Ann Reardon

Epic Gravity Defying Cake

gravity defying cake howtocookthat


Gravity defying cakes are so much fun, they certainly grab peoples attention at parties. The trick to this hovering watering can cake is some serious hidden supports. Once you’ve got that set up it is really not so hard to make the cake defy gravity.

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* “Make it a great week” cup
* The Deep Enders novel by Dave Reardon.

To make this gravity defying cake you will need:



2 quantities of my rich chocolate cake recipe baked in one 6inch (15.24 centimetres) round cake tin and one terra-cotta plant pot, mine was 20cm (7.87 inches) diameter at the top, 13.5cm (5.31 inches) at the base and 14.5cm (5.71 inches) tall. Line each with non-stick baking paper that comes up higher than the tin to stop the mixture from overflowing in the oven.

870g (30.69 ounces) milk chocolate melts
250millilitres (8.45 fluid ounces) or 1 cup (35% fat) cream
Pour the cream over the chocolate and heat for 30 seconds, stir, 20 seconds stir then 10 second intervals until it is smooth. Leave to cool overnight at room temperature. Or if you are in a hurry spread flat in a large container in the freezer for about an hour to thicken.

Whip the above with 3 batches of my basic buttercream recipe.

I also used two chopped boost chocolate bars between the layers of the plant pot for some crunch.

watering can cake gravity defying cake

175g (6.17 ounces) turquoise fondant mixed with 1 teaspoon of tylose powder for the handles
additional 575g (20.28 ounces) Turquoise fondant
750g (26.46 ounces) Terracotta coloured fondant
15g (0.53 ounces) leaf green fondant
50g (1.76 ounces) black fondant
50g (1.76 ounces) great fondant mixed with 1/4 teaspoon tylose

Simple Syrup:
1/4 cup or 55g (1.94 ounces) sugar
1/4 cup or 63millilitres (2.13 fluid ounces) water
Heat together in the microwave until the sugar is dissolved. Allow to cool before using.

200g (7.05 ounces) or 1 cup less 2 tsp isomalt for drips
1 packet of oreos for the dirt
ganache made with:
300g (10.58 ounces) milk chocolate melts and
100g (3.53 ounces) or 1/2 cup less 1 Tbsp cream (35% fat) to cover the cake board
150g (5.29 ounces) or 2 cups coconut, dessicated
green food coloring for the grass

Non-food stuff:
aluminum foil and non-stick baking paper
wooden cake board with feet for the base, mine is 51cm (20.08 inches) x 45cm (17.72 inches) but it doesn’t have to be that large.
cake boards (see template for diagram of shapes and sizes)
5/16inch (40.64 centimetres) threaded rod
5/16inch (40.64 centimetres) hex nuts x 7

You will also need a drill with a 5/16inch (40.64 centimetres) drill bit and a hacksaw.

gravity defying cake ann reardon

Cut the cake boards in the shape shown on the template and drill a hole through where shown.

Drill a hole in the base cake board where you’d like the pot to sit.

Place one end of the rod through the cake board and screw the nut on, keep your hand close to the board on the other side so you can measure how thick the board and nut are.

Line that point up on the template with the base board. Decide how high you want the watering can to hover above the plant, if you’re making a bigger plant you may want it to hover higher. Mark the height of where the rod will sit above the top of the highest cake board. Cut to size using a hack saw then wash it and the nuts in the dishwasher.

Cover the base board in foil, put the threaded rod through, add a nut underneath and on top and tighten to secure the rod in place.

Mix together the 175g (6.17 ounces) of turquoise fondant with tylose powder. Tylose makes the fondant dry out really quickly so you don’t have to wait days for it to go hard. You will need to work with it quickly or it will set before you’re ready. If you can’t get tylose you can make these details a week ahead and leave them to dry out.

Roll a thick snake and flatten it using a rolling pin. Cut a strip to the length shown on the template. Cut the corners off and round the ends. Stand it up on its side and bend it around to make the top handle, make sure it has plenty of room each side of the watering can to allow for frosting and fondant that goes on the cake. Poke a hole through the end with spaghetti to make it easier to attach later.

Cut another strip of fondant for the side handle and make a spiral on each end. Bend it around to match the template then poke in some spaghetti.

watering can cake ann reardon

For the nozzle of the watering can, cut a thick circle in the size shown on the template then use the side of your knife to smooth it out.

For extra support I added two cake pop sticks through the turquoise circle, this was not sufficient once the weight of the isomalt drips was added. After a couple of hours the nozzle started to sag. To avoid this if making it again I’d add a support board between he turquoise circle and the grey fondant. Then use 2 wooden wedges between the nuts and the board to get it on the right angle.

