Autumn Leaves in Chocolate~ Blog Tutorial

Hi everyone!  It’s time for another fall themed tutorial.  Today’s cake design features a simple idea and method for creating an autumn themed cake that is as unique as it is beautiful.  This design would be perfect for any fall occasion, or on your Thanksgiving dessert table.  I hope that you enjoy it!

Let’s get started~


First, I frosted my 6″ round (approx 6″ tall) cake with vanilla buttercream. I then combed it with my trusty Ateco cake comb.

Autumn Leaves in Chocolate- Free cake decorating tutorial by!

Next, I tinted my buttercream with Americolor Chocolate Brown and piped on my tree trunk with a Wilton star tip 16.  Any piping tip of your choice would work nicely–even a round tip.  I wanted my tree trunk to have ridges and so I went with the star tip.

Autumn Leaves in Chocolate- Free cake decorating tutorial by!

Now for the leaves!  I melted pre-colored Wilton candy melts in autumn shades for our next step.  After melting, I put each color into it’s own piping bag, and snipped the tip of the bag (rather than using piping tips).  You’ll want to work fairly quickly during this next step, but if your chocolate becomes too cool and firms up, you can always reheat the bag for a few seconds in the microwave…or even have a warm cake pan nearby that you can place them in as you alternate between bags.

Autumn Leaves in Chocolate- Free cake decorating tutorial by!

Here, you see that I piped several dots of chocolate onto my waxed paper lined cookie sheet.  With some of the dots, I added a touch or two of another color.   It’s a little hard to tell from the photo, but my dots are larger than pea-sized, but smaller than marble-size ;0) –Experiment to see what size you like the best!

Autumn Leaves in Chocolate- Free cake decorating tutorial by!

Now, time to create our leaves!  I used a kitchen knife but any number of tools would work for the next step–a smallish spatula, a spoon , etc.  — Using the knife, I started from one side of my “dot” of chocolate and smeared it out, dragging the chocolate into a point–(or somewhat of a point!)  — This creates a teardrop shaped leaf.  Look at mine—they are not perfect!  In fact, out of context, these don’t look like leaves.  But you’ll see…they will!


Autumn Leaves in Chocolate- Free cake decorating tutorial by!

I made two full “cookie sheets” of these leaves.  Then, I chilled them in the freezer until they became hard– approximately 5-10 minutes is perfect.


Next, it was time to build the tree!  I used buttercream as my glue.  You can see below, that I dotted the areas around the branches with white buttercream.  I realized later that buttercream tinted yellow, orange, or green would have been an equally good (if not better) “glue”.  More on that in a little bit!

Autumn Leaves in Chocolate- Free cake decorating tutorial by!

With each new leaf, our little tree becomes more beautiful…(and the more our leaves begin to look like leaves!) ;0)

***It’s important to note that your leaves need to be cold when handling.  They are so thin, that they warm & therefore become more fragile quickly.  So, I found it easiest to have two trays of leaves.  One in the freezer, the other out.  And then swap them out when things warm up.

Autumn Leaves in Chocolate- Free cake decorating tutorial by!

I mentioned earlier that yellow buttercream would make a good adhesive for our leaves.  I found this helpful in a few areas where I wanted to build out my leaves a little more, but the white buttercream would have stood out too much.  The yellow buttercream was a perfect glue because it blended in so well with the chocolate leaves.  It’s a great way to fill things out here and there too if necessary!

Autumn Leaves in Chocolate- Free cake decorating tutorial by!

This cake was a little more time consuming than I expected– there are lots of leaves happening here!  I found it fun though…a little addictive too–I couldn’t make myself stop adding leaves!  You could get a similar look by just piping buttercream leaves with a piping tip, but I really liked the unusual texture and flatness of the leaves that the chocolate gave us.  Some almost had a transparent look to them.

I scattered a few of my extra leaves around the base of the cake– it feels like fall, doesn’t it?



Autumn Leaves in Chocolate- Free cake decorating tutorial by!


Thanks so much for stopping by, we’ll see you next time!



Category: Blog Tutorials, Chocolate Techniques, Fall, Seasonal & Holiday, Themes and Occasions
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  1. Maria says: #1

    This cake is going to be on our dessert table at Thanksgiving !!

  2. Tammy Lantz says: #2

    Love this

  3. adriana says: #3

    Love it!!!!

  4. Samanthia says: #4

    This is beautiful. I really appreciate the tutorial.

  5. Janet says: #5

    Fantastic!! Again, still and always!


  6. Nazz Sharif says: #6

    It’s gorgeous Melissa :-)

  7. queridam says: #7

    You continue to amaze! So so pretty!

