Cactus Decorated Cupcakes tutorial

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Cactus Decorated Cupcakes
Cactus Decorated Cupcakes

Materials Needed:

  • A batch of pre-baked cupcakes
  • Frosting
  • Graham Crackers or Teddy Grahams®
  • Icing dye: Green, Yellow, Red
  • Fondant
  • Pastry bag
  • Icing tips: # 352, # 21, # 102 (roses)

DIRECTIONS:

FOR THE CUPCAKE BASE:

Cactus-decorated-Cupcakes-prep
Cactus-decorated-Cupcakes-prep

Step # 1: Bake your cupcakes using my basic vanilla cake recipe here. In an effort to not too realistically portray potted house plants, I decided to leave the liners on the cupcakes (instead of covering them in a clay fondant pot). Unbleached liners are great when going for a natural look.

Step # 2: Once your cupcakes are baked, add some icing into a bowl and add green dye – I used the Wilton “Moss Green” dye for mine. As you can see from the photo, just a little dye is needed.

Step # 3: Now for this step most people use graham crackers, but I love the honey flavor Teddy Grahams because they’re a bit lighter in color, which makes the dirt look more like sand (the look I was going for with these house plants). Process the teddy grahams in a food processor until semi-fine and transfer them to a bowl.

Step # 4: Ice your cupcake and then dip it face-down into the bowl of processed grahams, making sure to completely cover your cupcake. Now, you have your base for all of your house plants. And, make sure to save your extra icing, because you’ll need it later!!

Cactus-decorated-Cupcakes-base
Cactus-decorated-Cupcakes-base

Now, once you have your cupcakes iced and covered in “sand” you’ll be able to jump around the next sections, dependent on which plants you want to make.

FOR THE RIBBED CACTI CUPCAKES: 

Step # 1: For both of the ribbed cactus plants, you’ll want to make the cactus base with fondant. First, add your green dye to the fondant and work it a bit to blend. Make sure your surface (and your rolling pin!) is sprinkled with either confectioners sugar or corn starch to avoid the fondant from sticking.

Note: For any unused fondant, make sure to always cover your fondant in plastic, as it will dry out very quickly.

Cactus-decorated-Cupcakes-ribbed-technique
Cactus-decorated-Cupcakes-ribbed-technique

Step # 2: For the taller cacti, I took one of my unfrosted cupcakes and cut out a rectangular shape of cake, which I then covered with fondant. For the smaller, round cacti, I just used a small ball of fondant for my base. Whichever style you’re going with, make sure to apply a bit of icing under your cactus, to keep it sturdy. For the taller cactus, I used a toothpick for extra stability.

Step # 3: For this step, you’ll need icing tip #352 (typically for leaves). Using a pastry bag with your tip, add your leftover green icing and working with the tip parallel to the cactus, work in a linear pattern up towards the top of your cactus. Once you finish one line, you’ll want to make your next line immediately next to it, so that there aren’t any gaps in between the lines.

Step # 4: Once you’ve made all your lines, you’re about set, but since you worked toward the top-center of your cactus, you’ll want to add a flower here. Once you have your flower, add it to the top of your cactus plant. You’ll need a piped pastry bag with either yellow or red buttercream icing to make them.

And for the cupcake with the leaves and the rose, I just molded those leaves out of the fondant.

ribbed-cacti- cupcakes
ribbed-cacti- cupcakes

 

FOR THE LEAFY PLANT CUPCAKE:

Cactus-decorated-Cupcakes-leafy
Cactus-decorated-Cupcakes-leafy

Step # 1: You may need to make some more icing if you’ve already used your leftovers. If so, do it up!

Step # 2: Add your green icing to the pastry bag, using icing tip #21. Add a base of icing in a circular pattern – going up about 1.5 – 2″ from the center of your cupcake, dependent on your desired plant height. Once you’ve added your base icing, test out the tip a bit on a plate so you can see the pattern that comes out. You’ll notice that if your icing isn’t chill enough, it’ll be a bit runny.

Step # 3: I made the other leafy cupcake (pictured in the photos at the beginning of the post) with less chilly icing, but for the plant pictured right above, you’ll want your icing to be very chill, so it’s a bit harder of a consistency. Remove the tip and refrigerate the bag of icing for 20-30 minutes to get this desired consistency. Step your cupcake with the icing base on it in the fridge as well, to allow it to harden.

Step # 4: Pull your icing bag out of the fridge and working outwards, add your spiky leaves. There’s no great way to show this, you’ll just have to play around and become comfortable with how the icing tip and the icing work together. It may not be super easy, but don’t worry, you’ll be able to figure it out with a bit of practice! Just remember, if you want longer leaves, you’ll need the icing to be fresh out of the fridge and chill.

Cactus-decorated-Cupcakes
Cactus-decorated-Cupcakes

Get creative on your own and let us know how you did!

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