Kawaii Cactus Cake
630g (3 ¼ cups) plain (all-purpose) flour
390g (1 ¾ cups) granulated sugar
4.5 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp fine salt
190g (¾ cups) unsalted butter, softened
4 large eggs
562ml (2 ¼ cups) full-cream (whole) milk
190ml (¾ cup) vegetable oil
3 tbsp Greek yoghurt (or sour cream)
1 ½ tsp vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
3 drops pink food gel
1 cup frozen raspberries
50g black fondant
20g dark pink fondant
10g pink fondant
20g white fondant
100g teal fondant (same colour as frosting)
50g dark teal fondant
2 batches American buttercream frosting
10 drops teal food gel
5 drops pink food gel
Colour ¾ of the frosting using the teal food gel. Mix until well combined. You’re aiming to get the same colour as the teal fondant. I would recommend colouring your own fondant so that the frosting and arms match in colour. You can do that by starting off with 100g white fondant, add the teal food gel and knead with food safe gloves on until evenly coloured.
Colour the rest of the fondant pink using pink food gel. Set aside.
To make the eyes, roll out the black fondant and use a 2cm round cookie cutter to cut out two circles. Then cut out four circles of rolled out white fondant. Two 1cm ones and two smaller than that. I used the end of piping tips to do that.
To cut out the cheeks, roll out the pink fondant and cut out two 2cm oval shapes using oval fondant cutters.
To make the fondant mouth, cut out one 3cm dark teal fondant disc and one 3cm pink fondant piece. Use a smaller circle cuter to cut out the bottom of the pink disc and stick it to the bottom of the large dark teal fondant disc. Use a knife to cut the dark teal fondant in half.
To make the arms, cut the teal fondant in half. Roll both into a ball then create log shapes about 10cm in length. Bend into an lg shape. Use a fondant tool or a skewer to create line indents in the fondant. Insert 2 or 3 cake pop sticks in the part where the arm will go into the cake.
Set all the fondant pieces aside to dry.
Preheat a fan-forced oven to 140°C (275°F) or a conventional oven to 160°C (320°F). Spray three 15cm (6 inch) cake tins with oil spray and line the bottoms with baking paper. Set aside. Spray a 6 inch half sphere cake tin with oil spray and line with baking paper. Set aside.
Add the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt to a large mixing bowl and mix with a hand mixer until well combined.
Next, add the softened butter and mix on low speed until the mixture reaches a crumbly, sand-like texture.
Add the eggs, milk, oil, pink food gel, Greek yoghurt and vanilla, and mix on low speed until all the dry ingredients are incorporated. Scrape down the side of the bowl and mix for another 20 seconds. Add the frozen raspberries and fold through using a spatula.
Fill the half sphere cake tin with batter to about ¾ of the way. Place the sphere mold on a smaller cake tin to help it stay up right and level while it’s baking. Divide the remaining cake mixture between the three tins. I find that using an ice-cream scoop makes it easy to distribute the batter evenly, ensuring that all three cakes will bake at the same rate.
Bake for 50–60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle a cake comes out clean. If the toothpick is coated with wet batter, continue baking, for 10 minutes at a time, until fully baked.
Allow the cakes to cool to room temperature in the tins, then chill them in the fridge overnight. Chilling your cakes overnight makes them easier to trim and decorate, so I always bake my cakes the day before I decorate them.
To trim your chilled cakes, use a cake leveller or large serrated knife to carefully trim the crust off the top of each cake. You’ll end up with 3 layers and the half sphere cake.
To crumb coat your cake, add a dab of teal frosting onto an 8” cake board or flat serving plate. Use a small offset spatula to spread the frosting around 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.
Add frosting to a piping bag and frost a ring around the top of the cake. Fill the centre with more frosting. Use your small offset spatula to smoothen out the frosting before you add the next layer of cake. Repeat with the remaining layers placing the sphere cake on top.
Add more frosting around and top and sides of the cake. Use the small spatula to smoothen out the top and sides of the cake, taking care to fill in any gaps in between each layer of cake.
Use a cake scraper (otherwise known as a bench scraper) to smoothen out the frosting on the sides and top. Get it as neat as you can. This should just be a neat, thin layer of frosting which is aimed at trapping any cake crumbs so that random bits of cake crumbs don’t show up on the final layer of frosting. Chill for 2 hours or overnight.
Once your cake is chilled fit the end of a piping bag with a Wilton 6B piping tip and pipe vertical lines of frosting beginning from the bottom of the cake to the top at the centre of the cactus. Continue doing that until you’ve gone all around the cake.
Stick the fondant face on and then finish with a swirl of the pink frosting on top to resemble its flower hair. You can do that using a Wilton 1M piping tip.
Cake can be stored in an airtight container for up to three days in the fridge. Please note, the frosting used in this recipe will crust up. You may use swiss meringue buttercream frosting instead if you wish.