You’ve all seen stunning professional cakes decorated with edible flowers.
Using flowers is an effortless and beautiful way to decorate cakes at home, too. You can hide frosting flaws with beautiful blooms and add loads of color to your creations without ever using food coloring!
As you’ll see below, you’ll learn everything you need to know about choosing and using edible flowers for cakes, as well as different dishes and uses for these edible flowers.
Choosing Edible Flowers For Cakes
Edible flowers for cakes have become very popular recently, and with good reason: edible flowers are a fun and straightforward way to prepare any dish beautifully.
Before you go throwing piles of flowers haphazardly onto your food, there are a few things to note:
First, not all flowers are edible. Some are poisonous.
Many flowers grown commercially contain fertilizers and pesticides. Therefore, it is crucial to check with your florist where they source their flowers and their cultivation conditions.
It is not wise to pick blooms grown on the side of the road. Not only do they grow in the presence of all those yucky car fumes, but you never know what the local council sprays on them.
Always wash flowers before you use them for food decoration–you don’t want to make your guests sick.
The following flowers are edible:
Cornflower (Bachelor’s Button)
A Note On Taste
Although the blossoms from these plants are suitable for use as edible flowers on cakes, this does not always imply that they are delicious. Herbal flowers, violets, nasturtiums, and roses generally have some of the most excellent flavors, while many are not as tasty as they look.
Preparing Edible Flowers
It would be best to prepare edible flowers before placing them on cakes, which requires that you wash and trim them.
Washing the Flowers
You can wash flowers in one of two ways, depending on the size and number of flowers you are using. First, bathe the tiny, delicate flowers in a bowl of water before drying them on kitchen paper (paper towels).
Shower them with water if the flowers are large. Hold them by the stems under a fine mist of water, then gently shake them and dry them on a cooling rack or kitchen paper.
Edible Flower Food Safety
Before serving, it is common practice to remove the pistil and stamen from flowers. Because some people are allergic to pollen, this is necessary to prevent harm. The flower’s stalk is also a source of concern.
Because the sap on flower stems can be irritating or dangerous, some people recommend wrapping them in floral tape, but this depends entirely on the flower. If sap (especially milky sap) comes out when you cut the stem, you should wrap it up with aluminum foil to prevent the sap from leaking onto the cake.
How Do You Use Edible Flowers To Decorate Cakes?
Some flowers, such as violets, borage, and pansies, are tiny. These are edible flowers that you can pop in your mouth if they look too compelling to waste.
If you wash them, don’t be scared to put these petite floral beauties on your food.
People are unlikely to consume larger flowers such as roses, camellias, and carnations (unless you’re dining with a goat). But they make a nice garnish to place on the side of your plate while you delicately place the last delicious piece of cake in your mouth.
When it comes to adorning cakes with enormous fresh flowers, there are several options:
To avoid coming into direct contact with the cake, place the flower stem inside a lollypop stick and pierce it into the cake.
You can use floral wire and floral tape to attach edible flowers to cakes. First, cut your flower stem to about 12 inches in length, and then poke a 4-inch piece of florist wire into it until it reaches the point where the flower attaches to the stem. Then, wrap the floral tape around the wire after folding it in half. Your flower is now ready to decorate the cake. Never poke florist wire into a cake directly. If you leave the wire in the cake for too long, it can begin to rust, which is a health hazard.
If you’re going to use a large bouquet on your cake, start by placing a layer of parchment over the area where you wish to position the flowers. Then go ahead and arrange your flowers. If you want to add a few flowers to your food, do so right before serving, so they don’t wilt.
Other Uses For Edible Flowers
Edible flowers aren’t just for cakes! So let’s look at the many other uses of these edible flowers for cakes.
1. Begonia Tuberous begonia (Begonia x tuberose)
The stems, flowers, and leaves are all edible.
The taste of begonia blooms is citrusy and tart. You can also use these petals as a garnish for food or add them to salads.
2. Rhubarb stems
You can also use rhubarb as an edible food decoration.
However, anyone who suffers from gout, kidney stones, and rheumatism should avoid the blooms and stems of this plant since it contains oxalic acid.
3. Wax begonia(begonia cucullata)
Raw or cooked, the fleshy leaves and petals are delicious. However, they can have a slightly bitter aftertaste and, if kept in water for most of the time, a swampy flavor.
