Flower Pot Cake – a freshly baked bouquet

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(The Flower [Flour] Pot Cake – Happy Mother’s Day!)

My mom has a thing for gardens – she and plants, they speak the same language. Every year for Mother’s day, The Brother and I get her plants or flowers. Once when we were young, it was a rose bush. That bush is now as big as I am, and blooms dozens of little pink roses every summer. Last year it was a pear tree – it’s blooming for the first time this spring, but has a couple years yet before it will fruit.

This year, I thought I would surprise her with something a little bit different, combining her love of flowers with… well, her love of cake. Because what mom doesn’t love a freshly baked bouquet?

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I may not have the green thumb my mom does, but baking I can do.

One of her favorite cake combos is rich chocolate Devil’s Food, with strawberries and whipped cream. I fancied things up a bit, making this luscious Strawberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream – which, with a touch of vanilla extract, happens to taste exactly like strawberry ice cream. Cake and ice cream! What could be better than that?

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I used David Lebovitz’s Devil’s Food Cake recipe, and Martha Stuart’s Strawberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream, each adapted only slightly. The green leaves are a simple vanilla buttercream, tinted with gel food coloring.

This cake was, to me, the quintessential chocolate cake – moist, but not too heavy. Rich with chocolate flavor, but not too sweet. Intense, but balanced by the fluffy, fresh buttercream. I’ll tell ya, my mom’s got taste!

Chocolate cake lends itself particularly well to the ‘dirt’ look, here, but you could substitute virtually any cake and frosting combination you like – whatever would make your mom the most happy.

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I baked about 1/3 of the batter in a terra cotta flower pot. Yes, it is a regular (clean) flower pot – you can find them at your local hardware store, garden center, or craft supply. I slipped a cupcake liner into the bottom, to cover the hole, and lined the sides with parchment paper – this may or may not be necessary, but I couldn’t help but imagine the absorbent clay pot sucking the moisture from my cake. Plus, the parchment makes the cake easy to remove from the pot, if you’d rather not eat it as is.

The cake rose in the oven, creating a large mounded top – I leveled this with a small knife, spread a layer of frosting, then crumbled the extra cake over the top to resemble dirt. As unappetizing as it sounds, this was the tastiest dirt I’ve ever eaten.

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With the rest of my batter I made mini cupcakes. These are another favorite of my mom’s, and really, who can argue with cute and tiny? Just to put the icing on the cake (no pun intended) I piped the frosting to make pretty pink flowers. I’d hate to break the tradition of flowers on mother’s day.

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Creating flowers out of buttercream is not particularly difficult, but takes a little practice and the right piping tips. I used Wilton 150 for the petals, and Wilton 352 for the little green leaves.

For the dark edges of the petals and leaves, I smeared a stripe of food coloring down the inside of my piping bags before filling them. Squeezing the buttercream around in the bag a little will create a nice gradient of color.

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Needless to say, my mother was pleased. There were “oo’s” and “aah’s”, and after a decadent dinner we dove into dessert.

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Commence: Happiness
Happy Mother’s Day, Mum! You’ve always known how to make things grow, and your children were no exception.
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And to all mom’s, Happy Mother’s Day! Today is your day – may it be as beautiful and sweet as you are.

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38 Responses to Flower Pot Cake – a freshly baked bouquet

  1. Jen @ Juanita's Cocina May 13, 2012 at 2:44 pm #

    Beautiful! These are gorgeous!

    Happy Mother’s Day to mommy Will Cook For Friends!

    • Willow May 13, 2012 at 6:31 pm #

      Thanks! I just took my mom out to brunch and she read this post on my phone – saw your comment and says thank you! She also got to taste that French Onion Soup, so she thanks you for that, too. ;)

  2. D B May 13, 2012 at 6:17 pm #

    WOW! These look very professional!

    • Willow May 13, 2012 at 6:32 pm #

      Thank you! Decent for my first try, for sure, but I think I can improve. :)

  3. Tara May 13, 2012 at 7:32 pm #

    Nicely done!!

  4. Gomo May 13, 2012 at 8:35 pm #

    Wow, these are beautiful!

  5. Peaches & Cream May 13, 2012 at 11:38 pm #

    These pictures are amazing-I am in love!!! You are soo talented, i’m jealous! Great job-your mom must surely be proud! I am putting this on my list for next year!


    • Willow May 13, 2012 at 11:45 pm #

      Wow, thank you! She was very happy, for sure. :)

  6. The Mom Chef May 14, 2012 at 12:53 am #

    Those are so cute! If I lived closer to my mother, this is the exact kind of treat that I’d make for her because she has a green thumb too. What a fun tea party dessert it would be.

    • Willow May 14, 2012 at 12:54 am #

      Indeed – these would be cute for just about any occasion! I can imagine little pink and blue flowers for a baby shower, even. :)

  7. Baking Serendipity May 14, 2012 at 4:14 am #

    This is too cute! I love it :) I don’t have a green thumb either, but my mom does and she would totally appreciate this!

    • Willow May 14, 2012 at 2:37 pm #

      Thanks! Just be careful with the green food coloring, or you might get a green thumb, haha!

  8. Angie's Recipes May 14, 2012 at 4:27 am #

    This looks too good to be true. You are an artist!

