with 7 circles on parchment paper, the inner circle has a diameter of 4 cm (1.6 inch), then the other 6 circles are 2cm (0.8 inch) apart. So, in total you have a diameter of 28cm (11 inch). Use the template to cut both sponge cakes to size.
    2. Now spread some ganache on the shortbread crust and place 4 circles of the chocolate sponge cake on it. Fill the other circles with the chocolate and cream cheese frosting. Spread some ganache on the sponge cakes. Now place four red sponge cake circles exactly on the chocolate sponge cake circles and place the chocolate sponge cake circles on top of the chocolate cream cheese frosting. Cover this layer with ganache and repeat this process three more times. Then coat the whole cake with the chocolate cream cheese frosting. Spread the lighter chocolate cream cheese frosting on top and use a fork or a jagged scraper to obtain a tree like pattern.
    3. Now stick the chocolate tree bark to the cake. Melt the 100g (3/4 cup) milk chocolate and brush the chocolate tree bark to connect them, this creates an even better tree bark look. I sprinkled some powdered sugar on the cake, but it’s optional! I’m looking forward to seeing your pictures of your results, send it to me on Instagram, Facebook or by email.

Leave a Reply

Previous Recipe Next Recipe