I'd like to try to help, but the pic is too small to tell. Can you maybe email me a bigger copy of the pic? If so, PM me for my email address!
Have changed attachment. Thank you to the person who did this cake as I have no name so cannot give them credit.
It almost looks like fabric wrapped around cake dummies to me. Otherwise, I would try doing some brush embroidery on the sides of the cake.
Hope that helps!!
Well, since it's such a poor quality picture, and really hard to tell what's really been done, I think it could almost be anything . But, if your icing the cake in buttercream, you could pipe a random pattern all over the sides and then paper towel it to accomplish two things, to soften the image, and to slightly flatten the piping. Good luck!!
Have a look at the 3 tier chocolate wedding cake in my photos - think this has a similar effect on it. If that is what you are looking for it can be done in chocolate ganache, royal icing or buttercream depending on what you are working with (and what cake is underneath).
First off you ice your cake smoothly to make sure it is perfectly round. Let is set up, then go over with a small amount of the icing you are using and a small crank handled palate knife and randomly spread it around - keep your strokes the same size and you end up with a rough iced look but it is also neat and tidy.
Thank you all. I am covering the cake in white fondant. Bunsen I think I will do what you suggested. Royal icing and spread it randomly.