Succulent wreath cake decoration
Succulent wreath cake decorationSubscribe to Sainsbury's magazine
The trend for stylish pots of succulents around the home inspired our design. Use a 20cm round fruit cake for this decoration
- 1 tbsp clear honey
- 275g icing sugar, plus extra for dusting
- 1 x 454g pack marzipan
- 85g soft slightly salted butter
- ¼ tsp vanilla extract
- ¼ tsp almond extract
- 1 tbsp milk
- about 600g ready-to-roll icing
- black, blue, yellow, green and red gel food colourings
- 1 x tube gold glitter spray
The iced cake will last for 5 days in an airtight container, at room temperature. Leftover buttercream can be frozen, and used for cupcakes (it’s not practical to make a much smaller quantity)
Turn a 20cm round fruit cake upside down so you have a flat top, then put it on a cake board or cake stand. Brush just the top with the honey. Dust your work surface lightly with icing sugar, then roll out the marzipan to a thick circle, slightly larger than the top of the cake. Lift onto the top of the cake and press down to stick, then trim the excess from the edges (you only need to cover the top, not the sides of the cake).
Beat the butter until it is pale and really soft, then mix in the icing sugar. Once mixed in, add the extracts and milk and use an electric whisk to beat the icing again until it is light, soft and fluffy. Spread the icing thickly on top of the marzipan, then scrape a thin layer all over the sides to smooth them out – a palette knife is good for this. You’re aiming for a semi-naked iced effect on the sides, with the fruit cake showing through the icing. Chill the cake to firm up the icing.
There is enough buttercream to add a second layer in the middle of the cake. Use a serrated bread knife to cut the cake in half, then add a layer of buttercream (about 100g) over the bottom half and chill for 15 minutes to firm up, before decorating.
Set aside a small chunk of the ready-to-roll icing, then break the rest into 3 or 4 chunks for the different colours. Gradually knead food colouring into them to give one a grey-ish tint with the black colouring and the rest different shades of green (by combining varying amounts of blue or yellow with a base of green). Knead red colouring into the small reserved chunk of icing and wrap this in clingfilm for later.
To shape the succulent plants for the wreath, roll out one of the coloured icings at a time, to about 5mm thick. Use cutters to stamp out 3-4 descending sizes of flower. Stack them on top of each other, turning the flowers so that the petals are not directly on top of each other. Add a ball, tiny flower, or a few extra single leaves in the middle to make a ‘bud’, then cup the flowers into a rounded shape – you can sit them in a small bowl, egg cup or empty egg box once they are shaped. For different shapes, try pinching petals into points on some (before layering up), or rolling the back of a small measuring spoon onto the petal tips to thin them out.
Spray all the plants with a dusting of gold glitter spray and leave them to set for 15 minutes. Meanwhile roll the red icing into small balls and make an indent in each one with a cocktail stick, to look like berries.
Arrange the icing succulent plants into a wreath on top of the cake, and add the red icing berries to finish.
Tip For this recipe, you will also need 4-5 flower icing cutters in graduated size.