Here’s some great news: using real flowers as cake decor doesn’t require professional-level skill. In fact, fresh blooms can be way easier than fiddling with the sugar-based variety. Before you start trimming stems or snacking on petal scraps though, there are a few considerations to keep in mind.
1. Do a Safety Check
This part’s no joke: some flowers are naturally toxic if consumed, and others are harmful because they’ve been sprayed with pesticides. Either way, they really shouldn’t be cozied up in your frosting.
Edible blooms include roses, gardenia, pansies, violets and dandelions, among others. But if you love the look of a flower that isn’t edible, you may still be able to use it on your cake if you whisk it away before serving. To be sure, talk to a good florist — preferably one who regularly deals with cake decor — about your options, and follow some basic safety guidelines to get started.
2. Keep ‘Em Fresh
You want to do everything you can to extend the life of your blooms, especially if you’re purchasing them a few days before they’re going on your cake. To process your flowers, strip the stem of all flowers or greenery you don’t want to show. Then dunk the entire flower (stem and all) into a vinegar and water solution — this kills all bacteria on the plant so it’ll live longer. Trim the stem and dip the end into Quick Dip to hydrate the flower. Then store ’em in a vase with water until they’re ready to use!
3. Account for the Conditions
Think about when and where this cake will be served, and choose your flowers to match. No matter how gorgeous those lilacs are, for example, they’re not going to hold up long on a hot summer day. Hearty mums, however, are easy to keep looking fresh.
4. Deal With the Stems
You could just stick the flower stems directly into the cake, but that won’t keep your blooms or cake the freshest they can be. Instead, insert them into individual flower holders (those little tubes available at florist shops), or use a product like Ingenious Edibles Safety Seal to coat stems in a food-safe wax.
5. Play With Design
Here are some easy-yet-dramatic ideas for using fresh flowers on a cake.
Wreathy Does It
Photo by Erin Gardner
Whether you do a simple circle around the edge of the cake or a broader ring, a crown-like topping of flowers looks simple but luxurious.
Photo by Erin Gardner
When deconstructed and scattered, a few colorful blossoms go a long way in creating a modern, romantic look. Plus, it’s totally foolproof: simply toss gently pressed petals all over your cake and you’re done.
Photo by Erin Gardner
Assuming you’re using edible flowers, consider turning them into candied edible flowers. It’s so easy: simply brush the petals with beaten egg whites or moistened meringue powder, then sprinkle with confectioner’s or decorating sugar. (You can also purchase these pre-made at a cake decorating supply store.)
In the same way tucking a flower behind your ear makes you look instantly glam, affixing one (or maybe even a well-balanced trio) of flowers to the edge of a cake gives it some real star power. When it’s time to serve, you can quickly remove them — or leave in place and see which lucky guest gets the special slice.
This is a very misleading and actually quite dangerous post. Florists have ZERO, that is correct NO TRAINING at all, nevermind certification in food safety. CAKE IS FOOD. No reputable wedding cake provider should EVER allow an untrained, uncertified florist near their cake. Ever. Not from a food safety point of view nor in regard to potentially damaging the structural integrity of the cake.
Fresh flowers really don’t belong on cakes at all, to be honest. Imagine going to the lengths to buy a gluten free vegan cake to accommodate all your guests’ allergies and having to call 911 for an anaphylactic reaction someone has to pollen that ended up on their slice. Come on. You have to at least advise people that their local food laws need to be thoroughly investigated and that the food safety certified cake provider needs to be the only one placing ANYTHING in, on, or around the cake. Really. Safety Seal comes off you know. It slides off all the time. I use it but would never ever use it by itself. People should be advised that taped and sealed wired stems should be inside straws or picks in the cake to avoid serving your client a big chunk of safety seal in their cake. Sheesh.
You must do better than this. Ill-informed people will assume this gives them license to practice really unacceptable food preparation. I can’t believe you gave them “permission” to put a poisonous substance on their cake and told them everything would be fine as long as they took it off before they served it! That is one of the most ridiculous and irresponsible things I have ever heard.
That’s a little bit overboard. For one thing, Wilton manufacturers little tiny “vases” that natural flowers can be put in before they are put into a cake. 35 years ago, when I was a bride, I chose fresh flowers for my wedding cake and nothing happened (350 guests including children). Expert cake decorators know something about the structural integrity of wedding cakes and can be trusted to decorate them with fresh flowers. I am also a long time gardener and I know which flowers are edible and which are not. It’s okay to use edible flowers in moderation. Finally, many modern brides don’t like the TASTE, EXPENSE or the HEAVINESS of paste or icing flowers. When faced with a choice between edible natural flowers and paste ones, many are opting for Mother Nature. I say, to each his own and trust the experts.