Ness Anderson is the brains behind the YouTube channel, Cake Style, and it seems she can make just about anything when it comes to cake. She posted a tutorial on how to create a cake that looks just like a pot full of succulent plants- complete with concrete “planter” to hold them all! Her cake wizardry is down to a blend of experience and creativity, but if you want to know how to make a cake like this one her tutorial is a great starting point.
To start making the cake she bakesa an 8″ half round cake in vanilla. She then measures and cuts the cake in two to make a filling layer and then lops off the uppermost portion of the cake so that it is flat instead of domed. Then she flips the cake over and works on the other side.
The resulting shape already resembles a plant pot. But, to make the effect more realistic she makes a big batch of buttercream frosting tinted grey for that concrete look to the plant pot.
Anderson says that it’s important to pick a cake with a slightly denser quality and to also refrigerate the cake for at least 6 hours once it’s cooled off from baking. This gives the best consistency for making elaborate decorations as the cake will be less crumby and less fragile throughout the decorating process.
After applying the other cake layer on top of the filling she does a crumb coat in that concrete grey icing. The cake goes back into the fridge before the final coat of grey icing so that the top layer applies smoothly. Then the cake is chilled again before the top cactus layer is put on top.
The number of icing tips needed for this project is quite a lot, but Anderson says to play up to your own piping strengths when making an elaborate cake like this. She also has a lot of smaller bowls of colored icing made up in shades of green, yellow, and brown, loading them into the corresponding piping bags for each element of the design.
Working on an icing nail with a slip of wax paper on top Anderson shows how to make some of the plant shapes. She demonstrates how to use the leaf tip and apparently the trick with this one is to pull out horizontally while squeezing the icing bag. Once the elements are made on the nails they are transferred to a cookie sheet and popped into the refrigerator to set.
She also shows how to make multi-colored leaves by adding a thin stripe of one color to the piping bag and loading the bag with a generous portion of another color. The effect is actually quite realistic and adds a lot of dimension to the cake.
She adds some more of the grey frosting on top to help the succulents stick and then arranges the succulent icing decorations along the top in a random pattern. She also adds some more freshly-piped icing using a ribbed tip to emulate other species of cacti. And, for a fun effect she has them trailing down the over edge of the cake, just like real plants in a real pot would creep out.
The final step is that she finishes the cake with some chocolate rocks to make it look even more like an arrangement of plants inside a pot.