I just recently made a cake and decorated it some pansies and berries and I gotta tell ya - I'm in love. I wanted the cake to reflect my friend with something that was simple but not simplistic, rustic and natural but still delicious. What I didn't expect was that it would also be so easy or look so elegant. The flowers and the berries do most of the work themselves. I was inspired by this beautiful cake at Sugar and Charm: http://sugarandcharm.com/2016/01/pink-velvet-cake-recipe-and-easy-way-to-decorate-it.html I took mine a step further with some blue berries and black berries – oh and some mint leaves just for fun. I had a little strawberry sauce around so I used that to help me mark out where I was going to put everything, but I would list that as optional. I don't think I needed it.
Edible flowers are so beautiful on baked goods. You just have to be careful where you get them. A lot of florists or home goods stores will use pesticides that are not safe to eat. So you either need to grow them yourself or buy them from a supermarket or farmers market where they are labeled edible or organic.I bought my plants from a supermarket and planted them in my garden. (It was a little early yet – I'm pretty lucky they survived).
Lots of flowers are edible too, not just the pansies I used this time but also roses, dahlias, strawberry or blueberry flowers, lilacs, clover flowers, just to name a few. I'm already looking for another excuse to use flowers... Hmm... Maybe for my birthday... There's a yummy thought. ;)
I kept the frosting simple - I just spread in on top and gave it a little texture by making half circles with my spatula. It was actually easier to make a pattern than it is for me to make it completely flat (this particular cake was very large) and I like the added dimension. I left the sides naked – but that is another post, I think.
Then I washed and prepped all of my fruit. The pomegranate was the hardest – huge props go out to my Mom for that work. She cut pomegranate into sections over a bowl of water and scooped out the seeds.You don't end up with a lot of seeds, but it is more than enough to add to the cake. They pair beautifully with chocolate cake – an added surprise that is delightful. Of all the fruit I added to the cake – that was the one addition that I heard the most about.
I like to lie out all my options so that I could pick and choose as I go, almost like a paint palette.I can't say that I had much of a plan – just to arrange them so that they looked nice. It is a bit random but also pretty foolproof.
Lastly, I added the flowers. They should be added to the cake last, but because you layering them over sugar, they shouldn't wilt right away. The flowers on my cake lasted for more than four hours. I just wouldn't add the flowers the day before or even the morning before.
I had the flowers in my garden so I took special care to make sure I wasn't adding any uninvited guests. A gentle wash and a light pat down with a paper towel should be good. If you want to take extra precaution, you can gently wash them in a bowl of water with 1 tablespoon of white vinegar. Gentle is the key – the petals are delicate, but not so much that I actually broke any of them. I'm a bit of a klutz so… yeah… I was fine. It's good.
We brought this cake to a restaurant for my friend's party and they were really fantastic when they plated the slices. They spread out of the fruits and flowers so that each piece had a little on top. (The restaurant was B Bar & Grill in NYC in case you were wondering). I was very pleased with the result and so was my friend. I will definitely be decorating a cake with edible flowers (and berries!) again.
Oh and yes, I did eat a couple of the flowers. My daughter thought it was hilarious so kept trying to feed them to me. :)
Edible pansy and berry cake topper
An easy and elegant way to decorate the top of a cake. Edible pansies and berries do most of the work for you and look divine. Best of all, it only takes a couple minutes.
- 1 cup assorted berries
- 2 tablespoons pomegranate seeds
- 1 small bunch mint leaves
- 2 tablespoons strawberry sauce (optional)
- 1 dozen (to taste) fresh cut pansies
Gather up all the berries you would like to use (I used strawberries, raspberries, blue berries, and black berries) and give them a good rinse. I cut a few of the large strawberries in half, but mostly I left them whole.
Spread out all of your elements on a paper towel and dry them off a bit. You don't want wet fruit on your cake.
If you are only decorating part of the top of a cake, you can use the optional strawberry sauce to mark out your area, but that is baker's choice.
Start laying your fruit on the top of your frosted cake. I like to start with the larger pieces of fruit. Keep layering until you have a pleasing arrangement. Tuck a couple mint leaves in the nooks and crannies. Sprinkle some pomegranate seeds.
Gently wash the pansies and roll them up in a paper towel to dry. Arrange them on top of the fruit. Adjust as needed.
That's it! Enjoy.