A Cactus Cake With Major Desert Vibes

cactus cake by sugar and sparrow

Of all the beautiful foliage in the world, cactus is among my very favorite. I was so excited when The Cake Blog asked me to create this cactus cake and make all my desert-loving dreams come true! The buttercream ombrè sunrise, pretty piped cactus shapes, and edible (graham cracker) sand have me all heart eyed. Just look at how pretty! 

cactus cake tutorial

I wrote out the entire tutorial for this cactus cake over on The Cake Blog, so be sure to head over there to see how to get the look. Although it may seem like a complicated design, it’s actually a lot easier than it looks. All you need is a few piping tips, some pretty buttercream colors, and a little imagination. Here’s some photo inspiration:

how to pipe buttercream cactus
desert cake with cactus tutorial
buttercream cactus piping
how to make cactus cake
cactus cake ideas

So pretty right? Makes me want to spend some time in the desert! Be sure to head to The Cake Blog for the full tutorial and let us know if you make this cake by tagging @sugarandsparrowco and @thecakeblog on Instagram! We’d love to see your take on this cactus creation. 


  1. Hi Whitney – I’m going make this cake soon (well, actually I’m going to make your Toy Story version with the fondant clouds on the side) and I was wondering how you would recommend to store it once it’s fully frosted?

    I’ll be making the cake the day before the party so it will need to be stored for around 24 hours. It’s winter here in Australia but the weather is fairly mild (between 50 – 70 degrees F). My main concern would be the fondant clouds as I thought that once on the cake they shouldn’t be refrigerated.

    Any tips you have on storing this cake before serving would be greatly appreciated! x

    • Hi Elissa! So excited for you to make the Toy Story version of this cake design! I ended up storing the cake with fondant clouds for about 24 hours in the refrigerator and they did totally fine. I was a little worried about it because of the conflicting opinions about putting fondant in the fridge, but they stored beautifully for me. I’d say give it a try or if you’re super worried about it you could always create the clouds with buttercream – make a “stencil” of the cloud shape out of wax/parchment paper, place it on a chilled buttercream cake, then smear white buttercream over the top and remove the paper.

      • Elissa Condon

        Oh brilliant! I think I will give it a try. Do you always store buttercream cakes in the fridge?

        Also, for the fondant clouds – did you make them in advance so they set a little or did you put them straight on the cake?

        • I always store buttercream cakes in the fridge until about 2 hrs before serving (or up until the last minute before delivering). They store really nicely that way and the buttercream exterior keeps them nice and moist. For the fondant clouds, I started with a chilled buttercream cake and then stuck the clouds on straight away using a little water as adhesive. It worked really well!

  2. Hi Whitney! First and foremost, this cake is gorgeous!!! I’m hoping to try my hand at it this weekend. Do you recall what the three shades of AmeriColor were used for the Cactus?

    • Thank you, Melissa! I believe I used AmeriColor Forest Green and Avocado in varying intensity to get these three shades.

  3. I made your Cactus cake yesterday for my niece’s birthday party today. She chose the design from Pinterest and, in my opinion, has way more faith in my cake decorating then I do. But…it turned out beautifully! Thank you so much for this beautiful and creative design. You are amazingly talented. I just wish that I could post a picture for you to see just how inspiring you are!

  4. Marissa Shervin

    Hello! Beautiful cake! What kind of piping tip did you use to make the ball-like cactuses? Thanks in advance!

  5. Love this look and recipe!! Should I keep it refrigerated if I’m serving it two days from now?

    • Yay, Stella! So excited for you to try this! You technically don’t have to refrigerate it, but I always refrigerate the cake until an hour or two before serving, just to keep all the details intact.

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