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:
- 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!
- 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.
- 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 name||Flavor||Color||Common name|
|Althaea||Vegetal||White, pink, red||Marshmallow plant|
|Antirrhinum majus||Bitter||Wide range||Snapdragon|
|Bellis perennis||Mildly bitter||White||Daisy|
|Brassica oleracea||Spicy||Green||Cabbage, etc.|
|Calendula officinalis||Slightly bitter||Yellow, orange||Marigold|
|Centaurea cyanus||Vegetal||White, pink, blue||Cornflower|
|Cucurbita pepo||Vegetal||Yellow||Squash, etc.|
|Cymbopetalum penduliflorum||Spicy||White||Sacred earflower|
|Dianthus||Sweet clove||Wide range||Carnation|
|Foeniculum vulgare||Mildly anise||Yellow-green||Fennel|
|Galium odoratum||Sweet, nutty, vanilla||White||Woodruff, etc.|
|Hemerocallis||Vegetal, sweet||Wide range||Daylily|
|Hibiscus rosa-sinensis||Cranberry-like||Rose, red||Chinese hibiscus|
|Lavandula||Sweet, perfumed||Lavender||Lavender, etc.|
|Lonicera japonica||Sweet||White to pale yellow||Japanese honeysuckle|
|Malus||Floral||White to pink||Apple, etc.|
|Matricaria recutita||Sweet apple||White||Camomile|
|Monarda didyma||Minty, sweet, hot||Wide range||Bergamot, etc.|
|Ocimum basilicum||Herbal||White, lavender||Basil|
|Phaseolus vulgaris||Vegetal||Purple||Common bean|
|Salvia elegans||Sweet, fruity||Red||Pineapple sage|
|Salvia officinalis||Herbal||Purple-blue||Common sage|
|Sambucus canadensis||Sweet||White||American elderberry|
|Tagetes patula||Bitter||Yellow, orange||French marigold|
|Tagetes tenuifolia||Spicy, herbal||Yellow||French marigold|
|Taraxacum officinale||Sweet, honey-like||Yellow||Common dandelion|
|Trifolium pratense||Sweet||Red||Red clover|
|Tropaeolum majus||Spicy, peppery||Wide range||Garden Nasturtium, Indian cress, monks cress.|
|Viola odorata||Sweet, perfumed||Purple, white||Common violet|
|Viola tricolor||Wintergreen||Purple and yellow||Heart’s ease, etc.|
|Viola × wittrockiana||Vegetal||Wide range||Pansy|
The list may have been updated since this blog post. Here is the link for the source.
List of Poisonous Flowers from Wikipedia:
- Blue cohosh
- Calla lily
- Century plant
- Crown vetch
- Duranta erecta
- Gloriosa lily
- Horse nettle
- Lily of the Valley
- Lycoris radiata
- Lords and ladies
- Mountain laurel
- Poison hemlock
- Scotch broom
- Yellow bell
- Yellow jessamine