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Pretty Bakes Blog

Cake decorating basics for pretty cakes, cupcakes, cookies and other sweet treats

Wacky spring garden cake

Update: My niece Lauren’s birthday party is coming up this weekend so I’m busy making her cake. I’ll show you what I’m working on tomorrow but in the meantime, let’s revisit the wacky garden cake I made a couple of years ago. It’s one of my favourites. I can tell you this year’s cake won’t be accented with “dirt” or worms.

Spring’s arrival is a fine time to show you my niece Lauren’s wacky spring garden cake.

I wanted to get creative when I made Lauren’s birthday cake. I was inspired by flower pot cakes I saw online so a spring garden-themed cake would do nicely and I was excited to use crushed cookies for dirt.

Wacky spring garden cake

Wacky spring garden cake. Photo by Jennifer Melo

Store-bought cake accessories

I went to the dollar store in search of accessories. For some strange reason, using store-bought decorations made me feel like I was somehow cheating. But I decided that’s silly.

There’s no reason everything on the cake needs to be edible and handmade, is there? I found giant felt flowers and pretty paper butterflies in the scrapbooking section. I liked the idea of going big with the flowers for a more dramatic, fun and wacky effect. I also picked up the happy birthday candles which are great for folks like me who aren’t so comfortable piping letters.

When cake-decorating mistakes go right

I rolled a big piece of fondant to cover the cake and cut an 8″ rectangle in the center to leave a hole on top of the cake. I’d fill that hole with crushed cookies. Of course, when I lifted the fondant to cover the cake, that hole stretched like crazy and left the sides of the cake wide open too. Although that wasn’t my intention, I actually liked how it looked.

It was tricky to cover the sides of the cake with crushed cookies without making a big mess. I tilted the cake on its base, packed some crushed cookies into the buttercream, made a big mess, and dusted off the excess crumbs with paper towels. Gardens are messy so it’s all good.

The art of hiding imperfections

I added a white fondant fence around the cake and then piped some grass for a border. The grass looked more like leaves so I added fondant leaves here and there. Because my piping technique isn’t so good, fondant leaves were my safety net and I liked how they helped disguise any piping weirdness. The row of hedges you see at the top, right side of the cake covers a giant crack in the fondant.

My cake dome would’ve crushed the flowers and butterflies so I added those onsite while my family milled about. I was sure to keep the paper butterflies and felt flowers well out of reach of the candles’ flames and there were no incidents.

Tip: Consider flammable parts when using accessories to decorate cakes and place them strategically to avoid fire hazards. If needed, remove flammable accessories before lighting candles.

In my hurry to assemble everything, I forgot the finishing touch. Gummy worms!

gummy worm on a garden cake

I forgot to add the gummy worms! Photo by Jennifer Melo

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