Take a ball of grey and squash it down on the sides to make a domed shape. Cut it into a neat circle using a cutter and add it on top of the turquoise circle Make a hole through on the angle of the support pole. Hold it over the template and push through some spaghetti to make sure it’s in the right spot. Once you’re happy with it use a wooden cake spike to make the hole bigger so it will fit the rod.

Place it back down flat and use a cake pop stick to add more holes so it looks like a watering can nozzle.

For the plant roll out some green fondant thinly and cut leaf shapes. Then to make them curved rest the baking paper over a snake of fondant an leave them to dry.

Cut the plant pot cake into three even layers. Brush each with simple syrup an then stack up with frosting on the plant pot cake board. I used chopped chocolate bars between the layers too for some crunch. Cover the whole thing in frosting and place it in the fridge.

plant pot cake tutorial ann reardon

For the round cake place the watering can template over the top and trim it to size. Then cut it into three even layers. Brush with simple syrup, stack with frosting, cover in frosting and then place in the fridge to chill.

gravity defying cake tutorial ann reardon

Once that first layer of frosting has chilled add some slightly warmed frosting over the top and use a spatula to smooth out the top and sides. Then place the cake back in the fridge.

Lower the plant pot cake down over the support rod. Roll out a strip of teracotta coloured fondant measuring it to make it a few centimeters high then the top of the pot. Wrap it around the cake, lining up the bottom and gently smooth the sides with your hands.

Use a ruler to mark 11.5 cm (4.53 inches) on the side then add an extra strip of fondant around the top using a little water to make it stick.

Crush up some oreos in a food processor and add them to the top of the pot for dirt.

Using your template locate where the bottom of the nozzle will sit and add a nut at that level. Add in some temporary support and place the nozzle down on top. If you’ve taken my advice about using extra support here add a second nut over the top to secure it.

Add a flat cone shape of fondant with tyolse in it, on top of that, squeezing it tightly around the rod. Add another nut at the level shown on the template and add the skinny cake board, covered in foil. And add another nut on top to secure it tightly in place. Using fondant build up the support to make it the right angle for the watering can.

Take the watering can cake off the cake board and mark the angle shown on the template. Then cut it diagonally down on that angle.

Carefully add the triangle of cake that you cut off. Cover the top of it in frosting so it will stick to the board. Then add the next support board into place. Add a nut and tighten it well.

Lower the rest of the watering can cake into place, wriggling it around to get it in the right position. Use frosting to cover the joins where the cake boards are and cover the base of the cake in frosting too.

gravity defying cake tutorial ann reardon

Add a circle of turquoise fondant to the base. To the top add 1/3 of a circle of turquoise and 2/3 a circle of black fondant.

Cut a strip of turquoise and wrap it around the sides of the can. Use your hands to smooth it and make sure it joins at the edges.

Add another thin strip around the top of the watering can, just wrapping it around and trimming it off at the back.
To cover our support in the nozzle add a strip around so it looks nice and neat. Then add a thicker strip around the middle to cover our fondant.

Add the handle into place just poking the spaghetti into the top of the cake. Add a little water on the side and put the handle into place. Push some spaghetti through to support it. Then add something to hold it up while the water dries. Roll a little ball of fondant and add it over the top of the spaghetti.

Put some coconut in a bowl and add some green food colouring and stir it really well until you’re happy with the colour.

Spread ganache onto the base of the cake board and sprinkle with green coconut.

For the water heat isomalt crystals over high heat until they are melted.

watering can cake ann reardon

Pour spoonfuls onto nonstick baking paper making long drips. Once these are cooled and set, place in an airtight container between sheets of non-stick baking paper until you are ready for the party.

Remove the support the from watering can and add some drips around the rod using some more melted isomalt to make it stick. Continue adding more drips coming from the holes in the nozzle. Just like water dripping down.

Then add your little plant and use isomalt to make the leaves stick.

plant pot cake how to cook that

Enjoy the looks on everyones faces as they admire your creation, and even better they’ll love eating it.

gravity defying cake tutorial ann reardon

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All recipe quantities in the book are in grams, ounces and cups.

33 Comments View Comments

  1. Rating: 5

    Hi Ann,
    I used your template to make my Mums 70th birthday cake. She was super impressed.
    The top handle on my watering can didn’t survive but I didn’t think it took much away from the cake.



