How do you know spring is coming? Inbox requests for gardening themed celebration cake ideas!
The sun is making braver appearances when I am out walking miss Darcy Dog, and I haven’t needed to wear 10 layers to venture outside (no, I don’t like the cold). Time to start thinking of new cakes with garden design ideas, from vegetable patches to chocolate flower box cakes. Gardening theme cakes are great because you can customise them for a woman, a man, someone young, someone older; opt for pretty florals or potting shed style; you can improvise with what supplies you have in many cases (no more red food colouring? make marzipan salads, beans, potatoes and peas instead!).
Get creative with cakes inspired by gardening
There are so many decorating elements you can add to a garden cake, the ski is the limit in terms of inspiration. You can also have lots of fun with garden cake designs with the kids, whether you’re making one in your kitchen or learning together at a cake decorating class.
Marzipan or chocolate modelling paste make for great crafting
Really it’s not that different from…Play-Doh fun! If you are using marzipan (or sugarpaste) you can tint it with food grade water based colour. and add finishing touches with edible dusts and lusters you can buy from many cake craft retailers like Squires Kitchen for example. If you are opting for chocolate modelling paste however, be careful as you cannot tint chocolate with water based colours. You’ll need to use either edible dusts or cocoa butter based tints.
I thought I’d share a couple of relatively easy ideas to decorate a vegetable patch cake, and also a more floral gardening cake as it might be handy if you fancy having a go at making your own.
Vegetable crate birthday cake design idea
This is the design that has inspired my Learn to create a vegetable crate celebration cake class. For this I’d suggest you make a square or rectangle cake as it lends itself to a crate design. It could be any cake recipe you like, however I always like to link design and cake flavours as much as possible, so how about a carrot cake? Or a parsnip and vanilla cake? Or kale and apple? By the way, there are some incredible vegetable cake recipes on Veggie Desserts blog.
Once you have your cake, arm yourself with some plain white marzipan, some food safe colour gels, and a pair of thin gloves (just so you don’t end up wearing all the colours on your fingers). Get creative and make some new potatoes by rolling a ball of yellow marzipan, lightly elongating it then prick it with something like a cocktail stick or the end of a skewer. Dust them with a little cocoa powder for an earthy finish. Voila. For green beans and runner beans, simply roll long thin sausages of green tinted marzipan, flattering them gently with a rolling pin for the runner beans. Tomatoes are super easy, little balls topped with a star cut dark green marzipan. For lettuces, make little balls and flatten them in discs, before wrapping them on top of each other and turning out the top end so the outer leaves flop a bit. Radishes? Take a small ball of white and of red marzipan, and roll them together, thinner at the white end.
You can make lots of mini vegetables (best for “planting” in rows) or larger ones more suited to piling on harvest style. Once you have all your vegs, plant them in neat rows or pile them up high on top of the cake as you would when picking them from your vegetable garden. Finish the sides of your cake with long rectangles of brown marzipan lightly scorched with the tip of a knife for a wood effect, and more cocoa powder brushed on to age the panels. You’ll only need a little buttercream or jam on the sides of your cake for the marzipan to stick, as it’s naturally quite sticky stuff!
Here’s how your cake could end up looking once you add all your delicious vegetables on top of it…
Or a 2 tier design like this…..
Buttercream flowers (pipped) celebration cakes
when I started making cakes from my kids and friends, before Pudding Fairy was born, I found myself buying more and more equipment all the time.
Now I try to put a stop to this, because you can end up spending quite a lot (and it’s not always obvious when you buy a piping tip here, a new stencil there, a silion mould another day… individually, they are generally not very dear. But they do add up.).
You might buy a lot of different equipment you only use once; and also, you might have a large kitchen, with plenty of drawers, but if not, your kitchen space is such a premium. I try to come up with new tips and ideas all the time to decorate cakes with a minimum amount of equipment, like this FREE guide:
For a floral cake design to fit an 8 inch round cake, you’ll need a fresh batch of buttercream (500g worth of butter), food colour gels (at least 1 green and 1 pink or yellow) and a couple of freezer zip lock (strong) plastic bags or piping bags. Once you have made your buttercream, take ¼ of it and tint it leafy green. Tint the rest in the floral colour of your choice.
Put your buttercream in each bag, push it into a corner of the bag and zip it .No need for any piping tips.
How to pipe buttercream flowers without a piping nozzle
- Cut the corner of the freezer bag or the tip of the piping bag with scissors to make a little “V”.
- Hold the bag with the V vertical, so it looks like a little beak.
- Pipe petals and leaves by pressing on the bag and wiggling it gently left to right to left whilst pulling back.
- Start from the middle of each flower towards the outside.
- Do the same with green buttercream to create little leaves.
You’ll get very pretty flowers like the red poinsettas below, that we made in one of the Christmas ½ day team workshops I ran at our local Rugby Club during a Ladies Pampering night. Using this technique and different colours, you can make really pretty sunflowers or cottage garden flowers in pinks and blues.
Feel free to get in touch if you have any question either by email at firstname.lastname@example.org , via Twitter @lauremoyle (I am on Twitter pretty much every day, several times a day so I can get back to you quick). You can also join the Pudding Fairy Facebook Page if you like, to get more cake, baking, chocolate and decorating ideas I share weekly.
What would you like to know about gardening cakes or piping buttercream flowers?