We've all seen them, the Instagram pictures of cakes covered in fresh flowers, the Pinterest boards full of floral inspiration for your wedding cake, the wedding blogs featuring rustic semi-naked cakes looking like they have been decorated with flowers picked fresh from the garden that morning.
The problem is, just how much of this is real? Just how safe is it to recreate those inspiration images for your wedding?
Whilst some of the flowers are probably perfectly fine to have on your cake, some of them most certainly are not.
Now don't get me wrong, I don't have an issue with decorating cakes with fresh flowers, they can make a stunning addition to a cake and can add another dimension in both taste and scent.
But only when they are organic and edible.
There are companies out there that specialise in just that, organic, edible flowers and foliage that are lovingly grown and hand picked purely for the purpose of decorating your food. The cake pictured below was decorated with organic, edible roses from Maddocks Farm Organics and wafer paper daisies, both of which are entirely safe to have in contact with your cake.
Unfortunately, not every cake that is decorated with fresh flowers would actually be considered safe to eat afterwards!
There are ways round it of course, if the flowers only come into contact with a cake dummy and will be at no risk of falling onto any other food, if the flowers are separated from the cake with a non porous, food safe material or perhaps just using the fresh flowers around the base of the cake so there will be no contact between them at all.
Not the easiest things to do when you are trying to make the cake look beautiful and natural and not quite the cascade of tumbling flowers that you may envisage!
The truth of the matter is that many of those images that you see online are just not possible.
You cannot always have your cake and eat it!
The cake decorated with copious amounts of eucalyptus foliage? Nope.
The cake with delicate baby's breath? Still nope.
The cake with huge, statement hydrangea blooms? Definitely not.
The cake with delphinium flowers tucked in amongst the roses? Absolutely not.
Each one of those is toxic in varying degrees and when consumed in varying quantities, causing anything from skin irritation to nausea, intense vomiting even respiratory paralysis.
Whilst respiratory paralysis may be at the extreme end of the scale and some of those flowers and foliage may be safe to handle, it does not mean that you can just pop them on a wedding cake for a few hours and assume that it will be ok.
As a professional cake maker it is up to me to ensure that the wedding cake I deliver and decorate meets all of the Food Standards Agency requirements.
It is my duty to provide a cake that is not only beautiful to look at but also safe for everyone to eat.
My next post will examine what factors have to be considered when using fresh flowers, what other commonly used wedding flowers are considered toxic and why I have chosen not to use fresh flowers to decorate cakes.