  2. Rating: 5

    Hey Anne,
    Probably stupid questions, but how many people would this feed? And are the sizes of the template as-is or do i have to print them at a certain mag?
    Love this design! Plan on surprising my mum with it for her birthday (she’s a horticulturist)
    Thanks so much 🙂

  3. Rating: 5

    I love love love this. I have made a few gravity cakes but this will be perfect for my mum’s 70th birthday. Quick question: if I make the cakes on Thursday, assemble/fondant on Friday, ready for the party Saturday evening – should I keep it in the fridge? or can I, once covered in fondant, leave it at room temperature? Thanks. PS. I love this cake – did I mention that 🙂

  4. Rating: 5

    I tryed somerhing similar. But it didn‘t work with the isomalt (water). But nobody realised this mistake:-)

  5. Rating: 5

    As detailed as it is, I am a visual person , i would definitely need to see the skeleton of the cake board that supports the watering can

  6. Rating: 5

    Hi! I am an IB student from America. I am working on a math research paper and because I love to bake, I am trying to research the strength of frosting when used in gravity-defying cakes. For example, how much weight can the frosting support at different angles. I was wondering if you had any data on this subject because you have probably done similar experiments to make these gravity-defying cakes. If you do have this data, would you be willing to send some of it to me? Thank you!

    • Hi Stina, Frosting will not support cake, you need a cake board and support rods to hold gravity defying cakes.

  7. Rating: 4

    Hello Ann! I made a plantpot cake with a real mint plant. Greets from the Netherlands

    • We love this Merel- Great work!!

  8. Do you have to use the drill and the rods? I don’t have a drill….where can you buy the rods and the nuts?

    • Hi Margaret, you cab get these supplies from a hard ware store quite cheaply. Alternatively you can buy a commercial version of speciaized cake supports from a baking supply store, though it can be hard to find something that will work as well as the rods.

  9. Rating: 5

    This looks SOO good! You rock,Ann Readon !

  10. Rating: 5

    This is amazing, thank you so much for sharing!
    I was wondering how far in advance you think this could be made. Would it hold up if made the afternoon/day prior to a party, and still transport well?
    Thank you in advance,

    • Hi Amber, Yes it would. A couple of the fondant details would need to be made prior so they can dry out.

  11. Hi Ann, what grade threaded rod did you use? Stainless steel 304 or 316 or hot dip gal or gal? Is using this food safe??

    • Hi Haley, It is best to use stainless steel. Our measurement system doesn’t grade the threaded rods in the same way as you mention, but you can gauge the diameter by referring to the video.

    • Haley , I think she used stainless steel.

  12. How do I make the template bigger? I printed it out on an 8″x11″ and it looks really small.

    • Hi Latoya R. Print the template out without scaling. It is designed for A4 paper but will print out at the correct size if you don not scale it on your printer settings. The templates usually seem a little on the small side but once you cut them out of cake and then cover with fondant (etc), they do end up a little larger that you might expect.

  13. Rating: 4.5

    You’re cakes are amazing

  14. Rating: 5

    You’re cake is amazing

  15. Hi. I would like to request on how to make a halloween castle cake or a christmas castle cake

  16. Hello, can you tell me how long is taking to do this cake for the frist time? I don’t have a lot of

    • Hi Yael, This cake would need a day for baking and making the fondant pieces and another day for assembly and decorating. If you don’t have much experience with making sculptured cakes with supports it may be better to develop your skills on a simpler project.

      • can you please give me some examples for sculptured cakes?

  17. Hello there I feel so inspired by you I have Never baked before so it’s all new to me …. but took the plunge last Monday and went and bought some bits and pieces to start baking and I’m so surprised what I have done in just over a week!!!! You can’t get me out of the kitchen and I used to hate being in there !!!! So I hope you don’t mind me showing my achievements in a week ….. ok not too great but we all start somewhere !!!

    • Hello, can you tell me how long is taking to do this cake for the frist time? I don’t have a lot of

    • Hi Sonia, for someone who has never baked before you have done a beautiful job. I am sure it tastes as good as it looks.

    • Rating: 5

      it’s beautiful! You are doing great! keep it up!

  18. Hi Ann! I would like to ask what is the simple syrup for, thanks! I’ll definetly make this cake for my next birthday!

    • Hi Grace, simple syrup is a syrup made from sugar and water that helps to keep your cake moist. You can make it using equal quantities of sugar and water. Mix the two together, heat in the microwave so it is hot enough for the sugar to be dissolved. Give it a really good stir till the sugar has completely dissolved. Let it cool before use.

  19. Hi Ann! I would like to request something real quick. A gravity-defying balloon cake. Thanks!

  20. Hi Ann! I would just like to request something real quick. A gravity-defying balloon cake. Thanks!

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