On Flowers, Cakes, and Summer Celebrations
Canada Day July 1, 2015
Summer is my favourite season. Open windows and doors, summer flower gardens, picking fresh fruit, and baking pies and cakes to savour summers' many occasions with family and friends are just some of the reasons why I love this time of year.
Indeed, summer, flowers, and cake decorating just go together as we find ourselves gathering to celebrate weddings, anniversaries and family get-togethers. Often I'm asked to give advice as to what types of flowers are suitable to use to decorate a cake.
Flowers always add a beautiful finishing touch to any cake, and can be used in a few different ways. As a delicate edible garnish sprinkled on top of a cake to a more elaborate cake topped with a larger, non-edible flower arrangement.
For inspiration today, and because it is Canada Day, I've made Jamie Oliver's hummingbird cake. The cake itself is sweet and spongy, with lime and cream cheese icing spread between the layers and on top. I also made salted, carmelized pecans to sprinkle on the top, which I then garnished with tiny violets from the garden. The result was a cake that was both sweet and zesty, floral and creamy. The perfect balance of complimenting flavours.
Flowers on Cakes
Not all flowers are suitable for cake decoration. Some are in fact toxic to consume while others may contain pesticides. Always check before using any flower if you are unsure... and when in doubt, it's better to be safe than sorry!
In general, edible flowers include roses, gardenias, pansies, violets, lavender, nasturtium, fuchsia, gladiolus, hibiscus, hollyhock, impatiens, jasmine, lemon verbena, lilac, marigold, mint, dandelion and sunflower. Only the petal parts of these flowers are edible.
Non-edible flowers can also be used on cakes, and of course, remove any non-edible flowers and foliage before serving your cake.
Always thoroughly wash and dry flowers before using on the cake.
Larger flower arrangements are best done in flower holders which can be bought where cake decorating supplies are sold.
Plastic tubes of water may be inserted into your cake and have the advantage of keeping flowers from wilting. Edible flowers may be picked and then stored in the refrigerator to keep from wilting before use.
Pre-made edible candied flowers, which can either be homemade or store bought, are another great way to incorporate flowers on any type of cake.
Enjoy the lovely summer weather this weekend. If you don't mind the heat in the kitchen, try baking a cake to celebrate summer, flowers in your garden, and the sunny occasions of your life.
"The flood of summer light had begun to ebb.
The air had grown mellow, the shadows were long
upon the smooth, dense turf."
~ Henry James