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  • Writer's pictureEmily Jewett

Let's Talk Flowers

Face it: fresh flowers on a cake is almost the epitome of perfection. But, with such natural beauty comes some natural risks. Did you know that some flowers are toxic and shouldn't be placed on a cake? Did you know it isn't sanitary to just take fresh flowers and jam them into a cake? I want to walk you through some of these considerations and what Barrister's Bakery does in perfecting your stunning dream wedding cake.

Fresh flowers are very popular on wedding cakes in the Roanoke, Virginia, area, as they are across the country. It is your baker's job to take the proper precautions when finalizing the details and decorations for your cake. Please do not leave this to your florist. Your florist is there to create breathtaking floral arrangements, bouquets, and centerpieces. It is NOT your florist's job to know what flowers can safely be applied as decoration on a wedding cake, and it is NOT your florist's job to know how to properly prep the flowers in a way that makes them sanitary. Where have those flowers been before they make it to the cake? Who has handled them and how? Were their hands clean??

Luckily for you, Barrister's Bakery takes this very seriously, and will always be in charge of applying fresh flowers to any Roanoke (and surrounding area) wedding cake that we create. First, all flowers are trimmed and the stems cleaned. They are then wrapped in floral tape and completely covered in Press-n-Seal before being inserted into the cake. All flowers are sprayed with an edible food glaze, essentially sealing in anything remaining on the flower so it is safe and sanitary. Once the stems are wrapped, they are inserted into straws and then placed in to the cake.

Sometimes, regardless of the preparation done to fresh flowers, a flower shouldn't be used because it is toxic. Some examples of toxic flowers are: Anthurium, Atmasco, Azalea, Belladonna, Calla Lily, Clematis, Crocus, Daffodil, Foxglove, Gloriosa, Hyacinth, Hydrangea, Ivy, Jessamine, Jonquil, Larkspur, Lily of the Valley, Mistletoe, Morning Glory, Mountain Laurel, Narcissus, Oleander, Rhododendron, Sweet Pea, and Trumpet Flower. It is not recommended to put these on a cake, as there is a risk that they could cause stomach upset.

While the chance is low of illness, Barrister's Bakery advises using these potentially toxic flowers on the cake table rather than on the cake itself. If using the flowers to decorate the cake table doesn't quite fit with the vision you have for your cake, fear not! Sugar flowers are edible alternatives to create the exact look you want without the risk of toxic flowers touching the cake. Sugar flowers can be made of a wide variety of materials, such as gum paste, wafer paper, rice paper or fondant.

There are also other options, specifically silk or wood flowers. Silk flowers have come a long way in appearance, and you often can not tell a flower is silk without close inspection. You can get silk flowers in essentially any floral variety and they do not carry the toxicity concerns some real flowers would.

Another fun (and dare I say funky?) alternative is wood flowers. These flowers are so light, it is as if they weigh nothing at all. They are made from tapioca root and come in all different types of flowers. They can be dyed to match your colors (either from the company or There are several companies that sell wood flowers, such as: Southern Blooms Co. , Oh You're Lovely, and Luv Sola Flowers. Most companies also have an option to add extra flowers for the cake, so you know they'll match and flow perfectly with the rest of your wood flower decor and bouquets.

Let me know if you have any questions about flowers in the comments. What types of flowers do you want to adorn your showstopping cake? Click here to set up a tasting and consultation. Talk with you soon!


Photographer credits:

Purple cake: Anna Prillaman

Painted monogram cake: Lani Noelle Photography

Wood flower cake: Honey Pot Photography

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