It’s been a while since I’ve had a nice how-to post. Thank you to my friend, Kristi for suggesting this one!!! I cannot wait to talk about decorating with flowers because, like HELLOOOOOO, I love to do it. There is something so refreshing and visually stimulating about adding a pop of fresh color to desserts, smoothie bowls or heck, a good ole’ plate of salad! Flowers are truly my first love, (pun alert!) it’s no wonder I fell in love with Daniel Flores.
Decorating a cake with fresh flowers provides such a beautiful, feminine look to any simple cake. Especially, when we are all more cautious about food coloring, fresh flowers give us a great natural option for any sweet treat. But, it can seem a little intimidating at first. What flowers do you use? Where do you buy them? What is safe? I’ve put together a compilation of what I do when decorating with fresh non-edible and edible flowers.
Let’s get started!
Decorating with Non-edible Flowers
The great thing about decorating a cake is that you don’t necessarily NEED to decorate with edible flowers since people pick them off anyway. Just give them a heads up beforehand. Here are some helpful tips for decorating cakes with non-edible flowers.
- Organic is preferred. Obviously, it’s nice to decorate a cake without the added chemicals that grace non-organic items. The down side to this is that you need to be careful that there are not any unwanted bugs hanging out under those petals that might distract the appetite of whomever is going to eat your cake. Have I ever decorated with non-organic flowers before? You bet! And this is what I do…
- Wash and prep the stems. I do this no matter if they are organic or not. Cut the stems about 1.5 inches in length, and wash them under cold water, and brush them with your fingers. If you are concerned about the petals, dip the flower in cold water, and dry immediately.
- Wrap plastic wrap around the stems before inserting into the cake. This step takes some time because I have not mastered the art of plastic wrap. Why does it always fold up on me and stick to itself? Anyway, I use the plastic wrap that is sticky, and it’s always served me best.
- Decorate the cake with flowers no longer than 24 hours before serving. I prefer to decorate the day of, but I haven’t had any issues with decorating a cake the day before an event and keeping it in the fridge.
- Don’t decorate with known poisonous toxic flowers such as poinsettias or foxglove.
Decorating with Edible Flowers
Now, let’s talk edible flowers!!! My favorite! I love edible flowers because there is no fuss worrying about the additional steps like up above. But, there are some limitations. Here are some helpful tips for decorating cakes with edible flowers.
- Shop around! You have a few options when it comes to purchasing.
- You can plant your own, however, a lot of flowers are seasonal and won’t bloom year round. Some of my favorite edible flowers are pansies, but their life in my yard is about April to June if I’m lucky.
- You can buy online! This is an amazing online shop for beautiful edible flowers!! They ship directly to you through priority mail so you know they are nice and fresh! However, the shipping costs are expensive.
- Shop around locally! I made a lot of calls to local grocery stores in my area before I found a place that orders them for me through special order. Ask the produce section first and not the floral department.
- Use immediately. Most edible flowers are very delicate and seem to get more so after being picked. Plan to use them within 3-4 days of purchase and keep them in fridge.
- I bet you’re wondering by now, “Okay, Karlee, but what ARE flowers that are edible vs. non edible?” That is a GREAT question! I’ve done a ton of research, and I decorate with flowers all the time, but I still don’t know it 100%. I will always resort to pinterest diagrams of edible flowers when I’m in doubt. Most edible flowers come from flowering herbs like lavender, rosemary, cilantro etc. A lot of perennials are edible including violas, pansies, and nasturtiums. My favorite edible flowers are roses, chamomile, dahlias, and strawberry blossoms.
- There are some edible flowers that aren’t great for decorating cakes. Chive blossoms, which are gorgeous and absolutely divine on some creamy hummus, taste very onion-y and you wouldn’t want an onion-y tasting buttercream. Same with most savory flowering herbs. Carnations are beautiful but have a peppery taste. But, I really love them on mashed potatoes! Stick with the sweeter/neutral tasting flowers like the ones I mentioned in number 3.
I hope this helps answer some of your questions about decorating cakes with flowers! If you give it a go, make sure to tag me @oliveandartisan in any of the pictures you post on Instagram so I can check out your work!
After such a great response about a workshop, I have decided to go for it and have started planning a Spring 2018 cake decorating/styling/photography workshop! We will talk flowers, best buttercream recipes, crumb coat, awesome tools, styling a shoot, and more. We can also talk nail polish, Harry Potter, and shoot the breeze if you so desire. One thing is for sure, I’ll be getting you more info as that develops. Thank you for all your comments and support for this! I am really looking forward to it!