Tips for flowers on cakes

There is a great fashion for putting fresh flowers on cakes.  And what an attractive fashion it is!

However, there are a few things to think about before arranging flowers directly on cakes which you're going to eat.

  • Make sure the flowers are edible.  If I see one more picture of larkspur or delphiniums with their stems pushed into cakes I'll have a fit!  Sooner or later someone's going to be really ill from eating something seriously inedible.  Off the top of my head I can list larkspur, delphinium, sweet peas and monks hood, daffodils, buttercup, hyacinth and foxglove as flowers never to have any where near a cake.  This list is but the tip of the poisonous flower compost heap.  So if you want to dress your cake with flowers please make sure the flowers are edible first.
  • If you're growing flowers you've checked are edible yourself for your cake, then you can be sure they haven't been sprayed with anything which might not suit your digestion.  Flowers bought from florists, supermarkets, flower markets, and so on, are not food grade, and do not have to go through any kind of food safety system before being sold as flowers for decoration, not for eating.  The people selling them do not have to know what these flowers may have been grown in or sprayed with or dunked in head first before you decide you'd like to dress a cake with them.  If you're planning to use flowers on or in anything edible please tell the person you're buying them from, and use you're noodle!  Roses may be edible flowers if they're organically grown and food grade - from the flower market they might be perfect to look at, but are they good to eat?
  • If you can grow your own edible flowers in a safe environment for harvesting them for eating, that's fine.  If you can't, but you're determined to have flowers for your cake, then order them from someone who's growing flowers especially for eating, for example lovely Jan Billington at Maddox Farm Organics in Devon.  They courier edible flowers around the country for all kinds of events, from Bond movie first nights (flowers in the champagne,) to lots and lots and lots of weddings.  
  • We grow lots of edible flowers, but we will never sell you flowers to put directly on your cake, because we also grow inedible flowers, and if one gets mixed up with another, I don't want to be held responsible for someone's bad tummy (or worse!)  For flowers for cakes or champagne we will always refer you to Jan and Maddox Farm Organics.  And we'll happily do the flowers which you don't put in, on or near your cakes.