wedding cakes with flowers

Many many couples have asked for advice on whether to have fresh or sugar flowers on their wedding cake. The answer is convelluted. There aren’t very many prettier things than fresh flowers for a cake, though there are many ways to achieve it incorrectly. You really do not want to give your closest friends and family gastroenteritis or worse, cancer.

Here are some considerations and cautions for a safe and beautiful cake:

  1. Pesticides: The pesticide doses and types used to grow flowers are not the same as vegetable pesticides, and in some cases cause cancer when ingested. Flowers are not grown with the consideration of human consumption. Therefore, we recommend that the flowers being used for cake decoration be doused with something like a “FIT” Fruit Spray, then submerged in cool water for 30 minutes. The submersion allows for the dessolution of the chemicals as well as gets any little bugs living down in the petals to come out. We don’t need any little friends crawling around the cake!
  2. Toxicity: Some flowers can be eaten in their entierety, such as daisies, pansies, and roses. However, there are many varieties of flowers that we see on cakes frequently that are actually toxic, such as calla lillies and dahlias. In these cases, we would recommend flowers made from sugar, and there are so many beautiful and gorgeous examples on our website.
  3. Arrangement: Many people did not know that it is actually against health code to stick a raw stem of a flower into the cake, unless the flowers are completely edible. It is much better to use a floral spike or tape as a barrier, or place a dollup of icing on the cake to stick the stem into. When the flowers are removed, the dollup can be scraped off and discarded so that the fluids from the stem do not leach out into the sponge of the cake. 

I once delivered a cake and came back to take a picture. I noticed that the cake had 3 varieties of toxic flowers. I pointed it out, and the florist said,”I have been doing this for years and no one has complained! The bride asked for these flowers, and that is what she will have.” Eesh, I guess when the guests get ill, they’d blame the caterer and not the florist… So, I gave the caterer a heads up.

The point is that you should do your reasearch about the florals you would like on your cake, or consult a professional. Ensure that whoever arranges your flowers is knowledgeable about safety, or just go with sugar flowers if you just want to be safe. 

List of Edible Flowers from Wikipedia:

This is a list of edible flowers.

Scientific nameFlavorColorCommon name
Abelmoschus esculentusVegetalMedium-yellowOkra
Allium schoenoprasumOnionLavender-pinkChives
AlthaeaVegetalWhite, pink, redMarshmallow plant
Anethum graveolensHerbalYellowish-greenDill
Antirrhinum majusBitterWide rangeSnapdragon
Anthriscus cerefoliumHerbalWhiteChervil
Asparagus officinalisVegetalGreenAsparagus
Bellis perennisMildly bitterWhiteDaisy
Borago officinalisAniseLilacStarflower[1]
Brassica oleraceaSpicyGreenCabbage, etc.
Calendula officinalisSlightly bitterYellow, orangeMarigold
Centaurea cyanusVegetalWhite, pink, blueCornflower
ChrysanthemumStrongWide rangeChrysanthemum
Cichorium intybusHerbalBlueChicory
Cucurbita pepoVegetalYellowSquash, etc.[2]
Cymbopetalum costaricense[3][4]SpicyWhite 
Cymbopetalum penduliflorumSpicyWhiteSacred earflower[3][4]
DianthusSweet cloveWide rangeCarnation
Eruca sativaSpicyWhiteArugula
Foeniculum vulgareMildly aniseYellow-greenFennel
Galium odoratumSweet, nutty, vanillaWhiteWoodruff, etc.
Helianthus annuusVariesYellowSunflower
HemerocallisVegetal, sweetWide rangeDaylily[5]
Hibiscus rosa-sinensisCranberry-likeRose, redChinese hibiscus
LavandulaSweet, perfumedLavenderLavender, etc.
Levisticum officinaleCeleryWhiteLovage
Lonicera japonicaSweetWhite to pale yellowJapanese honeysuckle
MalusFloralWhite to pinkApple, etc.
Matricaria recutitaSweet appleWhiteCamomile
MenthaMintyPurpleMint, etc.
Monarda didymaMinty, sweet, hotWide rangeBergamot, etc.
Ocimum basilicumHerbalWhite, lavenderBasil
PassifloraVegetalPurplePassion flower
PelargoniumVariesWide rangeGeranium
Phaseolus vulgarisVegetalPurpleCommon bean
PhalaenopsisWateryVariesMoth Orchid
RosaPerfumedWide rangeRose
Rosmarinus officinalisHerbalBlueRosemary
Salvia elegansSweet, fruityRedPineapple sage
Salvia officinalisHerbalPurple-blueCommon sage
Sambucus canadensisSweetWhiteAmerican elderberry
Syringa vulgarisVariesLavenderLilac
Tagetes patulaBitterYellow, orangeFrench marigold
Tagetes tenuifoliaSpicy, herbalYellowFrench marigold
Taraxacum officinaleSweet, honey-likeYellowCommon dandelion
ThymusHerbalWhiteThyme
TiliaHoney-likeWhiteLinden, etc.
Trifolium pratenseSweetRedRed clover
Tropaeolum majusSpicy, pepperyWide rangeGarden Nasturtium, Indian cress, monks cress.
TulipaVegetalWide rangeTulip
Viola odorataSweet, perfumedPurple, whiteCommon violet
Viola tricolorWintergreenPurple and yellowHeart’s ease, etc.
Viola × wittrockianaVegetalWide rangePansy

The list may have been updated since this blog post. Here is the link for the source.