Fault line cakes are super trendy right now and I have been excited to make my own version. I liked the idea of trying to make a design where the “fault line” would show what was “actually inside” rather than just a pretty design (e.g., sprinkles). After looking around my apartment for inspiration, I saw my orchid. Almost immediately, the Flowerpot Fault Line Cake idea popped in my head and I thought it would be so cute to be able to see “inside” the pot when it was broken. This design is intermediate to advanced, but I think it’s a great challenge since you can be a little messy (it’s a broken pot that we’re making after all). Scroll down to see how to make this cute and springy Flowerpot Fault Line Cake!
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- 3-4 cake layers (enough to be approximately 6” tall)1
- Approximately 9 cups of Italian Meringue Buttercream1
- Gel Food Colors (Americolor Super Red, Orange, Lemon Yellow, Chocolate Brown, and Leaf Green)
- 2 crushed graham crackers
- 9 crushed Oreo cookies (with the cream center removed)
- Piping bags
- Piping Tips
- #12 tip for rose center
- #104 tip for rose petal (for large roses)
- #102 tip for rose petal (for small roses)
- #352 tip for leaves
- #7 and #4 for branches, twigs, and roots
- #45 or #150 for top lip of pot
- Flower nail
- Flower scissors
- Offset spatula
Preparing the Layer Cake
Stack 3-4 layers of cake to reach 6-inches in height. Spread buttercream between each layer and over the entire cake. Feel free to carve the cake a little so the bottom is slightly smaller than the top. Smooth the top and sides of the cake using an offset spatula or a scraper. The buttercream does not need to be completely smooth because the decorations will cover it.
Place in the fridge to chill while coloring the buttercream for the decorations.
Divide and color the buttercream in the following ways. Keep in mind that colors get deeper after sitting. A little color can go a long way, so start with a smaller amount and add more to get the desired intensity. Try to color your buttercream 1-2 hours before using to determine if the color is deep enough:
- White: Leave about a quarter of the buttercream white (i.e., do not add food coloring and set to the side)
- Terra Cotta: Color half of the remaining buttercream a terra cotta color. To do this, I used 4 different Americolor Gel Colors (i.e., Super Red, Orange, Lemon Yellow, and Chocolate Brown). I lost count of the number of drops of each color I used, but I know there were only 1-2 drops of the Chocolate Brown. Using more than that would muddy the color too much and not allow it to be an “orangey” color. The primary color I added was orange, but I also used yellow and red to get the correct balance of color. For those who are thinking “red and yellow make orange, so why didn’t you just use orange and brown,” I tried this, but the color wasn’t exactly right. The Americolor Super Red and Lemon Yellow do not make the same orange color when mixed as the “Orange” gel food color. They each added their own subtle color. Play around with it until you get the color you want.
- Red: Color 1/3 of the remaining buttercream with Americolor Super Red until you reach the desired red color.
- Green: Color the second 1/3 of the buttercream with Americolor Leaf Green until you reach the desired leaf color
- Brown: Color the last 1/3 of the buttercream with Americolor Chocolate Brown until you reach the desired color of twigs.
Creating Fault Line Design
Remove the cake from fridge and spread a strip of white buttercream around the middle of the cake (i.e., around the equator). Slightly smooth the buttercream, but it doesn’t have to be perfectly smooth or straight. That’s one of the benefits of making a fault line cake.
Mix together the graham cracker and oreo crumbs to create an edible dirt.
Carefully press the “dirt” onto the strip of buttercream. The cookie crumbs should stick to the freshly spread buttercream but will not stick much to the chilled buttercream. Don’t worry if some of the crumbs fall on the bottom of the cake, you can either brush the crumbs off or just cover them with frosting.
Making the Flowerpot
Next, because the crumbs have a tendency to fall when touched by icing, use the terra cotta icing to create the top part of the pot first. I did not do this, and I really wish I had. I ended up having to remove quite a few cookie crumbs from the bottom of my pot. Use a piping tip to make an outline of the broken edge of the pot. I tried to use a spatula initially, but the crumbs made it too difficult. The frosting does not want to stick to the cookie crumbs.
Fill in the outline with buttercream and smooth with a spatula.
Then, use piping tip #45 to make the lip of the pot. Gently drag a sideways offset spatula (i.e., so the skinny edge is touching the cake rather than the wide, flat part) along the top and then bottom of the pot lip to create smooth and straight edges.
Pipe the bottom of the pot next. Use a piping bag with a large hole cut out of the tip to add a generous amount of buttercream to the bottom of the pot.
Then, use an offset spatula to smooth the buttercream into an even layer.
The next part is optional, but I thought it looked pretty cool. I used a #7 tip to pipe roots from the top of the soil section to the bottom. I found that it was easiest to get the buttercream to stick when the root started by touching buttercream at the top of the pot and ended by touching buttercream at the bottom of the pot. When trying to stop piping in the middle of the soil section, the root kept falling off (with an avalanche of cookie crumbs at the same time). My suggestion is to go slowly, because this part was a little difficult.
If you get oreo crumbs on the bottom of the pot, you can use a toothpick to gently (and carefully) remove them (OR you could also just leave the “dirt” because if a pot were broken in half in real life, the dirt would fall everywhere). Brush off all remaining crumbs from the cake board as well.
I also added branches to the top of the cake because the roses would be placed around the branches.
Begin making roses in varied sizes (i.e., some big and some small). You can see my method for piping buttercream roses in my “Buttercream Rose” post.
Place the roses across the top and sides of the cake. Make as many or as few as you want. I decided to make enough to cover almost the entire top of the cake.
Covering the top of the cake
Fill in the gaps between the roses and the branches with small twigs and leaves. For the small twigs, use piping tip #4 to pip small lines off any of the main branches. Try to put them in areas where they will not be covered by leaves or roses.
To make the leaves, use tip #352 and squeeze with slightly more pressure initially (i.e., the base of the leaf) and squeeze with less pressure as you pull the tip away from the cake. This will create a pointed leaf. Make leaves of different sizes by using more pressure (for larger leaves) and less pressure (for smaller leaves).
I love how this Flowerpot Fault Line Cake turned out! The fault line gives the impression that the flowerpot was broken and you can see the roots inside. I think the effect is really cool.
If you make this fault line cake, please send me a picture or tag me on instagram (@windycitybaker or #windycitybaker). I love to see pictures of your amazing creations! If you have any questions as you make the cake, please feel free to reach out to me in the comment section below or by sending me a email.
- I used a double recipe for the Lemon-Scented Vanilla Cake (recipe coming soon) and made 4x the Italian Meringue Buttercream recipe. There was some buttercream left so you could probably get by with only making 3x the buttercream. (Back to “Materials” section)