  9. Courtney J May 14, 2012 at 4:29 am #

    Awe!!!! I absolutely love this Willow! Gorgeous! And so very creative. So so so impressed! I bet your mom LOVED the surprise :)

    • Willow May 14, 2012 at 2:37 pm #

      Thanks, Courtney! She was very pleased – bragged about it to everyone. :D

  10. Veganosaurus May 14, 2012 at 9:51 am #

    OMG!!! I am so, totally blown away by your gorgeous roses and the whole flower pot idea!! Absolutely brilliant!! You are truly and artist!!

    • Willow May 14, 2012 at 2:38 pm #

      Wow, thank you so much!

  11. Amy Upton May 14, 2012 at 10:10 am #

    wow, these are so beautiful… i cant believe you piped those roses with butter icing! I think im going to have to invest in some new piping tips. And i love the idea of making them in tiny plant pots, very original.

    • Willow May 14, 2012 at 2:40 pm #

      Thanks! Piping the roses wasn’t that difficult – if you mess one up you can just scrape it off and start over. I suggest browsing tutorials on youtube, and perhaps practicing on the bottom of a cup or a flower nail. Once you get the hang of turning the cupcake while piping it’s smooth sailing!

    • Sapna May 16, 2012 at 7:57 pm #

      Can you provide more details on the instruction of smearing a stripe of food coloring around in the inside of piping bag? Do you do that vertically or around the inner perimeter of the bag? And to confirm obviously you are using the Wilton gel coloring.

      My daughter’s middle name is Rose and we are doing a Rose themed party for her BIG 5th birthday. I’m making your cake and complete with gummy worms! Thank you. Keep it cooking!

    • Willow May 16, 2012 at 8:56 pm #

      Wonderful! The gummy worms are a great idea. :)

      The stripe of food coloring is vertical (if you hold the bag upright) down one side of the bag only. I first attached the tips to my piping bags, and once they were screwed on I know which ‘side’ of the bag would be in contact with the frosting coming out which side of the tip. For example, with the flower petals, I knew that the edges of each petal were going to come out one side of the piping tip – so I spread a line of food coloring down that side of the bag.
      Then I twisted (or you could rubber-band) the tip of the bag so frosting wouldn’t spill out, and filled them with my frostings. I then massaged the side of the bag where the food coloring was, just to incorporate it slightly into the frosting (otherwise it will stay liquidy and kind of drip off the edge of the frosting while piping). The more you squish the frosting around inside the bag, the more thoroughly the color will be distributed. You can always try piping a little to see how it looks, and work the bag more if necessary.

      And yes – Wilton unflavored gel food coloring. I used just a smear of red with the Strawberry buttercream (the rest of the color comes from the strawberries), and a fair amount of ‘leaf green’ in the vanilla buttercream. The more green you use, the darker the leaves – I added some, mixed, and then added more bit by bit until I got the color I wanted.

      Hope that helps! I would love to hear how it turns out. Happy birthday to your girl! :D

  12. Sell WoW Account May 14, 2012 at 10:55 am #

    this is really awesome! those roses look so perfect. makes me not want to eat them. they are really beautiful~

    • Willow May 14, 2012 at 2:40 pm #

      Thanks! That’s what my mom said. They’re almost too good to eat… *almost* – NOM! Haha!

  13. Rachel (teacher-chef) May 14, 2012 at 1:07 pm #

    I will e-mail this to my mother to show her what I would make for her if I had the decorating talent. This is beautiful!!

    • Willow May 14, 2012 at 2:42 pm #

      Aww, haha! I’ll bet you could do this… a little practice and you’re good to go! ;)

  14. Oishii Treats May 14, 2012 at 8:49 pm #

    Gorgeous! What a lovely mothers day treat. I love the Strawberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream, sounds and looks amazing.

    • Willow May 14, 2012 at 11:16 pm #

      Thanks! The frosting was amazing – better than I had anticipated, even. :)

  15. Katherine Martinelli May 14, 2012 at 9:23 pm #

    This is the absolute cutest. And those cupcakes are beyond gorgeous!!!

    • Willow May 14, 2012 at 11:17 pm #

      Thanks! Wish I’d gotten it posted before your Mother’s Day blog hop, but alas, I was saving it for the big day. :)

  16. Beth Michelle May 15, 2012 at 2:09 pm #

    These are SO beautiful!! What an amazing job you did!

  17. Sunday Morning Banana Pancakes May 16, 2012 at 9:16 pm #

    Oh wow Willow these are absolutely Beautiful – you are so freakin’ talented , you never stop amazing me!….and for the record I am so totally jealous of your frosting skills, I am pretty sure I need to book myself a weeked with you that includes nothing but Wilton Tips, icing and cupcakes :)

    Your Momma did a good job with you :)

    • Willow May 16, 2012 at 9:21 pm #

      LOL – thanks, I’ll let her know. ;)

      And I don’t know how much I could teach you… this was the first time I tried piping flowers, and I’m not that experienced with different tips. Maybe I’m just lucky? I think one of the most important things is the consistency of the frosting – I kept popping my piping bags into the fridge so the buttercream wouldn’t get too soft from the heat of my hands. *Shrugs*

  18. Caitlin May 18, 2012 at 4:24 pm #

    holy moly these are adorable! I always used to give my mom “a day of weeding” certificate in her garden since she loved her flowers so much too!

    • Willow May 19, 2012 at 1:59 pm #

      Wow – now *that’s* a great givft idea! :D

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