4. Borage (Borago officinalis)
Boragehas lovely cornflower blue star-shaped flowers.
The blossoms and leaves have a fantastic, faint cucumber taste. This edible plant for cakes is also wonderful to use in punches, lemonade, gin and tonics, sorbets, chilled soups, cheese tortas, and dips.
Carnations are popular to use as cake decorations or soaked in wine. Cut the flower’s pleasantly sweet petals away from the bitter white base to use in desserts.
Dianthus is a minor member of the carnation family with a faint clove or nutmeg fragrance.
Salads and aspics benefit from adding petals from this flower, greatly enhancing the taste and aroma of many food dishes. Since the 17th century, carnation petals have been one of the secret ingredients in chartreuse, for example.
6. Chrysanthemums (Chrysanthemum coronarium)
Chrysanthemums are tangy and slightly bitter, with colors ranging from red to white to yellow and orange. They have a variety of flavors, from a subtle peppery flavor to a mild cauliflower flavor.
You should blanch them first and scatter the petals over salads. Many homemakers and chefs flavor vinegar with the leaves of this flower, which is excellent as part of a salad dressing.
Remove the bitter flower base and only use the petals. Crown the chrysanthemum young leaves and stems. These flowers are known in Japan as chop suey greens or Shinjuku and are commonly used in oriental stir-fries and salad flavoring.
Use the waxy petals with their pungent smell sparingly. Middle Eastern desserts and beverages often contain distilled orange blossom water. They also use the lemon blossoms with their pleasantly citrus flavor for the same purpose.
8. Clover (Trifolium species)
Clover has a licorice flavor that is sweet and anise-like. Gout, rheumatism, and leucorrhea were all treated with white and red clover blooms in folk medicine. Drinking clover blossom tea also improves the smoothness of one’s fingernails and toenails.
You can use whole clover plants in salads and white clover leaf tea as cough and cold treatments. Discard browning flowers as these are bitter.
Instead, choose the ones with the brightest colors as they are the tastiest. Note, though, that it can be difficult to stomach the taste of the raw flower heads.
9. Cornflower (Centaurea cynaus)
Bachelor’s button is another name for the cornflower. They have a clove-like flavor that ranges from somewhat sweet to peppery. The flower is used to make food coloring, which you can also use as a garnish.
10. Dandelions (taraxacum Officinalis)
Dandelions are a flowering plant that belongs to the daisy family. When flowers are chosen young, they are the most fragrant. In addition, they have a honey-like sweetness to them.
The mature blossoms have a harsh taste. Dandelion buds are also more delicious than the flowers. Select them when they’re close to the ground, densely bunched in the center, and the size of a small gumball.
You can eat these flowers raw or steamed to make any dish tastier. You can also make wine from dandelions. Cook these flowers or add them to salads, as the young leaves are delicious. Another use for dandelion petals is like confetti over rice for plating rice dishes.
11. Fuchsia (fuchsia x hybrida)
Fuchsias have asomewhat acidic flavor. However, they are perfect as a garnish because of their vibrant colors and graceful shapes. Of course, you can eat the berries as well.
12. Gladiolus (Gladiolus spp)
Use these flowers without the anthers, which have a bland flavor (reminds me of lettuce). Still, they make excellent receptacles for sweet or savory spreads or mousses. You can make salads by adding the individual petals of this plant and prepare these in the same way as a day lily.
13. Hibiscus (hibiscus rosa-Sinensis)
Hibiscus contains citrus notes with a cranberry-like flavor. Use the somewhat acidic petals sparingly in salads as they have a sour taste. You can also use the dried flowers to make a unique tea.
14. Lavender (Lavandula Angustifolia)
Lemon and citrus notes are present in the sweet floral flavor of lavender plants. The flowers are lovely in a glass of champagne, with chocolate cake, or as a garnish for sorbets or ice creams.
From substantial stews to wine-reduced sauces, lavender lends itself to savory recipes as well. Custards, flans, and sorbets with tiny blossoms have a strange smell when adding lavender blooms.
Note: Do not ingest lavender oil unless you are sure it has not been sprayed with chemicals. Otherwise, it is okay to use this plant for consumption.
15. Lilac (Syringa Vulgaris)
Lilacs have a distinct flavor that differs from plant to plant. They are aromatic, with a hint of bitterness. They also contain a citrus flavor with flowery, peppery undertones. Lilac flowers are great in salads and crystallized with sugar and egg whites for cake decorations.
