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 name Flavor Color Common name
Abelmoschus esculentus Vegetal Medium-yellow Okra
Allium schoenoprasum Onion Lavender-pink Chives
Althaea Vegetal White, pink, red Marshmallow plant
Anethum graveolens Herbal Yellowish-green Dill
Antirrhinum majus Bitter Wide range Snapdragon
Anthriscus cerefolium Herbal White Chervil
Asparagus officinalis Vegetal Green Asparagus
Bellis perennis Mildly bitter White Daisy
Borago officinalis Anise Lilac Starflower[1]
Brassica oleracea Spicy Green Cabbage, etc.
Calendula officinalis Slightly bitter Yellow, orange Marigold
Centaurea cyanus Vegetal White, pink, blue Cornflower
Chrysanthemum Strong Wide range Chrysanthemum
Cichorium intybus Herbal Blue Chicory
Cucurbita pepo Vegetal Yellow Squash, etc.[2]
Cymbopetalum costaricense[3][4] Spicy White  
Cymbopetalum penduliflorum Spicy White Sacred earflower[3][4]
Dianthus Sweet clove Wide range Carnation
Eruca sativa Spicy White Arugula
Foeniculum vulgare Mildly anise Yellow-green Fennel
Galium odoratum Sweet, nutty, vanilla White Woodruff, etc.
Helianthus annuus Varies Yellow Sunflower
Hemerocallis Vegetal, sweet Wide range Daylily[5]
Hibiscus rosa-sinensis Cranberry-like Rose, red Chinese hibiscus
Lavandula Sweet, perfumed Lavender Lavender, etc.
Levisticum officinale Celery White Lovage
Lonicera japonica Sweet White to pale yellow Japanese honeysuckle
Malus Floral White to pink Apple, etc.
Matricaria recutita Sweet apple White Camomile
Mentha Minty Purple Mint, etc.
Monarda didyma Minty, sweet, hot Wide range Bergamot, etc.
Ocimum basilicum Herbal White, lavender Basil
Passiflora Vegetal Purple Passion flower
Pelargonium Varies Wide range Geranium
Phaseolus vulgaris Vegetal Purple Common bean
Phalaenopsis Watery Varies Moth Orchid
Rosa Perfumed Wide range Rose
Rosmarinus officinalis Herbal Blue Rosemary
Salvia elegans Sweet, fruity Red Pineapple sage
Salvia officinalis Herbal Purple-blue Common sage
Sambucus canadensis Sweet White American elderberry
Syringa vulgaris Varies Lavender Lilac
Tagetes patula Bitter Yellow, orange French marigold
Tagetes tenuifolia Spicy, herbal Yellow French marigold
Taraxacum officinale Sweet, honey-like Yellow Common dandelion
Thymus Herbal White Thyme
Tilia Honey-like White Linden, etc.
Trifolium pratense Sweet Red Red clover
Tropaeolum majus Spicy, peppery Wide range Garden Nasturtium, Indian cress, monks cress.
Tulipa Vegetal Wide range Tulip
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.