Succulents are trending and beloved for their ease of care. They are popular and can be found in almost every garden, including mine. Today, I will show you how I made these Edible Succulent & Cacti Cupcakes. Now, these may seem intimidating but I promise you, they really aren't. Have all of your tools and ingredients prepped and ready before you begin making these toppers. Making these gum paste toppers ahead of time is ideal. It is best to make the rice crispy treats a day or two ahead of time.
There are several steps involved so let me break it down. The edible dirt can be made a few days in advance and then stored in an airtight container until ready to use. Cupcakes should be the last thing you make to ensure freshness. !
The cacti toppers were made using rice crispy treats. One individual package makes about three small cacti, perfect for cupcakes! Divide the rice treat unevenly. Compress each portion into various shapes…small globe shaped ones as well as tall tree like ones. Once shaped, insert a toothpick into the bottom of each and place on a styrofoam cake dummy. Allow them to dry and firm up overnight.
You will need to tint some crusting buttercream frosting green. Be careful that you do not tint the frosting a shade that looks more like a shrub than cactus. Not that I did that at first tee-hee. I mixed Americolor Avocado, a small smudge of Americolor Leaf Green, then a little bit of Progel Khaki to get my shade. Always start with a small amount and add more if needed. I used piping tips: PME ST50, Wilton Star tip #'s 13, 16, and Petal tip #101 for variety. Once rice treats have firmed up, fit a small piping bag with desired tip and fill with frosting. Pipe the frosting on the rice treat and place back on the styrofoam board. If you are using flowers, place them while the frosting is still soft.
I used a gum paste flower plunger to cut these cute little flowers out. It is a lot easier and faster using these. Just as there's a variety of flowers, there's a variety of plunger options.
Making the Edible Dirt:
Use a 2:1 ratio consisting of Graham Crackers and Oreo cookies. Two portions of graham crackers to one Oreo. You will need to use the outer cookies only, removing the cream filling. Depending on quantity of cupcakes, you do not need to make a lot of this dirt. Break up the graham crackers inside a food processor. Pulverize them. Add the Oreo's and pulverize them again! Separate the pieces that don't break down and use them as "rock" decor, if desired.
Gum Paste Succulents:
These succulents were made using a tutorial I found on Cake Central and you can find it here. I only used the succulent portion of this tutorial, not the cake. Again, tint you gum paste to the appropriate green color. Have foil squares and paper towels handy. Foil will be used to form a bowl approximately the size of the succulent. Use small pieces of folded paper towel to support and allow space between leaves while the gum paste dries up as shown in picture and tutorial.
Use Food Color Dust/Powder to add a realistic look with a clean paint brush that is strictly reserved for food items. It is best to do this once the gum paste has fully dried. Remember to be careful as these do break.
After baking your cupcakes and allowing them to cool completely, begin assembling them. Have edible dirt in a deep bowl nearby. Smear a thin layer of frosting over the surface. Pipe a two layer ring on the outer edge of the cupcake. Immediately dip each frosted cupcake into the dirt. Use a spoon to gather the dirt fully along the edge of the cupcake. Remove from dirt and gently begin shaping a crater with your fingers. Spoon some dirt in the center. Take a spoon and make a small well in the middle of the dirt. Fill with icing and immediately place a succulent/cactus on it. Remember to warn the consumers about the toothpicks. Here's a short video of the process:
Cori - xoxo