Cactus Fairy Cakes

When it comes to fairy cakes, I pick cactus themed.

Whilst more effort that a buttercream swirl, the cactus piping is still pretty easy to do and satisfying to watch.

I chose chocolate cake to represent soil, making them look like potted succulents.

Yields 12 to 14 fairy cakes.

I don’t know about you, but I make a set of 12 to take to whatever event I’m baking for, then a few extra just for me. Or more realistically for my boyfriend, so he doesn’t feel left out.

You will need:

  • Stand or handheld mixer
  • Sieve
  • Muffin tray
  • Fairy cake cases
  • Piping bag
  • #32 open star tip



  • 1 tbsp ground flaxseed
  • 3 tbsp water
  • 40g (3 tbsp) vegetable shortening
  • 140g (¾ cup) caster sugar
  • 100g (1 cup) plain gluten free flour
  • 20g (3 tbsp) extra dark cocoa powder
  • 1½ tsp baking powder
  • A pinch of salt
  • ¼ tsp xantham gum (optional)
  • 120 ml coconut milk
  • ¼ tsp vanilla extract


  • 80g (6 tbsp) hard vegetable shortening
  • 250g (2 cups) powdered icing sugar
  • 25ml coconut milk
  • ¼ tsp vanilla extract
  • Red and purple gel food colour (or mauve)
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder
  • Green gel food colour


Step 1

Preheat the oven to 170°C

(325°F Gas Mark 3)

Combine the ground flaxseed and water, then chill for 15 minutes while the oven preheats. Give the flaxseed mixture a stir, it will be ready when it forms a egg-like consistency.

Step 2

Cream the vegetable shortening and sugar together with a stand or handheld mixer.

Step 3

In a separate bowl, mix together the gluten free flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, salt and xantham gum. Sift into the butter and sugar then combine with a spoon or spatula. Once mostly incorporated, rub together with your hands until the dry ingredients have a sand-like consistency, with no large lumps left.

Step 4

Whisk together the coconut milk, vanilla extract and flax-egg. Set aside any leftover coconut milk for the buttercream.

Step 5

Pour half the liquids into the dry ingredients and beat until smooth. Then add the rest of the liquids in two steps, scraping down the sides and beating between additions. Finally turn up to high speed and beat for a minute.

Step 6

Scoop a spoonful and a half of batter into the fairy cake cases, or until the cases are ¾ full. If you have extra batter make another cake rather than filling them more, or the cakes may overflow when they rise.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes.

Set aside to cool completely. I often pop them in the fridge after 5 minutes, to ensure they will be cool by the time I’ve made the icing.


Step 1

Cream the vegetable shortening until light and fluffy, then scrape down the sides.

Step 2

Add the powdered icing sugar, vanilla extract and coconut milk. Beat on low speed until the icing sugar is combined. Don’t beat fast at first, or you will find yourself even more covered in sugar than usual during baking.

Step 3

Turn the speed up to high and beat for 5 minutes to ensure your buttercream is light and will hold it’s shape when piped.

Step 4

Take a ¼ or less of the buttercream and stir in purple food colour with a tiny bit of red food colour, or just use mauve on it’s own if you have it. Spread this in a thin layer across a square of cling film.

Step 5

Add the cocoa powder and green food colour to the rest of the uncoloured buttercream. Beat until the colour is even, then add a dash of coconut milk to counteract the extra stiffness from adding the cocoa powder. Using cocoa will darken the buttercream so that less food colour is needed. If you have a particularly dark green food colour skip the cocoa powder and extra dash of coconut milk.

Step 6

Spread the green buttercream in an even layer on top of the mauve buttercream. Then roll the cling film over into a sausage shape. Massaging as you do so to remove air bubbles. If you have extra cling film at the sides twist them to secure and snip one end to open.

Step 7

Transfer the roll of buttercream (open end first) into a piping bag with a #32 open star piping tip. Squeeze from the top of the piping bag towards the tip, until you can see buttercream at the tip. Twist the open end of the piping bag to secure.

Step 8

Around the edge of a fairy cake, squeeze a bead of buttercream then lift straight up releasing the tension. Repeat piping in a circle, moving towards the center. Once the surface of the fairy cake is covered, pipe a layer of four more beads, then pipe a final bead in the middle on top.

Step 9

Repeat step 8 until all the fairy cakes are covered.

Thanks for reading.

Let me know what you think of them in the comments!

Published by The Bakery At Home

Amateur baker based in the UK with a sugar addiction and gluten intolerance. Inclusive of as many dietary requirements as possible, because everyone deserves to taste the delicious.

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