Select nontoxic leaves, such as bay leaves. Thoroughly wash the leaves, and pat dry. Melt approximately 2-oz. vanilla candy coating in a saucepan over low heat until melted (about 3 minutes). Stir until smooth. Cool slightly. Working on parchment paper, spoon a 1/8-inch-thick layer of candy coating over backs of leaves, spreading to edges.
3 of 4Photo: Hector Sanchez
Step 2: Peel Leaves from Candy Coating
Transfer leaves gently, by their stems, to a clean sheet of parchment paper, resting them candy coating sides up; let stand until candy coating is firm (about 10 minutes). Gently grasp each leaf at stem end, and carefully peel the leaf away from the candy coating. Store candy leaves in a cold, dry place, such as an airtight container in the freezer, up to 1 week.
4 of 4Photo: Hector Sanchez
Step 3: Arrange Leaves on Cake
Handle leaves gently when garnishing or they'll break or melt. Arrange candy leaves around the base of the cake and store-bought coconut candies (such as Confetteria Raffaello Almond Coconut Treats) in the center of the cake. Accent the top of the cake with additional candy leaves. For candy pearls, simply roll any remaining candy coating into balls, and let stand until dry.