Fresh Flowers And Cakes - Yea or Nay?

What are the pros and cons of fresh flowers when it comes to cakes?  This is a question I am often asked during wedding cake consultations and really has a fairly simple answer.  Fresh flowers are not your optimal choice when it comes to your cake.   Most couples as we’re chatting tend to want to lean towards fresh flowers for one main reason... its more cost effective.   Yes, fresh flowers will most likely cost you less then sugar flowers but, let’s think about what you’re putting on your cake.  

Fresh flowers are in almost all cases treated with chemicals. Yes, you can get organically grown flowers but search organic fertilizer on the internet... its still not something you want touching your cake.   As a cake artist receiving a bouquet of fresh flowers to place on a cake I have no way of knowing what type of chemicals are sitting on the petals of these blooms, blooms that will be placed directly onto the icing of the cake... the icing that will be consumed by the guests at the wedding or party.

If that isn’t reason enough (it is for most of our customers) there is the lovely case of water mixing with cake.   Fresh flowers need water to look their best and last as long as possible, especially when the cake is often being kept on display until late in the evening and served on the midnight table.  Water and cake don’t mix.   Fresh flowers often come to us arranged in a piece of wet floral foam.    While this foam will help keep the flowers fresh all days, the water will wreak havoc on the icing on the cake.      Alternately if they have arrived to the hall displayed in a glass dish with water in it you’re probably in for disaster.   Balancing that dish on the cake and hoping the water won’t spill is not an enjoyable experience.   I have actually been to a wedding and witnessed a bridesmaid trying to add water to the flowers on a cake.   With water spilling everywhere, well you can imagine how that went.

If your clients decide they want fresh flowers regardless here are a few pointers  you can give them on how to have the blooms prepared for their cake.  

  1. If the flowers are to be a cake topper ask the florist to arrange them in an oasis igloo.   This igloo will allow the florist to get a very full looking topper and since it has a plastic bottom it will catch any drips from the floral foam. 
  2. If adding accent flowers around the cake in various places have your client order additional boutonnieres.  This way the flowers for each spray will have more than just a single floral stem to them, they’ll most likely have filler flowers and accents to match the rest of the wedding decor.
  3. If you as the cake decorator have offered to take care of the floral arranging on the cake be sure to have the client order more than just the flowers.  A grouping of flowers without leaves to fill in the gaps can often look like its missing something.  Make sure you charge accordingly for your time to do this. 
  4. Make sure to take an emergency kit of floral arranging supplies with you to the hall if the arrangements have been made that the flowers will be waiting there for you.   Getting to the hall and expecting a topper arrangement of flowers and then finding out all you've been left with is stems is not an easy fix if you don't have things like floral wire, floral tape, an oasis igloo, scissors and wire cutters. 

When it comes to quoting cakes I often break down the costs for my clients and show them how much the sugar flowers cost in addition to the cake.  This way they can compare the cost to the fresh flowers and the weigh out their options.  Talk up the fact that they look stunning, their guests will be amazed that they’re edible and they can be a great keepsake for years to come.   


If your client still insists on fresh flowers you may want to consider asking them to sign a waiver so that you are not responsible for any chemical contact that comes from the flowers to the cake.   Keeping your clients and potential clients informed of the risks is the best protection for your business.