Let Them Eat Flowers
Decorating your wedding cake with real flowers can offer an understated and chic alternative that brings a modern touch to the grand finale.
How much is gum paste worth to you? It's a conundrum that couples on a budget often confront when it comes to decorating their wedding cake. Exquisitely beautiful and delicate edible flowers, painstakingly crafted from pliable sugary gum paste dough are lovely to behold, but expensive.
Real flowers, on the other hand, are less expensive to decorate with and can trim your wedding budget in less than obvious ways, while still looking luxurious and special. But they do come with some serious limitations--and advantages.
The Amazon Jewel and Whirlybird blossoms come in an array of cheery red, orange and yellow. If you're looking for blooms in a different palette, consider pansies, roses or marigolds.
If you love the look or simply need to shave costs and are considering this garden variety touch, here are the facts you need to consider.
Know what's inedible
Unlike sugar flowers, some real blooms can be beautiful--yet deadly--if ingested. "Don't use flowers that have a poisonous trace like lily of the valley, daffodils, or even calla lilies," advises Liz Shim, owner of New York City-based Eat Cake Be Merry.
Luckily, not all gorgeous blooms fit for your wedding cake are bad for your health. "As a precaution, ask for certified organic flowers that have not come in contact with toxic pesticides." Orchids, for example, are often heavily treated to protect them from insects, so they may not be the safest to place on food. Any of the residue from these toxins can especially hurt kids, pregnant guests and the elderly.
Use Safe Flowers
There are some blooms that are safe to adorn your cake with. Nasturtium, actually a kind of watercress, is the edible kind. The Amazon Jewel and Whirlybird blossoms come in an array of cheery red, orange and yellow. If you're looking for blooms in a different palette, consider pansies, roses or marigolds.
"In any case, make sure your baker places the flowers in plastic spikes specifically designed to be inserted into cakes. This will help prevent any of the water in the stems from leaking into the cake and leaving a bitter taste," recommends Shim. Your baker should have spikes, like these from Wilton, to hold your stems in place.
Stay Away From Scent
Another guideline to work with when selecting your blooms is considering their aroma. Stay away from flowers with a strong odor. "The scent leaches into the cake. And trust me, it will smell better than it will taste," says Cecile Gady, owner of Cakework in San Francisco, who started out using fresh flowers in her designs 26 years ago. Today, she mostly works with the sugar variety.
Choose White Cakes
Working with a blank canvas is best, adds Gady. When using fresh flowers, we suggest ordering a clean, white three-tier wedding cake. In fact, Gady features this kind of special order wedding cake specifically for brides inspired to decorate at her Bay Area bakery.
Go for One Impactful Bloom
A new trend in decorating wedding cakes, says Deborah Lauren of City Sweets, is skipping the bouquet of flora and going for one grand blossom instead. "I love the huge boule de neige from France," says Lauren. "The bloom comes up to 10 inches in diameter and makes such an dramatic statement." Even if it's not edible.