Cake Decorating Using
by Carol Reed-Jones
If you're baking your own wedding cake (or a friend is generously doing
it for you), and you don't feel skilled at creating ethereal frosting
ornamentation, don't despair. Edible flowers can make your cake look
special without the investment in a cake decorating course.
First of all, your cake needs to be level. I speak from experience.
The first wedding cake I baked was delicious, but each layer had a domed
top. Since the cake was so much work to bake, there was no way that I
was going to cut away any of it to make the layers level! I tried to
compensate by adding extra frosting around the edges, not realizing that
the rounded layers weren't going to balance perfectly on their centers.
Each two-layer tier leaned in a different direction, like a condemned
apartment building that had just survived an earthquake.
Two ways to make your cake layers level are: use Magi-Cake Strips
(metallic fabric strips to wrap around the outside of the cake pans;
available at any cooking store that sells cake baking supplies); or wrap
the sides of each pan with a strip of aluminum foil. Here's how:
Fold a strip of aluminum foil one and a half inches wide, shiny side
out, and wrap it around the side of the cake pan. Secure it with a
straight pin (nail-type of glass head only; plastic may melt or give off
fumes). Do this with each layer before baking it in the oven. This
helps the layers bake evenly so that they stack flat for tiering.
When the cake is baked and cooled, check to see how level it is. If
individual layers are fairly level, you can stack them (with
frosting/filling in between) with the tops together, giving a very even
outer surface for the frosting. Apply the frosting evenly, smoothing
with a knife dipped in hot water if the frosting becomes too cool and
stiff to spread (can you tell what the weather is like here in the
You've got a level, symmetrical cake of two to four tiers (see Green
Weddings or The Cake Bible
by Rose Levy Berenbaum for instructions on
how to tier a cake). Now it's time for your edible flower decorations.
Edible flowers should only be used if they are organically grown,
unsprayed, and were not growing by a road. For more information on
edible flowers, see Cathy Wilkinson Barash's book,Edible Flowers: From Garden to Palate. Her book is very carefully researched. If she
doesn't list it as edible, don't eat it.
If you can't pick the flowers the day of the wedding, store them, except
for chicory, on plates in your fridge with a bit of water.
These pale lavender-blue daisy-like flowers have very fragile petals,
and grow almost directly off of the main stems. You can pick entire
stems a day in advance if needed, and store them in water. Pick them
off the main stem carefully just before placing on the cake. They open
around noon. Spicy bitter taste.
Even if the lavender blooms aren't opened, the un-bloomed bud clusters
look like purple-blue braid, making an attractive edging or accent.
These come in all warm colors from cream to burgundy, the most common
being orange and yellow. Peppery taste.
Clusters of tiny pink flowers clusters on burgundy stems. Marjoram is
the same, only less pink. Spicy taste.
Pansy has a wide range of colors, from purple and yellow; to pink, dark
rose and purple; to midnight blue. Fragile petals, so don't pick them
and dump them in a bag, or they'll get crushed. Semi-sweet taste.
Wide range of colors, mostly in the warm spectrum; use buds for a
traditional look, and watch for aphids. Mildly sweet taste.
1999-2000 Carol Reed-Jones
AND WEDDING FAVORS
An Outdoor Wedding
Not Buying into the Wedding Industry
Papermaking For Invitations
A Green Wedding