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How To Use Edible Flowers for Cake Decorating

How To Use Edible Flowers for Cake Decorating

Using edible flowers for cake decorating is fast becoming a very popular technique in cake decorating. Real fresh flowers always brings a smile to anyone who sees them – and this is also true when they are used as edible flower cake decorations. This post will provide you with ideas and inspirations for various ways on how to make your cakes look fabulous by using edible flowers. I’m certain you will find something here that inspires you to create a joyful and exquisite cake.

Using Fresh Edible Flowers for Cake Decorating

When choosing your flowers, there are a few precautions that you need to be aware of:

Flowers must be edible

Not all flowers are edible so make sure the ones you are going to use are. Many of our common garden flowers are edible, so you will probably find that you already grow some in your garden. Take a look at this list of edible flowers, and you may find something you already have in your garden.

Also make sure they have been grown organically and have not been treated with pesticides or fungicides. Most flowers sold at supermarkets and florists have been produced for the vase and not the plate and so will have been treated with chemicals that you wouldn’t want in your body! Avoid them!

Flowers must taste mild

Another thing to be aware of is the taste. Most edible flowers have mild flavors so can be used without affecting the flavor of the cake. But there are some such as alliums, nasturtiums, chives and society garlic that have strong savory flavors and will not do your cakes any favors! Always best to do a taste test before you use it.

Also, in some cases the whole flower will look pretty but isn’t very palatable such as zinnias, carnations, and dahlias. In these cases, you can pull the petals off or leave them whole purely as decoration.

Flowers must be fresh

When using edible flowers for cake decorating, they must be as fresh as possible. Keep the flowers in the fridge until you need to use them. Frost your cake ahead of time, and then decorate with flowers as close as you can to the time of serving. This will ensure that they will look as stunning as they possibly can!

 Do you need to use a barrier?

The barrier method is used to provide protection against any transfer of toxicity from flower to cake. This is not required as you are using edible flowers that have been grown organically.

You can find out more tips on how to use edible flowers for cakes in this link.

Best Edible Flowers for Cake Decorating

How To Use Edible Flowers for Cake Decorating
Image by Flower You Can Eat

So, which are the best edible flowers to use for cake decorating? Well, it’s really up to you and what type of design you want to make on your cake.

Often, it’s a case of what flowers you can source. Because edible flowers need to be grown locally (for freshness) and organically, you will find that availability will depend on the season and that will dictate what kind of design you want.

One of the best edible flower cake decorations are violas or Johnny jump ups. These are probably the most popular of all our edible flowers and because they are small, exquisite, have unique patterns and colors. They also have a very mild flavor. 

Other small flowers that have become favorites are the crucifix orchids (also often known these days as micro-orchids), daisies, sweet alyssum, forget me nots, dianthus, linaria, pentas, lilac and verbena. Miniature roses are also exquisite on cakes or in arrangement with other smaller florets.

Larger flowers can be used as a focal point, whilst smaller ones are used to produce a variety of designs.

Here are a some of the things you need to consider in choosing your edible flowers for cake decorating:

  • Size
  • color
  • texture
  • taste
  •  theme of your celebration cake
  • type of design 

How To Decorate a Cake with Fresh Edible Flowers

There are many ways you can use edible flowers for cake decorating.

There is no right or wrong way here and it is entirely up to your creativity as to what type of look you want.

How to place the flowers on top of a cake

If you are using frosting, butter icing or swiss meringue buttercream on your cake, then your flowers can be placed straight on the icing in the spot where you would like it and the icing will keep the flowers in place. Just make sure that the cake is kept cool or else the flowers might slide as the icing melts! 

If your cake doesn’t have icing, then secure your flowers with a dab of jam.

If you find it a little difficult to work with little flowers, use a pair of tweezers to place the flowers. Or a toothpick to maneuver a bloom into the right position.

