A Fun Cactus Cake Tutorial

It's hot, it's summery, it's dry -- time for laying around in the sun with hats and shades and a big glass of bottomless iced tea jam-packed full of ice cubes! Oh, and also a nice cool slice of cactus cake. No, we're not talking about a cake made with agave syrup or aloe vera gel. We're talking a big ol' silly, fun and easy cake decorating project that would be great for a summer fiesta or BBQ cookout!

Cactus Cakes
Photo via Coco Cake Land

To create this prickly buttercream cactus cake, you will need:

  • One 8-inch round baked two-layer cake in any flavor
  • 4 cups of vanilla buttercream tinted "cactus green"
  • A piping bag fitted with a Wilton 4B tip
  • A small amount of fondant - about a 2-inch ball of pink colored fondant, and a 1/2-inch ball of white fondant for the cactus flower
  • Gel food coloring in green and pink for the cactus buttercream prickles and to color fondant pink for the flower
  • A cake board or plate to set your cake on
  • An offset spatula to crumb coat your cake
  • A flower cutter for your cactus flower -- or you can make it by hand. I used an HM Sugarcraft daisy cutter.

Let's begin!


Step 1:

Start by filling your cake and adding a crumb coat to it. A crumb coat is the very first coat of buttercream or icing on a cake. It helps to seal in crumbs and to make way for a smooth working surface. Wendy's post on crumb-coating will help you out here!

Iced Cake

Step 2:

Good, you're all covered in buttercream! Don't worry too much about it not looking perfect. If you were to cover this cake with fondant, you would want to smooth it out better and achieve some nice edges. But since we're going to be piping "spikes" all over, we needn't worry about it!

Decorating Tip

Step 3:

Fit your piping bag with an open star 4B tip (or equivalent). Squeeze the bag so the buttercream flows -- you can even try piping out a few blobs before proceeding on to the actual cake.

Piped Cactus Cake

Step 4:

Starting at the bottom, pipe rows of "spikes" upward by squeezing out buttercream, forming a drop-star/spike. Continue piping the entire exterior of the cake. For the top, continue to pipe "spikes" until the entire cake, sides and top, are covered.

Cactus Flower Cake

Step 5:

Taking the pink fondant, use a nonstick rolling pin to roll some out onto a nonstick surface to about a 1/4-inch thickness. Use your flower cutter to cut out a daisy shape (or whichever flower cutter you have). I then rolled out a tiny amount of white fondant and used a small circle cutter to cut out the flower's center. You can easily use one of your piping tip edges to cut out a perfect circle. Using a round-topped toothpick, I dotted the circle to create some texture and extra detail.

Completed Cactus Cake
Photos via Coco Cake Land

Step 6:

Place your flower on top of your prickly cactus cake.

And there you have it! You are ready for your cactus-themed party!

Excited about a little prickle in your cake? Here are some more cool cactus cakes to get you inspired!

Succulent Wedding Cake
Photo via Sweet and Saucy Shop

Sugar succulent adorned wedding cake:

Sweet and Saucy Shop are known for their beautiful and modern cakes representing the latest in cake trends and designs. Succulents are all over the place these days, and rightfully so! They have a cuteness that just won't quit! From bridal bouquets to boutonnieres to wedding favors, everyone's serving up those pale green desert cabbages. It makes sense the trend has made its way (literally) to wedding cakes.

Would you consider cacti for your wedding cake, or are you the more traditional billowing pink roses type?

Cactus Cupcakes
Photo via Alana Jones-Mann

DIY house plant cactus cupcakes:

These amazing and realistic looking cactus cupcakes were created by Alana Jones Mann. Using buttercream, cookie crumbs and fondant, and various icing tips, including the classic leaf tip and an open star tip, she created a collection of cacti that could easily fool the eye and sit comfortably on a sunny windowsill! My favorite might have to be the middle one with the yellow rose perched atop it.  Alana cut out a piece of cake into the tall shape, iced it, and covered it in fondant, anchored by the help of a toothpick to keep it upright.

Which one is your favorite?

Big Cactus Cake
Photo via LolaT

Prickly royal icing spiked cactus cake:

This awesome cactus is the belle of the ball. It was inspired by Craftsy instructor Colette Peters' cactus cake, found in her classic cake decorator's resource book The Art of Cake Decorating. You could emulate this cake by baking a cake in a ball cake pan and using an open star tip to create the buttercream prickles. The kicker to this beautiful cake is the carefully placed royal icing "spikes" that come out of each prickle. Texturally, when you take a bite, you would get a nice crunch, too, along with smooth buttercream and delectable cake!

Playful cakes like these are so much fun for both the cake decorator and the lucky recipient. Enroll in Cake-osaurus Rex or Design Your Own Castle Cake for more fun cake decorating projects!

Are you ready to try your hand at one of these fun cactus cakes?



These are just beautiful! I’d hate to cut into one to eat! They’re too pretty!


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