  8. Ronnie Bochat says: #8

    Love Love Love. Have fall cake for November. This will be nice.

  9. SweetS says: #9

    Love it, Melissa!!!!

  10. Chong Amoy says: #10

    I like this

  11. Urs says: #11

    It looks amazing.

  12. kartha says: #12

    looks lovely …i love it….

  13. Pamela Contreras says: #13

    Nice artistic work.

  14. Nellie says: #14

    LOVE this cake so easy to do lots of color LOVE that you put lessons like this out there for people to learn and try new things THANKS

  15. nefertiti romero says: #15

    esta precioso gracias por compartir sus conocimientos.

  16. I love it, very tanks!!;)

  17. Julie says: #17

    Very effective

  18. Beverley says: #18

    stunningly visual, elegantly easy

  19. Tamara G says: #19

    I was surpriset to find out that you make this cake in this techniqe and not in fondant. It looks gorgeous. Realy beautiful. :)

  20. Pamela Maldonado says: #20

    Every cake was beautiful

  21. Terri says: #21

    Again I am sitting her with my jaw dropped looking at this beautiful cake!! Thank you so much for sharing your talent with us. :-)

  22. Teresa East says: #22

    Love this fall cake!! The mixture of colors in your leaves is perfect.

  23. houseofcake says: #23

    I have to say you do come up with some really creative and easy ways to decorate a cake. Just love being apart of this website. Thanks!

  24. GlendaLiz says: #24

    Me encanta. Es algo diferente con chocolate y tan sencillo. Me gusta el chocolate

  25. Joan says: #25

    I love this cake. I especially like that it’s in buttercream. You make it look so easy, but I’m sure mine would not turn out as nice. I’m really enjoying this site and learning so much. Thank you so much.

  26. cyndi barnett says: #26

    you are a constant treasure trove of ideas…there is nothing so beautiful as nature and to capture “fall” in this simple design is brilliant. thank you for sharing it with us!

  27. Suebaru327 says: #27

    brilliant idea. i love it!

  28. carolyn castleman says: #28

    Love the beautiful leaves on this cake! Great tutorial, as always!

  29. Rebekah says: #29

    This is gorgeous!!!

  30. Mayra59 says: #30

    Me gusto mucho :))) gracias por la clase!!!

  31. Patricia truel says: #31


    One of my favorites you’ve done!

  32. Ansa Hogan says: #32

    omg I absolutely LOVE this cake!
    Cant wait to try it!

  33. erica says: #33

    GORGEOUS! i will make one :) :)

  34. Royal Bakery says: #34

    This is really rather lovely!

  35. Sharon B. says: #35


  36. LynnS says: #36

    That is a gorgeous cake! Thanks for this.:-)

  37. J J says: #37

    Thank you for the tutorial. The cake looks beautiful! Look forward to making one!

  38. J J says: #38

    Will you be doing a video tutorial, of this stunning cake?

  39. Adalis Dunand says: #39

    Très joliment fait! J’adore !

  40. slfdillard says: #40

    I absolutely LOVE this! I will be making this for my family on Thanksgiving. Melissa, you did a beautiful job! I am a new member and so far EVERYTHING I have looked at on your site is so helpful. I’m thrilled that I decided to join and the cost is very affordable. I will certainly tell my friends about this great site! Thanks again so much for all your help. You are a fabulous teacher. Have a blessed day!

  41. BEAUTIFUL! The perfect cake to usher in fall!

  42. trina karnes says: #42

    omg this is beautiful Melissa you so talented I am so glad that I came across this web site a couple of yrs ago I am a wilton method instructor and I have learned more from you then anything you are amazing much respect to you and your mother bebe

  43. Melissa Diamond says: #43

    Thank you all SO much for your wonderful comments! I’m so thankful for your feedback, and very happy that you like the cake. I love it when simple ideas like this one have a dramatic result–those are always my favorite cakes because they are perfect for all skill levels.

    @JJ- Maybe we could do a mini-video sometime on this–there really are so few steps that we decided to go the blog route. But still, it may be nice to add it to our “chocolate” video section at some point. I’ll let you know ;0)

  44. paintmycake says: #44

    Is Cream cheese frosting ok for this technique ?

  45. maureen evans-kelly says: #45

    Wow! love it and looks so easy I am going to make this one and the other one with the pumpkins for Thanksgiving.

  46. MICKEYCHEF07 says: #46

    This is simply beautiful!
    I am going to try it and send a pic!
    Thanks for such a creative design and so easy to accomplish.

  47. paintmycake says: #47

    I am baking my cake for this right now. Very excited. After reading about the leaves, is it correct to assume that the leaves cannot be made several days ahead, since they may melt?
    If they can , would I store them in the freezer or refrigerator ?

