thanks to all the help from fellow ccers, i was able to combine 2 cakes into one. the top layer is cactus using sports ball pan, cream cheese/buttercream frosting, i had to use toothpicks for needles because my gumpaste ones werent thin enough. flowers are 50-50 gum paste/fondant, painted with food color and brushed with luster dust. middle layer is 8 inch round cake, slighly sculpted to angle in at the bottom, covered with terra cotta colored fondant. bottom layer is 2 ten inch layers of carrot and pineapple cakes, with cream cheese frosting with slight orange flavor. covered with fondant, painted like a watercolor with varying shades of food colors. silouettes are chocolate frosting, piped out to look like joshua trees and coyote. rocks are gumpaste/fondant, sand is crushed nilla wafers. all 3 cakes are dowelled together. this was for my niece's reception out in the desert, she wanted a cactus theme.