Budding bakers are using flower power to create cakes that look as good as they taste.
Spring is in the air and adding a little flower power to cakes and cupcakes is the perfect way to celebrate the season.
Edible flowers are an easy way to add beauty and flair to any dessert. Scroll through any baking board on Pinterest and pictures abound of cakes in bloom with spectacular flower decorations. At We Take The Cake, our pink rose chocolate layer cake is a best-selling way for customers to brighten the day of someone they love.
Our talented cake artists carefully craft each of our intricate designs by hand to ensure that our desserts look as good as they taste. But even budding bakers can create beautiful floral decorations from an array of tasty materials, from chocolate to gumdrops to real flowers from your garden. Read on as we share some simple ways to create a bouquet of edible flowers that are guaranteed to make happiness bloom in the bellies of your guests.
1. Everything is better with chocolate. Modeling chocolate is one of the simplest – and tastiest – ways to make flowers for cakes. Unlike fondant, which can be stubbornly chunky, modeling chocolate is easy to make as thin as real flower petals. You don’t really need any special tools or cutters – you can just work it in your hands until it becomes flexible, and then let your imagination take over. If the chocolate gets too warm and melty from your touch, put it in the fridge briefly to firm up. You can also follow these directions for simple flower decorations:
- Roll the chocolate out. It can tear easily, so it’s wise to dust your hands and work surfaces with cornstarch to stop it from sticking.
- Use cutters to punch out flower shapes. If the chocolate sticks in the cutter, gently press the center with a round tool, like the back end of a paintbrush.
- Rub a cake decorator’s double-ended ball tool in a circular motion over the petals to thin them out and make them curl slightly inwards. Finally, press the ball tool into the center of the flower and rub again in a circle, so it assumes a concave shape as if it’s budding.
- It’s best to store the flowers in something small and curved, like silicone molds, so they dry in the curved shape. They can also dry on parchment paper, but they won’t stay as curled.
- After the flowers set for an hour, they can be “glued” to your cake with a dot of frosting. Try to work quickly because chocolate flowers will melt if handled too much. Once all the flowers are in place, pipe a small dot of frosting into the center of each one to complete your design. For extra flair, add some sparkle with edible gold dust.
2. Not just a pipe dream. Piping can be intimidating to beginners – it takes planning, practice, and patience to get it right. Follow these steps to make sure your decorations come up smelling – or in this case looking – like roses:
- Cut the tip of your piping bag so that only your piping tip can poke through. Different size tips can be used, depending upon the size of the rose you want.
- Fill the bag with buttercream frosting. Without letting any come out the tip, squeeze the icing down to remove any air bubbles as if you’re trying to get the last bit of toothpaste out of a tube. The consistency of the frosting is key to successful piping!
- Roll the top of the bag closed. You can also twist it, but we find it’s hard to keep the icing from coming out the top when you seal it that way.
- Make a little Hershey kiss-like dab in the center of the spot you want your rose to go. Bring the icing up and over the dab, and then swirl it around the dab a few times until your rose is complete. Release pressure on the bag toward the end and use a toothpick to gently attach the last bit to the side of your flower if it sticks out when you pull away.
3. Do drop in. Shaping edible roses out of gumdrops is an easy yet surprisingly elegant way to decorate a cake. Try this trick from the queen of DIY, Martha Stewart:
- Lightly dust a work surface with granulated sugar. Take three gumdrops of the same color and flatten them slightly with your thumb. Roll them out until they are about 1/8-inch thick. Sprinkle with more sugar if they stick.
- Use a paring knife to cut each flattened gumdrop in half so that you wind up with six equal pieces.
- Using your fingers, take a half and roll it into a cylinder, pinching at one end. This will form the center of the flower.
- Use your fingers to press the edges of the other pieces so that they become thinner and easier to attach. Then wrap each piece around the centerpiece, overlapping slightly and pinching at the base so they all stick together.
- Bend some of the petals back to make your creation resemble a rose.
- Use the paring knife to trim the bottom of your rose, forming a flat base that will allow it to sit up on your cake. Arrange on top of a frosted cake. You can also shape green gumdrops with your paring knife to create leaves for your rose.
4. Fun with fondant. Fondant flowers are a popular way for amateur bakers to add a creative touch to cakes for any occasion, from birthday bashes to weddings.
- Dust your work surface and your hands with cornstarch and roll out the fondant. If the fondant is too hard, place it in the microwave for about 10 seconds until it softens. If it’s dry, knead it with your hands. Try to work quickly – fondant dries fast! Cover parts you aren’t using with nylon to keep it from drying out.
- Use flower-shaped cutters to punch out small and large flower shapes. Then use a skewer – and your imagination – to carve pretty details into the petals of large flowers, or a toothpick to decorate smaller ones.
- Let your flowers dry in a small curved bowl such as a clean egg container to give them a concave shape.
- Being careful not to over-moisten, use water to glue each small flower on top of a larger one to create a multi-layer effect. Glue the finished flowers with water onto your cake.
5. A rose by any other name won’t smell as sweet. Flowers don’t need to be fashioned from sugary materials to decorate a cake. One of the hottest trends in cake decorating is using real fresh flowers that are safe to eat to add a beautiful, vibrant quality to any dessert. Of course, before you start tossing flowers onto your plate, there are a few rules to remember. Not all flowers are edible – in fact, some are poisonous – and many are sprayed with pesticides and fertilizers. Be sure to check where your flowers are sourced and what conditions they were grown in before you eat them. And even when you are sure they are safe, make sure you wash them!
- Flowers from herbs, violets, nasturtiums, and roses offer the best flavors. You can also create candied flowers by brushing fresh or pressed flowers with egg whites or moistened meringue powder, and then sprinkling with confectioners’ or decorating sugar. It is generally recommended to remove the pistil and stamen before serving since many people are allergic to pollen. You should also wrap the stems in floral tape if you leave them for attachment purposes because the sap inside can be irritating or even poisonous. Make sure your guests know not to eat that part!
- There are several ways to add fresh flowers to cakes. Edible petals can be put right on the cake, or you can insert the stems into lollipop sticks and poke those into the cake in whatever pattern you choose – this way, the stems don’t come in direct contact with your food. You can also place a sheet of parchment across the top of your cake and load a beautiful pile of flowers on top, so they don’t sink into the frosting. Creative chefs are using fresh flowers to separate cake tiers – artfully hiding dividers and giving your cake a light, gravity-defying look. No matter what method you choose, it’s important to wait to pop your flowers onto the cake just before serving, so they don’t wilt.
Edible flowers are an easy way for budding bakers to create beautiful cakes. At We Take The Cake, we know the presentation of a dessert matter as much as the taste. For over 20 years, our professional decorators have beautifully crafted each of our cakes by hand using only the finest ingredients. We take pride in going the extra mile to deliver that wow factor that makes our customers proud they chose us to create the gift that keeps people talking long after their celebration is over.
At We Take The Cake, we understand the personal touch. When you can’t be there to celebrate in person, we make it easy to delight your family, friends, and colleagues with our made-from-scratch cakes. We are proud to include among our customer’s nationally recognized caterers, party planners, private clubs, world-famous hotels, and exclusive resorts. We also have exclusive cake designs available through Williams Sonoma, Neiman Marcus, and FoodyDirect. If you’d like to know everything we can offer, drop by our contact page and get in touch!