  48. Melissa Diamond says: #48

    Hi paintmycake~ You can definitely work in advance. I usually just keep them in a cool room in the house until I’m ready for them. At that point, I chill in the freezer for about 5 minutes to make them extra firm and safe to handle without worry of breaking.) —

    I suppose that refrigerating for a couple of days would be fine too…I just normally go the other route. (I wouldn’t recommend freezing for a prolonged period–that brings in other issues like condensation and sometimes discoloration.) Good luck!

  49. paintmycake says: #49

    Thanks Melissa!

  50. seabass123 says: #50

    Thanks for such a awesome tutorial. Your head is full of such amazing cake decorating ideas that are so simple. I wish I was near you when you finished that cake so that I could have taken a great big bite of it….lol

  51. Colleen Brown says: #51

    Sooo creative. Thank you for sharing.

  52. jean blasdell says: #52

    that is a beautiful cake simple and elegant

  53. Kathy Pry says: #53

    I love the look of this cake and even better it is easy to create! Thank you!

  54. Tina Ainsworth says: #54

    LOVE it….will soooo be doing this for our Thanksgiving at work and possible our family Thanksgiving….and a huge THANK you for the tutorial

  55. Terri Tate says: #55

    Hi Melissa and BeBe!

    I have a question…which is a more sizeable slice…doing a 2 layer cake, with torting OR making a 3 layer cake and just ice each middle? I have a cake to do this Saturday for 50 people, and I thought a 9″ and 6″ (3 layers) would do the trick. Do you have a recommendation? Also, do you have a cake serving chart that you can swear by? Thanks in advance!!!

  56. Melissa Diamond says: #56

    Thank you all so much for your comments!!

    @Terri– I think that either way will give you approx the same amount of servings. (Two fat layers, torted vs. three medium sized layers). The height for either would likely fall into the neighborhood of 4″, which is what most cake charts are based on.

    I think that you’ll have trouble getting 50 servings from a 9″/6″, unless the 6″ is a double barrel. I like to go by Wilton’s party serving chart, but if this event is for a wedding or a cake where other food is being served, you could go with the smaller servings of Wilton’s wedding serving chart. Both of these charts are listed in the link below:
    link to

    Hope this helps!

  57. Rebekah says: #57

    Hey Melissa, I just saw on pinterest that this cake was posted by Wilton! (With credit given to you, of course) How neat!!! :-)

  58. Margaret Brinkmann says: #58

    Such a nice cake. Because of time constraints, I was looking for a simple cake for my hubbies birthday, and I found it!

  59. Alvarez says: #59

    Grasias por tan bonito tutorial; es muy practico y facil de hacer.

    Mis cordiales saludos

  60. paintmycake says: #60

    Hi Melissa,
    Does this cake need to be doweled? My cake is 5 1/2″ tall, 5 layers of cake and a 6″ round. Will it be ok without a dowel or do you always dowel a cake this tall?

  61. paintmycake says: #61

    Oops, no need to reply. I found the answer on you Billy Balls tutorial.

  62. Ana Rijo says: #62

    Wow! Beautiful idea! I’ll be making it soon!!
    Thanks for the tutorial 😉

  63. ASHOK KUMAR RAJ says: #63

    Superbly …… Original & Authenticly …… creative

  64. abeeha says: #64

    awsome cake.plz guide me how can i beet the crem for cake.i have tried many times but failed.

  65. Ayehza Avila says: #65

    Bellísima decoración!!!! Muchísimas gracias, tutoriales como estos me están ayudando mucho para todo lo que quiero hacer y aprender! Feliz día! <3

  66. Darcy says: #66

    Will your Cream Cheese icing work for this cake in place of buttercream?

  67. BeBe says: #67

    Hi Darcy, We have not tried cream cheese icing with this technique, but think that it would be fine.

  68. paintmycake says: #68

    I made it today and it was such a hit with my book club! Need some work on that comb technique. I’ll post the picture on the members gallery. Also made your pumpkins from the other cake for decoration. Easy! Thank you very much.

  69. tln2000 says: #69

    I just joined my cake school and am so excited to learn more about cake decorating. Your cakes are so beautiful. Thank you for sharing your knowledge! I just love your fluted white cake pedestal in this tutorial. May I ask where you got it?

  70. BeBe says: #70

    Hi, Thank you for your nice comments and welcome to the site. The cake pedestal was bought at Pier One. This style was in the store a few months ago and it is online.

  71. Rosy says: #71

    Está hermoso y padrísima la técnica. Felicidades!

  72. Carole says: #72

    What a gorgeous cake.

