Should you put fresh flowers on your cakes?

Love it or hate it, fresh flowers on cakes are here to stay. Now unless you’ve been living under a rock (which is cool 😎), it’s been pretty hard to miss the unwavering trend of placing fresh flowers on cakes. It’s like peanut butter and jelly (unwavering!). From birthday cakes to wedding cakes or ‘just because’ cakes, we can’t seem to get enough of mixing nature and nurture (yes cakes are nurturing). Now the question, when you consider the use of certain chemicals in certain flowers, the presence of creepy crawlies and the poisonous nature of some flowers, really becomes “should you put fresh flowers on your cakes?”.

Let’s explore a few reasons why you would want to put fresh flowers on your cakes.

  1. You love flowers and want that reflected in your cake. It goes without saying that if you/your customers love flowers and want realistic flowers on your cake, the best flowers are nature’s very own finest blooms
  2. They are more cost-effective than sugar or wafer paper flowers. Let’s face it, once mother nature has bloomed and you pay the flower man/woman for plucking, pruning and bunching the flowers, the costs become negligible. Even good old Tesco can offer you a bouquet for a fiver. Not so with sugar and wafer paper flowers. You pay for the cost of the materials used to create realistic-looking flowers, the skill of the cake artist and finally their time. Most times, you are billed per flower. Yikes!
  3. They give your cakes a stunning effect. From the subtle luxury of large roses to the fullness of peonies, there’s something breathtaking about fresh flowers on a cake.
  4. Your "friend" Becky with the good hair had fresh flowers on her naked wedding cake and it was oh so rustic chic and you just have to have something similar or better. Hey, valid sentiments sis. No judgment here. I feel you.
If there are great and valid reasons for having fresh flowers on your cake, why would you think twice about venturing into what seems like a floral cake utopia?
  1. Errr germs. Cake is food and flowers thrive and flourish in the dirt. Well, their roots do anyway and the last time we checked mud cakes do not mean mud was literally added to the cake batter. So yeah, the biggest reason to think twice about adding fresh flowers to your cakes is the danger of dirt (read germs) in your cake
  2. Not all flowers are edible. Now I am fully aware that there aren't many people who actively eat fresh flowers but it helps to know that if you wanted to eat your flowers, you could. Alas, some flowers don't stop at simply being inedible. They go the extra mile of being poisonous. Think poison Ivy people. It's literally in her name.
  3. They wither and die. I know, I know, I'm being all doom and gloom but honestly, one of the advantages of sugar and wafer paper flowers is that technically, they could last a lifetime. This means they can be made well in advance of your special occasion during those Love Island binge sessions :P Alas, fresh flowers have to be gotten as close to your special day as possible allowing for blooming time of course.
  4. Pesticides and other chemicals. In an ideal world, all flowers would be organically grown and free of harmful pesticides and nasty chemicals. Unfortunately, that isn't the case. This means you need to be careful about where you buy your flowers to avoid contaminating your cakes with nasty chemicals.

So what's the verdict??? Should you put fresh flowers on your cakes???? In a nutshell, it's up to you and what you/your customers prefer. If you do decide to decorate your cakes with fresh flowers, I suggest following these simple steps:

  • Use flowers which have been grown specifically for consumption, especially if you’ve chosen a naked wedding cake or want to apply the flowers directly onto the cake or filling. Your local flower market/florist should be able to point you in the right direction. Interflora have curated a really helpful edible flower guide below:

  • Wash them thoroughly before use. Avoid picking blooms from the roadside or where they may have been treated with pesticides.
  • Completely cover the stems of your flowers with floral tape and if possible, arrange your flowers in floral picks before inserting them in your cakes. Never push flower stems into the cake. If your flowers have been transported in water, they may have soaked up chemicals or bacteria which you don’t want to transfer to your wedding cake.
  • Don’t add the edible flowers to your cake until the very last minute as they have a short shelf life and can wither in the heat. Keep them in the fridge until you absolutely need them.
  • Remove the flowers from the cake before cutting and serving it.
  • Ahem* Toxic flower varieties to avoid altogether include foxgloves, gypsophila, hyacinths, Calla lilies and Lily-of-the-Valley

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