Steering clear of using any food colouring or artificial ingredients in The Caker kitchen means I'm all about finding natural ways to make our cakes look beautiful. The signature look for our creations, along with scatters of freeze dried fruit and other delicious toppings, has become an arrangement of fresh flowers. This can be as simple as a single spray rose on a minicake to an elaborate arrangement on a wedding cake.
We get plenty of questions from customers using our cake mixes or recipes from my books about where we source our flowers, what kinds to use, and how to best arrange them, so I thought I'd impart some of my self-taught knowledge to all of you home bakers.
We are lucky enough to have a close relationship with a lovely man who co-owns Bhana Brothers, who goes to the flower markets several times a week and gets us whatever we need.
I prefer to choose flowers with a sturdy, thin stem, with no obvious pollen which can fall onto the cake. If I find particular stems to release sap once cut (such as orchids), I'll wrap the part which will go into the cake with tin foil.
Roses are definitely my go-to, not just because they come in an huge array of colours, but they also last really well. It looks best to use a mix of larger and smaller roses, and to make sure you break off any wilting or damaged petals before using.
My other favourite flowers to use are...
Freesias, which have a beautiful light fragrance that won't overpower your cake. The unopened buds of these create height on tiered cakes.
Lysanthias, which are a nice alternative to roses, with a slightly softer effect.
Hydrangeas, which have an almost antique look to them. They have a short season, and they don't last long on cakes before they wilt, but I love the colours they come in. One thing we get asked all the time is for blue flowers, whether it be for a husband's birthday or a boy's baby shower, and I find hydrangeas are the best option for these requests.
And, when there is a request for greenery on a cake, I'll normally go for some sprigs of jasmine, olive leaf or eucalyptus.
Some tips for arranging...
Whether the cake is big or small, I like to place my first flower slightly off centre and work outwards, usually with the larger flowers first, then filling the gaps with the smaller buds.
I tend to stick to odd numbers of flowers, so that the arrangement isn't too symmetrical. And having three or more colours of flowers on larger cakes helps to keep the arrangement varied and not overly uniform.
Here's a little video of me decorating one of our two tiered cakes where you can see some insight into the process...it's actually very simple!
Don't forget to tag @thecaker in your Caker Cake mix or The Caker recipe creations on Instagram! xx