How to Decorate a Cake with Flowers
Written by: Jessica Reeves
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Sometimes you just need the icing on the cake to add that final touch…but in this case let fresh flowers be the accent (you don’t need that gold leaf, boo)! If you're wondering, "How do you stick flowers to a cake?" follow along!
Adding flowers to a cake is SUPER EASY!! It just takes a steady hand and some prep work to take your simple (but delicious) sheet or tiered cake from simple to WOW!!!
Things to Know Before Getting Started
Scenario 1: You're using a bakery.
Check with your bakery! You might not even need to take this task on. Ninety-five percent of the time when I’m on-site working at a wedding, the pastry chef will want to place the flower accents themselves. When you’re meeting with your bakery to talk about your cake or do a tasting, ask them if they would prefer to place any floral or greenery accents you might want. They might even ask that you deliver the flowers to them a day or two prior to the wedding. All you’ll need to do is drop off the stems.
If you’re going this route, here are a few tips:
- Grab a mason jar and make sure you’ve filled it with water and place your stems in here. You can cut them down because your bakery is only going to use sprigs of greenery and buds for the cake. No need to give them big, honking stems.
- Make sure you LABEL THE VASE. You don’t know what other events are going on that weekend and you don’t want your blooms to get lost in the shuffle!!! Take a piece of masking tape and label your vase with your last name, venue name/location and the date of your event. Leave as little room for error as possible!!!
Scenario 2: You’re doing the cake yourself.
Awesome! All the steps I mentioned above? DO THIS FOR YOURSELF!! As you're processing your flowers, if a little stem breaks, don’t fret! Stick all those pieces and sprigs that you don’t need or have stripped off and put them in a small vase. They’re the perfect size for what you’ll need for your cake flowers! Make sure to label this vase so everyone who's helping you knows what it’s for too!
What you’ll need for prepping your cake flowers:
- 20-22 gauge straight wire: use this for wiring any blooms that have a really short stem and need a little more stability
- Scissors with a fine point: for detail work and cutting wire. My favorite shears to use for this are Joyce Chen Kitchen Shears. They cut through stems really easily and have a fine point to them which helps with detail work. They’re also sharp enough to cut through your straight wire or your wooden stakes – or a chicken bone – you do you, boo!
- Floral tape
- Wooden Skewers or toothpicks: use these for hollow stems like ranunculus or anemones! These flowers are so beautiful but have soft hollow stems that are sometimes tricky to use and really soft. Insert a wooden skewer right up the stem and it’ll give the stability you need!
- You can find many of these supplies in our Amazon recommendations at the button below!
Placing cake flowers can sometimes be stressful: the icing is perfect and one smudge or wrong finger could mess up the whole thing (it won’t but I know it feels that way). You may be asking, "How do you decorate a simple cake with flowers?" Here’s an easy step-by-step on how to create a beautiful floral design on your cake!
1. Find an Inspiration Photo!
You don’t have to go it alone! Scroll through Pinterest and find some examples of cake flower designs that you like. Pay attention to the sizes of the blooms used as well as shape. Having an inspiration or reference photo (or several) printed off will give you a great template/guide to help you make the decisions of where to place your blooms. Having a gameplan/guide is super helpful. Remember: you should have a pretty good idea as to where you’re going to place your flowers. Once you’ve placed your flowers, you won’t have the opportunity to move the blooms - icing is fragile. Make a diagram for yourself and HAVE YOUR GAMEPLANT SET!
PRO TIP: Treat yourself and buy a tiny cake at the grocery store and a $10 bouquet. Practice makes perfect with all things and decorating your cake is no different!
2. Cut Your Stems to the Right Length!
I like to leave about 2 inches of stem on my blooms. This ensure that the blooms won’t fall off your cake. Have some broken ranunculus blooms that you want to use or a stem that’s too short? Use your 22 gauge wire or a wooden skewer to create a “stem” to poke into the cake itself.
3. Start With the Largest Blooms First!
I like to start with my largest blooms first to help me get a sense of shape and balance. These blooms will act as your anchor flowers. Your smaller buds and stems will then help to create movement radiating out from the larger blooms.
4. Consider Color.
You don’t want your cake to look like it has a bulls-eye right in the center of it. Make sure you have a good range of your color palette with at least 2–3 blooms in your darkest palette present.
PRO TIP: Take a picture as you’re working through your phone. Sometimes this helps you step back and check out how you’re doing.
5. Add in Your Greenery for Movement!
Start adding in your sprigs of greenery to add movement to your cake flowers. (Psst… greenery can also help to hide any smudges that you caused with your fingers when you were placing blooms!) I tend to use greenery that has a waxy leaf and stem like Italian Ruscus, Leatherleaf Fern, or Olive Branch. These greens are also really hardy and hold up well out of water. I tend to stay away from eucalyptus since it can have a sap on it and has a pungent smell.
Are There Chemicals?
Is This Safe for My Guests?
These are questions I get asked all the time: is it safe to put these flowers on my cake? Are they certified organic? Can I put flowers directly on a cake?
There are a lot of schools of thought on this and since Flower Moxie sources flowers from many different farms and from all over the world, we can’t guarantee that there are no chemicals on the flowers or that they were grown organically.
That being said, you can still use these flowers on your cake! If you have any concerns about the stems being in the cake, you can either wrap the stems in floral stem tape to protect them or snip the stem off entirely and use a wooden skewer or straight wire to place your blooms. Many grocery stores these days carry edible flowers that they can guarantee are certified organic. Check out your local Trader Joe's or Whole Foods for examples!
Adding flowers to your cake is a beautiful way to bring that much more of your wedding florals into the overall day! It’s a great way to use leftover flowers to make sure that nothing goes unused. I promise this will be the beautiful icing on the cake and you won’t have to spend loads of time watching polite British bakers make icing flowers to create the wedding cake of your dreams!
Who made that cake?
Special thanks to Amy of Amy Cakes in Norman, Oklahoma for providing a gorgeous (and delicious!) cake as well as the video tutorial explaining how she decorates wedding cakes with flowers! To see her other creations, visit amycakesok.com
About the Author
Jessica has a BFA in Art Education/Printmaking and her MFA in Studio Art with a focus in Non-Toxic printmaking. She brings 10 years of floral experience to her roles at Flower Moxie, having worked in Boston, NYC, and Newport, RI. We still don't know if she's a real person or a hologram but work keeps getting done.