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Can fresh flowers be used on wedding cakes?

How are fresh flowers made cake-safe?

(When I talk about 'flowers', I will also be talking about any greenery or foliage too).

For wedding cakes we could put fresh flowers into three categories:

  • Edible

  • Cake-safe

  • and Harmful.

We could argue that unless they are edible, all flowers are unsuitable to put onto cakes. However, there are ways in which we can make them cake-safe.

Edible Flowers

Literally that. Not that I would recommend just picking one and having a chew on it, but they are deemed safe to eat. Some common examples are: lavender, pansies, orchids, pea shoots, roses, primroses, cornflowers & herbs (e.g. mint, thyme, rosemary). These might typically be used as garnishes in restaurants and on some buttercream cake designs using pressed flowers. There would be no question whether to use these or not but I would always make sure a reputable supplier is used to purchase them.

Cake-safe Flowers

These are flowers that are classed as non-toxic and are safe to be in contact with food. However, strictly they are not to be eaten. Some examples are: lilac, hibiscus, lisianthus, peonies, olive leaves and pampas grass. They are still not allowed to be directly put into a cake - keep reading to find out how I make these cake-safe. These flowers would be ideal to have on your wedding cake and reduce the risk of harmful contaminants.

Harmful Flowers

Any flowers under this category are too harmful for consumption. They are toxic and there is a high risk that if they contaminate the cake, there will be some harmful consequences for anyone consuming it. Examples can include: anemones, bluebells, cherry blossom, daffodils, eucalyptus, ruscus, and gypsophila (baby's breath). How many of these are familiar to you and perhaps what you have chosen for use at a wedding?

I recently spoke to Candice of So Blooming Beautiful (@sobloomingbeautiful) who is a florist based in Cambridgeshire. (Please do check out her beautiful florals!) She listed the most commonly used flowers and foliage for weddings. I have categorised these to show how much of a risk there is when trying to use the same flowers from your decor/bouquet on your wedding cake. As you can see, almost half of these are in the harmful category. It is lovely to match the cake flowers with the rest of the decor, but not at the cost of you and your guests feeling unwell.

The beautiful florals above are created by Candice and would easily compliment the cakes I make. It is my duty to ensure that any flowers provided by florists are checked and made safe to use. This is where I will use some time to directly discuss the cake flowers with your florist, so that I am fully prepared for arranging the flowers on the day.

As your cake designer, what can I do?

Sugar anemones, eucalyptus & berries

As mentioned in my last blog post, there is an option of

having these made as sugar flowers. The colours could be matched as well as any particular arrangements. Sugar flowers are not edible but they are very easy to make cake-safe.

There are many other alternative fresh flowers that could be used that fall within your colour scheme and classed as cake-safe or edible. It is always best to have this discussion with the cake maker and/or your florist to weigh up the options. I have a huge list of different flowers and foliage so I know what can or can't be used on a cake.

For foliage such as eucalyptus and gypsophila, there are some faux options that are very realistic looking. Would you know the gypsophila was not real on the semi-naked cake below?

How else do I make flowers cake-safe?

Faux Gypsophila with fresh flowers

When adding fresh flowers to a cake I need to reduce as much of the contact between them and the cake.

It is always best if the florist can leave the flowers in their natural state. This means I can cut and fit the flowers to the cake as well as double check all of them are safe to use. I can use wires and floral tape to secure the flowers together in their arrangement and in the position I would like them to be in. However, wires and tape still need to be contained and not inserted directly into the cake. We don't want these to detach and become a contamination risk or choking hazard. So next we would consider using either food-safe flower picks or straws that can be inserted into the cake to contain the wires and stems of the flowers.

I can also use an edible glaze spray where a thin coat is applied to the back of the flowers that would come in contact with the cake - providing an extra layer of protection. You wouldn't be able to see that these have been taped or inserted into the cake.

Once the cake is delivered and set up, an information sheet is given to your wedding coordinator/venue to explain how the flowers and foliage have been attached to your cake. The information also states they would need to be removed before cutting and it also goes as far as counting how many flower picks or straws need to be removed.

My main key points of advice:

  1. Talk to your florist about what you would like for your bouquet and decor. This also includes seeing what is available during that season of your wedding date.

  2. Let the cake maker know what fresh flowers and foliage you have chosen with your florist. You can then have a discussion about what is suitable and any alternatives that might be needed.

  3. Do not let anyone else attach fresh flowers or foliage to your cake if they do not have the knowledge to do it safely. (I attach them for all my orders with no debate!)

So what flowers will you be safely having on your wedding cake?

Have a lovely day!


There is some availability left for autumn 2023 and I am also taking 2024 bookings.

Contact me to discuss your wedding cake!

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