    I was a cake decorator for a local bakery for a short time in my early twenties. I really enjoyed. it, and felt like I was following in my mothers footsteps a little bit (she had passed away years earlier), as well as following my artistic heart.

    My mother was a self taught decorator (I learned by watching her and by ‘on-the-job’ training), her specialty being doll cakes (all the rage in the late 60/early70s). Sadly, I only have one photo of her work, a doll cake that she made for my 6th or 7th birthday, but I treasure it.

    I have decorated cakes off and on over the years, though not as often or as much as I’d like to.

    I’m happy to have stumbled onto this site. Off to peruse and gather inspiration. :-)

  73. Melissa Diamond says: #73

    Again, thank you all for your kind words!!

    @Carole, I enjoyed reading your post, thanks for stopping by…I’m happy that you found us too!

  74. Michelle J says: #74

    This cake is so beautiful and creative! You always come up with such great ideas!

  75. rosi lopez says: #75

    Wow Melissa, as always, beautiful and creative!

  76. Diana says: #76

    This cake is just BEAUTIFUL! I want to try and copy it. :) I’m curious if in a small cake like this I need to add board and dowels to prevent the bottom layer from being crushed?

  77. Adriana says: #77

    Hi Melissa!! i have a question about melting chocolate, i always have trouble trying to melt white chocolate, do you have any tip? or what is your method? Thank you!

  78. BeBe says: #78

    Hi Adriana, for this tutorial we microwaved white candy coating at 30 second intervals until it was melted. It actually is still holding its shape but very warm and I stir until it is totally melted…..this is to avoid over microwaving and burning the chocolate. You could use this same method with chocolate chips but we think candy coating is easier to work with.

  79. Leona says: #79

    Wow this cake is stunning!!

  80. Carol says: #80

    I have baked both box mix and from scratch cakes. I really want to do scratch but they always seem dry, Do you have any suggestions ?

  81. BeBe says: #81

    Hi Carol, have you tried any of the cakes in the recipe section? I don’t think they are dry. Some bakers like to brush simple syrup onto the tops of the cake layers before frosting. It is equal parts sugar and water, bring to a boil, remove from the heat and stir to dissolve the sugar. Add flavoring and cool, brush on a small amount to the top of each cake layer. Hope this helps.

  82. Sarah says: #82

    I love this cake! I was designing my daughters cake in my head and wondered if I could do a tree with candy melt leaves and here you are! Thanks for the awesome tutorial!

  83. margot osorio says: #83

    Hi Melissa, I want make this cake but I don’t sure what kind the recipe is for make the leaves? Thank you.

  84. Mimi says: #84

    Melissa, there is amazing Cake… I love all your creations and i’ll be member son. Thanks for your inspiratons!

  85. Teri says: #85

    I attempted this cake for my Father-in-law’s birthday and was pleasantly pleased. Although my cake wasn’t as clean as yours was, I had fun doing it. Thanks for the tutorial.

  86. BeBe says: #86

    Wonderful, we are so happy you made this cake!!

  87. Emily says: #87

    Can this be done using a sheet cake? Planning on giving it a shot for my daughter’s 1st bday :-)

  88. Melissa Diamond says: #88

    Thanks for your comments!

    @Margot–Sorry that I didn’t see this sooner. The leaves are just Wilton candy melts. Any melted candy coating or bark coating would work well.

    @Emily- Of course! A sheet cake would actually allow for a larger tree (or larger leaves) if you’d like! It will be beautiful ;0)

  89. BeBe says: #89

    Hi Emily, Yes, I think it would look great on a sheet cake .

  90. fatema badri says: #90

    Gorgeous cake Melissa… I made something like that but I used ganache…it turned out quite good …thanks for the inspiration

  91. evi silvia says: #91

    love this cake..

  92. Samantha Pickett says: #92

    for starters I LOVE this cake, it’s gorgeous!!! I’m thinking of doing this cake for my fall wedding. I was wondering about how long this cake could set out before the chocolate leaves melt or lose there shape? Since I’m thinking of this for my wedding cake it would set out on display (in an air conditioned room) for a long time. Thank you!

  93. Melissa Diamond says: #93

    Thanks for your comments!

    @Samantha, so glad that you are thinking of making this! The leaves will be fine at room temp for a long period of time. We actually left this cake out at least overnight and it was fine!

    For your peace of mind, you can make a few leaves sometime between now and then just for practice to see how they do. This chocolate/candy coating is firm at room temp (just as it is in it’s original “button” form), but the leaves are thinner and so they are a bit more fragile when handling. That is why I recommend applying them to the cake when the leaves are chilled. Would love to see the finished cake!

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