Autumnal cake decorations using cutters

This seasonally inspired design uses freehand wheel cutting and texturing techniques to create a beautiful autumn tree. A leaf cutter and veiner add texture to the leaves. To start, edge the board with brown ribbon and secure it with non-toxic glue. Position the cake in the centre of the board.

You'll need

    *15cm round fruit or sponge cake covered with white sugarpaste

    *20.5cm round drum board covered with green sugarpaste

    *Small amounts of brown modelling paste

    *Small amounts or red, orange, yellow, beige and rust-coloured flower paste

    *Vegetable shortening

    *Cornflour dusting bag

    *Brown 15mm ribbon

    *Round cookie cutters, 85mm and 65mm

    *Rose leaf cutter, 11mm

    *Rose leaf silicone veiner

    *Wheel cutter

    *Smooth-blade kitchen knife

    *Artists’ paintbrush

    *Royal icing

    *Piping bag and no. 2 piping nozzle

    *Small cranked palette knife

    *Non-toxic glue stick

    1. Make a long, thin sausage shape using the brown modelling paste and attach it round the base of the cake. Emboss it using the wheel cutter to resemble tree bark.

    2. Cut two large brown circles using the 85mm and 65mm cookie cutters. Trim off the sides of the smaller circle using the same cutter to form the trunk.

    3. Use the 85mm cookie cutter to create a curve at the top of the trunk for the tree top to sit in. With the wheel cutter, cut out sections from the tree top to resemble branches.

    4. Fuse the trunk to the top of the tree by rubbing both edges with water using your finger and pushing them together.

    5. Cut into the branches using the wheel cutter to create finer branches, and cut a wavy line across the base of the trunk, again using the wheel cutter. Soften the join between the tree trunk and top using a paintbrush.

    6. Brush off any loose sugar and add texture to the tree by marking it using the wheel cutter.

    7. Using the rose leaf cutter, cut numerous leaves from orange, yellow, beige and rust-coloured gum paste. Mark on the veins using the rose leaf silicone veiner. Roll several red berries by hand.

    8. Fix the tree to the top of the cake with a little water brushed on the back. Then arrange the leaves on the cake and fix by piping tiny dots of royal icing behind each of them. Finally, fix some of the leaves and berries round the base and down the side of the cake. Place the leaves at various angles, overlapping them and attaching them at the base only so they stand proud of the cake. This creates a three-dimensional effect.

    9. Make coordinating cupcakes to go with your cake if you wish – simply decorated with leaves and berries.

    Find more great cake decoration ideas in ‘Using Cutters on Cakes’ by Sandra Monger, (£8.99, Search Press).