Cactus Garden Cake
#HappyMothersDay

INGREDIENTS

Cake – Makes 1 batch. For this recipe you’ll need 2 batches of cake.

350g all-purpose flour

450g caster sugar

100g cocoa powder

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1 tsp salt

350g unsalted butter, softened

4 large eggs, at room temperature

350ml milk

 

Raspberry Frosting

1.5 batches Swiss meringue frosting

½ cup raspberry jam

1 tsp raspberry flavouring

2 drops pink food gel

 

Striped frosting

1 batch Swiss meringue buttercream frosting

3 drops pink food gel

3 drops orange food gel

 

Cactus Decorations

2 LCM rice crispy treat bars

2 batches American Buttercream frosting

GREEN FROSTING: 5 drops teal food gel

LIME GREEN FROSTING: 4 drops teal food gel + 4 drops yellow food gel

PINK FROSTING: 3 drops pink food gel

PINK ORANGE FROSTING: 3 drops pink food gel + 3 drops orange food gel

 

Green Ganache Drizzle

300g white chocolate

150ml thickened whipping cream

1 drop teal food gel

METHOD

Serves 30 people

Level: Time consuming but not hard.

Green ganache

Add white chocolate and cream into a large microwave safe bowl. Microwave for 20 seconds at a time, mixing each time until smooth. Add a drop of teal food gel and mix until well combined. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside to set. Alternatively you may melt it using a double boiler. Fill a medium sized pot with 1/3 of the way with water. Bring to a boil. Place bowl with chocolate and cream over the top and gently mix until mixture is completely melted and smooth. To soften the ganache to spreading or piping consistency microwave for 10 seconds at a time, mixing each time with a large spatula until it reaches the right consistency. Allow to set at room temp.

 

Raspberry Frosting

Add raspberry jam, raspberry flavouring (optional) and pink food gel to Swiss meringue buttercream and mix until well combined. This is the frosting you’ll use to fill and crumb coat the cake

 

Stripped frosting

Split the frosting into two bowls. You’ll want to keep half the frosting white. Colour the other half with pink and orange food gel. Mix until well combined.

 

Cactus Decorations

 

Being by lining two baking trays with baking paper. Set aside

 

Colour the frosting. Set about 3 tbsp of the American buttercream aside and keep plain white.

 

LARGE AND SMALL BULB CACTUS: Create a small log out of one of the rice crispy treat bars. Aim to get the bottom of the log a little flatter than the other end. That will be the bottom of the large cactus. Fit the end of a piping bag with a Wilton #32 Piping tip and fill with lime green frosting. Pipe some lime green frosting on the bottom of the rice crispy shape and stick it to the baking tray. Pipe lines around the rice crispy treat starting at the bottom to the top. Continue doing that around the cactus until it’s complete. Use a piping bag fitted with a small round tip with white frosting to pipe little random dots all over your cactus.

 

SMALL BULB CACTUS:

Repeat the same process as the large cactus but with a small round ball of rice crispy treat. Finish with some pink orange frosting on top by fitting the end of your piping bag with a small closed star tip. Finish with some small white dots on the flower :0)

 

PURPLE SPIKEY CACTUS:

Fit the end of a piping bag with a small leaf tip and frost some leaf tips on your baking paper. Start by piping a circle of leaf tips and then fill that leafe tip in. As you pull away from the bottom try and pull straight up to give the leaves some height. If you feel it needs some volume, pipe some leaves on top of the bottom layer.

 

PICKLE CACTUS:

Fit the end of a piping bag with a Wilton #32 piping tip and frost some tall pickle shapes. About 5 cm in height. Do it slowly so you don’t risk them toppling over. Pipe a little bulbe of pink frosting using a small round tip as the flower on top.

 

SPIKEY BULB CACTUS:

Use a Wilton 8B tip to frost some frilly looking bulbs of the teal frosting. Pipe some little orange pink flowers on top and pipe little white buttercream spikes all over.

 

These are just some of the cacti I made, but I’d encourage you guys to hop on google and looking at the thousands of cacti designs and take that as inspiration to experiment with your own designs and colour combinations. Once You’ve finished making your cacti, pop them in the fridge for at least 2 hours to chill!

 

Cake

For this recipe you’ll need to make two batches of my chocolate cake recipe.

 

To prepare crumb coat, add a dab of raspberry frosting onto an 8” cake board or serving plate. Use a small offset spatula to spread around a little before adding the first cake layer. Gently press down the centre of the cake layer to make sure it’s stuck to the frosting underneath.

 

To frost the final layer of frosting add white frosting to one bag and the pink orange frosting to another bag. You’ll Begin by piping a round the bottom of the cake with the orange pink frosting. Then pipe a ring of white frosting on top of that. Continue doing that until you get to the top.

 

Use an offset spatula to spread out the frosting on the top of the cake. It doesn’t have to be perfect, we’re gonna come back to it. Use a large cake scraper scrape away the frosting around the outside of the cake. Each time you go around the cake scrape away the excess frosting from the scraper to keep the stripes on the cake looking clean.

 

Use the bench scraper to scrape away the excess frosting on the top.

 

Fill a piping bag with the green ganache and drizzle around the sides.

 

Finish the cake by carefully adding the chilled cacti on top!

-

 

HELPFUL TIPS!

 

STORAGE: store in an airtight container for up to 3 days (refrigerated and thawed 1 hour before serving).

 

HOW TO PREPARE YOUR CAKE TIN: For this recipe you’ll need at least one 8” cake tin but preferably three 8” cake tins. To prepare the tin, spray with oil spray. To prepare the baking paper use a pen to trace around the bottom of the cake tin on to the baking paper. Use scissors to cut slightly inside the circle you traced. Place the traced side down onto the baking tin with oil spray.

 

HAND MIXER: Can be made using a hand mixer (always mix on lowest speed) or a hand whisk. Take care not to over mix the batter.

 

OVEN TEMPERATURE:  If you’re baking at home set your fan forced oven to 160C (320F).

 

BUTTER: Make sure the butter is very soft for the cake mixture. There’s  two ways to do this. Microwave for 5 seconds at a time flipping the butter on each side until very soft (not melted). If you don’t have a microwave run a large bowl over hot water. Dry the bowl and place over the butter for 1 min. The heat from the bowl will create a warm enough environment to soften the butter.

 

SIMPLE SYRUP: To make simple syrup add 100g sugar and 100g of water in a a medium sized pot. DO NOT STIR! Bring to a boil and allow to cool completely before using.

 

BAKING TIME: This cake will typically bake on a lower temp and for a little longer than regular cake recipes. I find a low temperate and a slow bake results in flatter tops and caramelisation so that if the cake is coloured it doesn’t change colour and brown. After 30 minutes, stick a skewer into the centre of the cake, if it comes out with wet batter, bake for another 10 minutes until the skewer comes out with crumbs or completely clean.

 

TOOLS:

Large mixing bowls

Spatula

Magic Whisk for wet ingredients

Kitchen Scales

Stand mixer (or hand mixer)

Wire rack

Frosting bag

Tablespoon

Measuring spoons

8” cake tin

Ice cream scoop (optional)

Revolving cake stand

Cake scraper

Small closed star tip

Wilton #32 tip

Wilton 8B tip

Small round tip

Small leaf tip

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Hey there! My name is Nick Makrides! I'm guessing you love baking as much as I do which is how you stumbled upon my website!

 

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