16. Marigold (tagetes tenuifolia – aka t. Signata)
You can use the marigold as a saffron alternative. Because they have a citrus flavor, they’re also fantastic in salads.
17. Nasturtiums (Tropaeolum majus)
Nasturtiums come in various shapes and sizes, from trailing to erect, with vibrant sunset colors and peppery flavors. Nasturtiums are one of the most popular food flowers.
These blossoms have a similar sweet-spicy taste to watercress. Most people serve a savory mousse in the intact flowers.
Salads benefit from the peppery flavor of nasturtium leaves. You can replace capers with the pickled seed pods of these blooms, which is a less expensive option.
Likewise, you can also garnish platters, salads, cheese tortas, open-faced sandwiches, and savory appetizers with the whole flowers.
18. Pansy (Viola x wittrockiana)
The flavor of pansies is slightly sweet and grassy. The taste is exceptionally mild if you only eat the petals, but there is a winter, green overtone if you consume the entire flower. You can also use pansies as garnishes in fruit salads, green salads, desserts, or soups.
19. Peony (Paeonia lactiflora)
Peonies are a teatime delicacy in China, where the falling petals are parboiled and sweetened as teatime treats.
In addition, people used to drink peony water during the middle ages, which continues today. The petals of this flower are also excellent for use in salads or as garnishes in punches and lemonades.
20. Primrose (Primula Vulgaris)
Many people know the primrose as the cowslip. Although this flower is brightly colored, it has a sweet yet unappealing flavor.
If you’re brave, add the blossom buds to salads, pickle them, boil them as vegetables, or ferment them as part of winemaking.
21. Roses (Rosa rugosa or r. Gallica officinalis)
The type, color, and soil conditions of roses influence their flavor, but strawberry and green apple flavors come to mind when thinking about these flowers as edible food.
They are sweet, with notes of fruit, mint, and spice, and all roses are edible, though the darker kinds have a more robust flavor.
You can use small varieties to decorate ice cream and sweets, while you can scatter larger petals on salads or desserts.
Make ice cubes out of them and float them in punches. Syrups, jellies, fragrant butter, and sweet spreads are ideal candidates for rose petals. Please note that you must remove the bitter white portions of the petals before serving them as edible flowers for cakes or other dishes.
22. Snapdragon (antirrhinum majus)
The delicate garden variety snapdragon can range from bland to harsh in flavor. Type, color, and soil conditions determine the taste of this plant, and although edible, this bloom is probably not the greatest to consume.
23. Thyme (Thymus spp.)
Thyme leaves have a mild flavor and add an interesting addition as edible flowers for cakes. You can use the sprigs as a garnish or remove the blooms and sprinkle them over soups and other dishes. Wherever you use herbs, you can also use thyme.
24. Johnny-jump-ups (Viola tricolor)
The mild wintergreen flavor of these attractive yellow, white, and purple blossoms makes them suitable for use in salads, dessert garnishes, or as complements with soft cheese. They’re also delicious in drinks, soups, desserts, and salads.
25. Violets (Viola species)
Violets are sweet and fragrant, making them delightful edible flowers for cakes. Moreover, flowers like Johnny jump-ups or violas and pansies are now available in vibrant purples and yellows, as well as apricot and pastel hues.
Adding the soft greens and blossoms to salads is a favorite flavor enhancer. Violets further add a touch of elegance to sweets and frozen drinks.
To thrill both children and adults, freeze them in blows.
All these flowers look lovely on frosted cakes, sorbets, and other desserts, and you can also crystallize them. The edible heart-shaped leaves are delicious when cooked like spinach.
Edible flowers for cakes
That concludes our dialogue on edible flowers for cakes, which, as you now know, are suitable for use with other dishes and beverages.
Test the taste of the flower before adding them to your food, as they are not always as palatable as they appear.
Tyler C Rich is the founder and chief editor at TopsyGardening.com. An experienced gardener and a professionally trained agriculture development expert, Rich has worked in the gardening and landscaping industry for more than a few decades. Although he has retired, his spark for developing the best urban and indoor gardens has not faded a bit. He uses TopsyGardening.com as a platform to come across enthusiastic gardeners and share the unique insights he has acquired through years of experience. Rich is interested in aquaponics and technology apart from conventional gardening techniques.