Flowers abound in the South in spring and summertime, and they always seem to make everything more beautiful. So why not add them to your desserts? Don’t let this fabulous flora and fauna intimidate you – you can decorate desserts with flowers right at home. Cakes of all kinds can be decorated with edible flowers for celebrations including birthdays, anniversaries, and baby and bridal showers. Cupcakes, pies, tarts and truffles can also be decorated with flowers.
Selecting the right flowers
The first thing to do when decorating with fresh flowers is to select the right kind. Whether decorating cakes, cupcakes or pies, be sure to use flowers that are edible even if you don’t plan to eat them. Some of our favorites include lavender, orchids, roses, daisies chrysanthemums, gladiolas, jasmine, lilacs and violets. You can get more details about edible flowers at About.com.
Sturdy flowers that will keep their shape and won’t wither without water like chrysanthemums are ideal for decorating desserts. According to our very own pastry Chef Eddy Van Damme, specialty supermarkets such as Central Market and Whole Foods often carry edible flowers in the fruit and vegetable section. Chef Eddy’s favorite blooms to work with are roses and orchids. “They are classic yet modern, elegant and stylish,” he said.
How to place them
When using the entire flower, just insert the stem of an edible flower into the dessert. For non-edible flowers, apply a bit of fondant or frosting to the spot you want to put the flower, then adhere the stem to it. You can also use a stem holder with a floral water tube which can be purchased at a bakery decorating supply store or florist. In a pinch? Fashion your own out of a drinking straw.
Flowers can be used to decorate the entire dessert or can serve as accents placed sporadically here and there. When decorating a multi-tiered cake, do not make the top too heavy with flowers. “Less is more,” said Chef Eddy. Greenery also looks pretty when placed along with blossoms and gives your dessert a natural look.
You can use all white flowers or choose blooms with colors that coordinate with your special event. Chef Eddy loves working with white orchids and white or pink roses. Keep it simple and elegant by selecting only one or two colors to decorate a dessert…three at the most. “When I want to use pink ribbon and raspberries to decorate a cake, then I select a medley of roses with pink hues,” Chef Eddy said. “If I make a cake with white chocolate curls, white frosting and white ribbon, white orchids are a stunning addition. Just be careful when working with red flowers,” he warns. “Deep red flowers can make a cake look inelegant.”
Don’t want to use the entire flower? Flower petals sprinkled on top of a cake or cupcake look nice as well. Use petals as a garnish before serving a single slice to your guests.
If you want to decorate with real petals that you will eat, sweeten the deal and make a batch of sugared flowers. These dainty blossoms have a fine sugar coating which makes them sparkle and taste sweet.
You can also decorate desserts with flowers made of frosting or fondant. Chef Eddy loves making cabbage-style fondant roses. “This is one of the easiest techniques and the results are lovely,” he said. You can also watch a video tutorial to learn how to make fondant.
What is your favorite way to decorate desserts with flowers?