Different Ways to Use Edible Flower Cake Decorations

Let’s explore some of the options for decorating your cakes with fresh flowers:

  • Central Spotlight: Create a stunning focal point in the center of the cake, with a large flower and support it with smaller flowers around. Orchids make beautiful center pieces and you can arrange a few leaves and smaller flowers or petals around it. This works well with single tier cakes.
  • Flower Cascades: Let the flowers cascade down the sides of your cake for a soft, whimsical look. Smaller flat flowers work well for this such as violas or begonias. Another idea is to use a spray of honeysuckle or bougainvillea and let it flow over the edge of the cake in a romantic natural way.
  • Floral Framing: Place flowers around the edge of the cake like a wreath. You can start with slightly larger flowers like snapdragons, chrysanthemums, or small dahlias, and fill in the gaps with smaller groups of flowers such as dianthus, starlike pentas.
  • Scattered Petals or Flowerfetti: Some flowers are a little large to use as a cake decoration, or they have bitter tasting calyx or stamens. These flowers have lovely bright coloured petals that work well sprinkled across the cake surface like confetti. Choose highly coloured petals for the best effect such as asters, multicolored chrysanthemums, or cornflowers.
  • All over covering: Use the whole cake surface to make a stunning palette of exquisite flowers. Use a combination of fruit and flowers for an interesting texture and form contrast using strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, finger lime pulp or sliced raw figs. Don’t forget to include the side of the cake for additional floral impact.
  • Foliage: Using some foliage will create a wonderful contrast to your flowers and provide a natural look. Small leaves from the edible flowers work well, such as leaves of the pansy or viola, or verbena leaves.

Remember, the key is to make it look effortlessly beautiful just like nature, so pick a style that fits the occasion and just give it a try!

Other Options for Using Edible Flowers for Cake Decorating

Using Pressed Edible Flowers

This is my current all-time favorite way to decorate cakes and is becoming more and more popular. I just love the way cakes are made to look like a meadow, full of pressed flowers and leaves growing up the sides of the cake like a nature scene!

You can easily press your own edible flowers if you have them available. Place the flowers flat between 2 pieces of parchment paper and put underneath a heavy object. You only need to leave these flowers for an hour or two if you’re planning on using them straight away. If you’re looking to store them for a later time, then they will need to be pressed for a week or so, to dry them out and increase their shelf life.

Using Freeze Dried Edible Flowers

Freeze dried edible flowers are a wonderful option because the drying process preserves the form and color of the flower. It looks like a fresh flower but its dried! 

There are many benefits from using freeze dried flowers, not least the shelf life. If kept in a dark cool place, then a jar of freeze-dried flowers can last up to a year. This makes your shopping list a lot easier if you already have your flowers in the pantry! 

You can use these dried flowers in much the same way as fresh flowers.

Using Crystallized Edible Flowers

If you’re looking for a little longer shelf life for your flowers, then using crystallized flowers is a good way to go. This process works better for small flowers and is very easy to do. Simply coat the flowers with a little egg white, using either your fingertips or a small brush. Then carefully dip each individual flower into a bowl of fine caster sugar. Let them dry for 24 hours and they are ready to use.

Frequently Asked Questions About Edible Flowers

How long will edible flowers last on a cake?

Edible flowers on a cake will last a couple days if kept in the fridge. Smaller flowers tend to  last longer than larger ones.

How do you prepare edible flowers?

Preparation of edible flowers will depend on how you will be using them. Organically grown edible flowers will not need washing, just brush off any little insects that may have been on the flowers. When ready to use, destalk the flowers if using whole, or pull the petals off if using as a confetti style. 

What flowers are safe to put on a cake?

All organically grown edible flowers are safe to put on a cake, although not all edible flowers will taste wonderful on a cake. Check the flavor of the flower before you use it on your sweet creations.

How do you keep cut edible flowers fresh?

Place edible flowers straight into the fridge after harvesting to keep them fresh. Place in an airtight container with a piece of moistened kitchen paper on the bottom and your flowers will keep up to a week in the fridge. 


To wrap up, we’ve seen several ways to use edible flowers for cake decorating, including using fresh, dried, crystallized, and pressed flowers. I hope you have been inspired to try some of these techniques. Mix techniques and use a combination of types of flowers and make your own unique floral cake. 

And spread the joy of flowers through your edible flower cake decorations.


Annie Albers

Annie Albers

Annie Albers is a self-confessed "floraholic" with an insatiable passion for gardening and flowers. Believing that flowers can be enjoyed not just in vases but also on plates, she aims to educate and inspire others in the wonderful ways of using edible flowers. As the founder of, Annie shares a wealth of inspiration, tips, and useful information, fostering a community where floral beauty and culinary experience intertwine.

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