One thing we have noticed more and more over the last few years is the use of flowers on wedding cakes. Whether they have been used as decoration between layers of a naked cake or placed on the icing to cover an entire cake – the affect of using them can really be quite something and wedding cakes are becoming not just yummy to eat but really beautiful to look at.
Bees Bakery, who recently joined our Festival Wedding Directory, specialises in using edible organic flowers and herbs on wedding cakes and when I saw her website for the first time I was completely taken aback by her amazing wedding cake designs. So much so that I asked if she would do a series of guest posts for us all about using flowers on wedding cakes.
First up is a post on using real flowers versus edible flowers with tips on how to source them and use correctly. If your dream was to incorporate flowers into your wedding cake then this is a must read.
Over to Bee….
Edible Vs Real….
Words by Bee Berrie
Decorating wedding cakes with real blooms is a timeless tradition, and there are so many different ways to personalise the look to suit your style. However, there is one major problem here – did you know that certain flowers are actually poisonous to eat? Even if they are a non-toxic variety, most florist grade flowers still aren’t safe for human consumption, and shouldn’t be touching the cake you’re about to serve to guests.
Luckily, there’s an easy solution – to use edible, organically grown flowers and herbs in their place – and there are a huge variety of colours, shapes and sizes of bloom available, perfect for any style or theme.
Here at Bee’s Bakery, we specialise in wedding and party cakes decorated with fresh and dried edible flowers, petals and herbs, and we’ve decorated hundreds of cakes for couples all over the UK in many different styles, colourways and textures. We’ve designed cakes for forest marquee weddings in Suffolk, to country house hotels in Herfordshire, to discreet Gastro-pub parties in Chelsea and everything in between. Each time we work to a specific brief from the couple, and factor in choices including colour, shape and number of flowers / petals used, cake recipes, number of tiers and colour of icing.
The possibilities for decorating cakes with edible petals are endless, as so many different shapes, sizes and colours are available, particularly in the summer months. From large classic rose petals available in a range of colours from deep red through to blush pink and ivory, to gorgeous little cornflowers in blue and white, and a stunning range of coloured and beautifully shaped edible herb leaves too. Edible flowers are available in all the colours of the rainbow, and they’re a very cost effective way to decorate a cake compared to sugar flower decorations.
So, if you’re keen on working with edible flowers on your wedding cake, here are my top tips for decorating with these beautiful blooms:
Choose Your Petals Carefully….
Blooms from florists, even if taken from edible species of flowers, are generally not safe for human consumption, and so if used, shouldn’t touch the cake they’re decorating, there must be some barrier to contact. Florist grade flowers will often have been sprayed with pesticides and fertilisers – even if you rinse them, they’re still not safe to eat, and the last thing you want is a dicky tummy on your wedding day!
Buy Your Petals from a Certified Organic Grower in Your Country…
This ensures that they (and the cake they’re touching) are safe to eat. They’ll have been grown in real soil without pesticides or fertilisers, neither of which are safe to eat, and they won’t have been transported in grubby lorries or trains. We source our flowers from Maddocks Farm Organics, a certified organic flower farm in Devon.
Talk to your grower / baker about which flowers will be in season on your wedding day – this’ll make sure your flowers are the perkiest, brightest and most beautiful ones possible. If it’s not the bloom season then herb leaves, and dried edible flowers and petals look beautiful on cakes too, just like these dinky little numbers below:
Plan to Decorate at the Last Possible Moment….
In hot weather, edible flowers can often wilt after a while at room temperature, especially if put on display for several hours before serving. Store your petals in an airtight container in the fridge until you need them – they’ll be at their perkiest this way. Think about petal colours and shapes that will compliment the other flowers you’re having. Whilst you don’t want to be too “matchy matchy”, having some common colours/shapes can be really complimentary.
Remove the Green Parts Before Use….
and use only the buds and petals as often the green parts are very bitter and may not be safe to eat. If using florist blooms, never push the stems of your blooms into the cake – as the flowers will have been stored in a (non food safe) bucket of water during transportation, and may have soaked up lots of bacteria in the process.
Be BOLD with your Colour Choices….
Even the brightest of petals will look delicate and pretty on your cake, so don’t be shy!
For a Garland Style of Cake….
Add your flowers at the last possible moment, to ensure they’re at their perkiest. You can still decorate, tier up and display your cake, but just add the flowers as late as you can.
For a Confetti Style of Cake
Mix some petals into the icing before you decorate, this will give you a base layer of beautifully flecked icing, and helps you to go for a really random (and therefore pretty) finish
If it’s a Really Hot Day….
Consider planning for the cake to make a grand entrance just before its cut – so it can be stored in the fridge until the last possible moment.
Be Careful During Transportation….
Use a super strong cake box, wrapped well with clingfilm, and surround the box with ice packs if it’s a super hot day.
About Bee’s Bakery….
Bee’s Bakery wedding cakes are hand-made to order in Bee’s railway arch in East London. Bee’s cakes have been featured by Vogue, Stylist, Brides magazine, and the Observer’s Top 5 and featured on television on ITV, BBC 2, and on Mary Portas’s recent “What Britain Buys” series.
Bee’s cakes are often decorated with beautiful organic UK-grown edible flowers and fruits, and edible printed botanical illustrations. Totally customisable, her designs can be adapted to suit any budget, and many different tastes, from traditional fondant and royal iced fruit cake, to “semi-naked” partially iced cakes covered in edible petals.
Recipes available range from traditional victoria sponge and St Clements cake, to stunning prosecco and rose petal cake, earl grey cake with lemon buttercream, and a wide range of specialist cakes for gluten free, dairy free, or vegan guests, including an orange, olive oil and thyme cake, and a vegan chocolate fudge cake.
Bee is Leiths trained, and has been an apprentice to Peggy Porschen Cakes, she is also the author of two award-winning Cake decorating and biscuit baking recipe books, and is a qualified food stylist.
Massive thanks to Bee for sharing this post with us today. Make sure you stop by next week when Bee is sharing tips on using floral designs on your wedding cake.
Big Cake Love