Can you put fresh flowers on cakes, like roses, peonies, lillies or orchids. Are they poisonous, toxic or safe?
Recently a lot of members in the Cake Business School Facebook group have been asking about fresh flowers.
One person asking, ‘’I’ve got a simple cake or elaborate cake and the client would like me to add real flowers on it. Is there safe real flowers to put on or is any flower ok?’’
If you have never really worked with fresh flowers before and want to make sure you have the right information to talk to your local florist and also your customer.
Fresh flowers are (mostly) not safe for cakes.
A surprising fact is most flowers (especially the most popular for wedding cakes, engagements, etc) are toxic. They contain poisons that can seep or leach into the icing and cake. It can make people sick (really sick) and require emergency room visit.
Below are 6 points on cakes with fresh flowers.
Flowers from the florist are not food safe.
Flowers are not grown with the intent to be eaten or ingested. Or to be placed or inserted into edible things (cake or desserts).
Florists often don’t provide ‘’edible’’ flowers for decoration on cakes. Some flowers are poisonous and some are ‘’edible’. (Read more below but it is important to make the difference.) Here is a list of poisonous flowers on Wikipedia.
Florists do not necessarily have experience with wedding cakes, so don’t assume they do. The food industry (the one cake decorators are in) have food handling requirements plus clean, sanitised work area, benches, equipment. That is usually something we pride ourselves on. Florists do not have the same standard. Because they are not in the food industry.
Some plants are edible and others are non-edible.
Even flowers and plants that are edible, doesn’t mean they should be. The question of contamination from pesticides, toxins and bugs.
While organic edible plants made specifically for decorating cakes are about the only exception to the rule.
(Remember organic doesn’t mean edible, it means pesticide-free.)
Check with your insurance.
Check your business insurance policy on fresh flowers on/in your food.
That would be high priority and the answer to your question. Then specify in your business terms and conditions (T&C’s) and get signed contract, adding the details on ‘who, what, when, where, why, how’ in regards to the handling of flowers.
Add a disclaimer that states that not all flowers are edible, can be poisonous and may have pesticides.
Related article: Caker Debate: Scratch vs. Premix
Putting fresh flowers on cakes, is there a safe way?
It’s not only important to use safe flowers but also as important how you safely prepare the flowers.
Toxic and non-safe flowers cannot touch the cake. The flowers need to prepared properly, be washed, dried, stems wrapped in florist tape and use a tooth pick to insert. There is also a product called ‘safety seal’ that you can dip the stems into to make them food safe.
Pollen from stamens and petals leach toxins so don’t let the flowers and petals touch the cake as they have pesticides. Insert straws into your cake as well and then place the stem inside.
Making a fondant disc and mounting the flower on there, separates the flower from the cake. You can add a ball of fondant to add multiple flowers or sprays.
There are other options!
If fresh flowers are not an option for you, whether insurance wise or personal choice wise, there are loads of other options!
Offer your customer alternative flowers:
• wafer paper
• butter cream
Choose what you specialize in, what you personally rock at, want to be known for and what will give a great cake the customer will love.
Related article: Pros & Cons of a Bricks and Mortar Cake Store
End of the day – should you sell cakes with flowers?
It is your business and your rules.
Make the decision based on research, information, advice. Do your due diligence because it is your business and no one else can make that decision for you.
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Founder – Angel Foods and Cake Business School
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