Decorating your own wedding cake can either be one of the most satisfying or stressful parts of your big day. If you are following the growing trend of baking your own cake or having a kind friend or relative do that for you, you may wish to use fresh flowers to finish it off. Even the wonkiest wedding cake can look charming when adorned with bundles of roses and gypsophila before being dusted with icing sugar, making the DIY option pretty popular with both the professional and the novice baker.
DECOR TUTORIAL Debby Donnelly-Addison specialises in organic, botanical baking using edible florals and foraged ingredients. Find her on Instagram @thebohobaker! Debby is an accomplished baker and owner of in house bakery Vanilla Nova Cake Boutique.
Before you go running for your mixer and left over flowers however, there are some practical considerations you need to think about. Firstly, flowers from a florist are not edible as they were grown for aesthetics and most likely will have been treated with pesticides. This is wonderful for your bouquet and wedding flowers, but not particularly great for your stomach! This does not mean that these flowers cannot be used on your cake (phew), it just means that you need to take a few precautions before you get scissor happy and channel your inner florist.
Secondly, if you are using flowers you have foraged or are from your own garden, you still need to take precautions if you are using varieties that are not deemed edible by the Royal Horticultural Society. It is not recommended that you use any flowers from roadsides or areas frequented by dog walkers, so home grown is usually far safer if you are not using blooms from a florist. Whilst edible varieties guarantee the flowers are not toxic, it is highly recommended that you take one of the precautions below anyway: cut flower stems will want to draw up water and moisture from any source possible, including your cake! As such, you should never push cut stems directly into a cake without following one of these three methods:
Wired flower wraps:
- Rinse your flowers in cold water and check between the petals for any bugs.
- Take a piece of thick floristry wire and wrap with florists tape. If you feel your wire is not thick enough to support the weight of your flowers, tape several pieces together to create a flexible band.
- Starting with your foliage, start taping your stems to the band one at a time. Build up until you have your desired fullness and look.
- Wrap your flowers around the front of your cake, either around a tier or up the front of the cake to create a pretty wash of blooms. All of your stems will be sealed in by the florists tape, making this a super safe way to decorate your cake.
Plastic Flower Picks:
- Wash flowers as above. Cut any excess foliage from your flowers and trim to the same length as your flower picks. These are very reasonably priced, come in various different widths and are available from cake shops and on the internet.
- Insert the thickest flower stem into the pick first. If you are using multiple stems, secure them together with a little floristry tape before putting in the pick.
- Gently push the flower filled pick into your cake. Do not worry about the holes left by the picks: these are minimal and won’t be noticed once the cake is cut. This is the best method if you want a buoyant cake with plenty of flowers running down the front.
Safety Seal Wax:
- Safety Seal is a fabulous new product that makes your stems food safe. Give your flowers a rinse in cold water and check for any bugs before cutting the stems to the desired length.
- Heat the tub of Safety Seal in your microwave according to the manufacturers instructions. Once melted, dip each stem one at a time and place on a piece of greaseproof paper to set. Each stem should be coated in a layer of creamy coloured wax and will dry within seconds.
- Place your flowers on your cake or insert gently, ensuring that only the part of the stem coated in safety seal goes into the cake. Safety Seal can be bought online and is a great alternative to cake picks.
It is important with all methods that you leave the preparation of your flowers as late as possible. Always check online to see if your flowers will hold all day, as some varieties will lose shape and wilt, especially during the summer months. Have fun with this and remember that a bit of gypsophila will cover a multitude of sins should anything go wrong! Start small and build up until you reach the desired effect, however, you really cannot go wrong with fresh flowers.